I just finished reading the new novel “Sweetbitter.” I had seen a profile of the author in the New York Times and I was intrigued. She was my age, divorced, with a book that was coming out and everyone was buzzing.
She had worked a year in a swanky restaurant in Union Square, and the book was a fictionalized version of her experience. She was extremely knowledgeable about wine, and that is something I yearn for.
There is a part of her life I covet. Something about being that confident about picking a wine. Having a style the way that she does. She’s gorgeous, in my opinion. I was hooked.
So I got the audiobook from the library and I DEVOURED it. I couldn’t stop. The actress that read the book sounded naive and experienced at the same time. Her character work was excellent and I absorbed it all. The author was incredibly poetic. It was an experience of reading about someone that had a life that I craved but I could never see us actually being friends.
She was honest and it shone through. Whether the stories were true or not didn’t matter, it was a novel. The soul of the story was true, and that’s what I latched onto.
I couldn’t exactly relate to her experiences directly, but that wasn’t the point. It was the language. The living vicariously. The emotion of being young and naive again. The spirit of throwing yourself fully into a new experience and learning everything you can. The experience of making new friends as an adult and the dodgy terrain of dating.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I think it is definitely more for women than it is for men, but I do wonder how men would respond to it.
There was a moment that just lit me up, because finally it felt like passing wisdom from the author to me. It was a conversation between a lesbian and the narrator. The lesbian had at least a decade more experience than the narrator in work and in relationships. But she didn’t often share advice, she usually facilitated a good time. When the narrator was falling hard for the bartender (and lord knows, I could understand that) and he was obviously bad news (again, I could relate).
The conversation went like this, the lesbian spoke first.
“‘Good sex isn’t a big deal.’
‘What is?’ I asked.
I was driving when I was listening and I nearly pulled over. Woah. Yes. I completely agree. That is putting words to something I have been dancing around.
One of my fears is that I will never find someone as great in bed as the last guy. If I actually looked at my history, I have never had a problem finding a great lover. But I was always afraid that this was the last great one.
But… It. Is. So. Not. True. The guy isn’t the last great one, there will always be another. And it’s not even the biggest thing in a relationship. The lesbian character hit it on the nose. It is so much bigger to have trust and intimacy with your partner. The sex is great, but I would be that it will never be a constant. But trust and intimacy are things that can be built and worked on as a couple. Those are things that can be reliable and constant.
I wanted to put that out in the universe. I wanted to put that down in writing that good sex isn’t the most important thing. The foundation, which is also the scary part for me, is the crucial, important part. It’s the part where it requires me to be vulnerable over and over. I’m willing to do that.