Guest writer Chelsea regales us with her first forays into the wild world of booze in this multipart series.
Despite my novice status as a drinker, alcohol quickly became my fuel, pushing me through the insanity of each night as a cigarette girl. I knew nothing about cocktails so I usually asked the bartenders to make me something they liked themselves. The beautiful brunette tending bar at the upscale dance club on Broadway made me an ultra-sweet concoction in a martini glass called a Purple Hooter; the friendly, scruffy-faced guy at the dingy sports bar made me a SoCo and peach schnapps atrocity called an Alabama Slammer. The geeky bar-back who clearly harbored a crush always greeted me with two shots of Fernet, one for me and one for him. And the aging, chubby queen behind the bar at my favorite gay dive made me a large juice glass filled to the top with his secret recipe for a Vanilla Cosmo, which he refused to reveal. I didn’t know what I liked, so I would try just about anything. I never had to ask for a drink, as bartenders tended to have some affection for the cute Peachy Puff girls, and offered booze freely to us. I enjoyed the camaraderie I felt with my fellow night workers, and they, along with the drinks they shared with me, were my only comfort during each night of stressful, fast-paced, disorienting work.