I ordered an Old Fashioned on a first date recently.
My date gave me an odd sort of look when I told the bartender what I wanted. Old Fashioneds are my go-to drink – I’m a firm believer that everyone should have a go-to drink – and the speakeasy we were at in Chapel Hill has an excellent liquor selection and reputation for their cocktails. Orders placed, we resumed our “getting to know you” conversation.
He wasn’t quite what I expected. There was a notable discrepancy in the height he listed on his Bumble profile and the height he actually was and he wore – honest to goodness – Crocs with socks, but I’m not one to let first impressions completely wreck things, so I sat down with an open mind and had a couple of hours of great conversation.
Besides, I looked good that night – great outfit, hair cooperated, red lipstick that didn’t smear. I wasn’t wasting a good outfit. And if we’re being fair, my hair was approximately waist length in my Bumble photos but I had recently chopped it off into a stylish bob so who was I to judge a slightly misleading profile?
When my Old Fashioned was delivered, he asked about it. “That’s an interesting drink choice for a girl.” His Crocs were offensive, but that rubbed me the wrong way, similar to the way a new pair of flats rubs at the back of your heel until they’re broken in. I told him “I like whiskey” and left it at that. Because I do like whiskey. I went to the University of Tennessee. How could I not like whiskey?
We went on a few more dates before we mutually decided we weren’t compatible, yet his reaction to my cocktail stuck with me.
I’ve always had a varied assortment of interests. Fitness, writing, reading, baking, whiskey, football, travel, DIY projects, storytelling… The list goes on. I once had a co-worker call me “fascinating” because of my ability to hop from a discussion on Saturday’s game to a pop culture story to arguing the finer points of a Hemmingway novel in the span of one conversation.
I used to feel a little embarrassed by it. I used to think people would find me “weird” if I discussed how Faulkner addressed the fall of southern aristocrats with the same gusto I ranted about Butch Jones’ inability to manage the game clock. Did you know adding a bit off instant coffee to your chocolate chip cookie recipe will bring the chocolate notes out? Don’t even get me started on what constitutes targeting in college football. Have you tasted this batch of bourbon yet? Of course they were Gossip Girl. Who didn’t see Miley and Liam’s divorce coming? Yes, I did make that…
You get the idea of where I can take a conversation.
But over the last few months I’ve come to realize something.
I like what I like.
And I don’t need to explain it.
I’m free to like what I like, be it whiskey, monogrammed pullovers, or a binge-worthy teen TV series on Netflix.
I love college football. I don’t like it. I love it. I count the days until those glorious words – “It’s Football Time In Tennessee!” – ring through the air like a kid counts down to Christmas. I tear into work on National Signing Day as a woman on a mission because I do not want to miss a single moment of welcoming high school players to the Vols. I would make a fantastic coach. Call me Tami Taylor, please.
I love football and wearing dresses and putting on makeup and lifting weights. I love baking and writing for hours and hosting my friends for dinner parties and trying DIY projects I find on Pinterest that never quite turn out exactly the way I planned. I love traveling to foreign countries and trying weird foods and drinking Old Fashioneds and binge watching Netflix shows.
I like what I like.
What I like makes me who I am.
I think a lot of us suppress what we like because it may not “fit” in the mold of what we think we’re supposed to like. We worry people may make fun of us if they know we spent an entire Saturday writing a magical story rather than meeting up with friends around town. We worry we may be judged for wearing lipstick while we lift or we opt not to wear our cute new shorts because society says we don’t have the “right” thighs for it.
But here’s the thing.
We like what we like.
And what we like makes us who we are.
So – like what you like. Don’t be ashamed of it. Embrace the things you like.
You like them for a reason, after all.
And when you like what you like and own it proudly, I’ve found two things happen: you become a more authentic version of you and you find others that also like what you like. Like an entire group of friends that also like bourbon and a stadium of 102,456 strangers that share your love of a certain color orange. You find your tribe when you like what you like.
It’s freeing, deciding to like what you like and own those things about yourself.
Give it a shot.
Post about something you like somewhere today, whether on your Instagram feed or in the comments of this post.
I’ll be over here counting down the days until the first Tennessee football game of the year (11 days as of publishing this) while programming for client while listening to a podcast about books.
Liking what I like.
And maybe I’ll have an Old Fashioned while I’m at it.