Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane.
Honoré de Balzac
Maybe only the French would say this. After all, they invented champagne, an elixir concocted out of love, and by extension, for love. Elsewhere where champagne only belongs in dreams, attraction must find another expression.
I spent my early years in a country of hybrid traditions, bred by 400 years of Spanish domination. As a little girl growing up with my grandmother and her youngest daughter, I remember the sweet romantic way young swains courted my aunt.
In that far away place, long ago, young men usually first expressed their interest through a serenade. The suitor came in the middle of the night when everyone was asleep, the house was dark, and all its windows and doors were shuttered. Often accompanied by another young man with a guitar, he sang his admiration for the girl just outside her window.If the girl liked him, she would let him in. Unopened windows often meant “set your sights somewhere else.” If she opened the window or let him in, the young man would continue to sing. The young woman might oblige him with a song, as well. My aunt often did. My aunt’s first love was a young man who sang a particular song quite often. The lyrics allude to wine as he sings of what she does to him. They refer to champagne, but only to the bubbles it releases.
Why bubbles? Why not liken her charms to being drunk on champagne? But then, again, those globules of CO2 which pop corks and rise to the surface in a glass of champagne have held the fascination not only of writers and composers, but also of scientists. And for a good reason, it seems.
But, of course, all that is just the beginning. The fire burns, the glow mellows, and, if love endures, (It didn’t, for my aunt’s first love.) the two may find comfort in a warm cup of tea. Not bad, all in all. Even champagne gets old.