Confession guys: I don’t drink. Much.
I’m 28 years old and can safely and confidently say that I have never been drunk (ice cream-wasted aside). In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times I finished a full glass of beer, wine or other alcoholic bevy. When I turned 21, I went out with friends to celebrate this milestone birthday initiating me into this unofficial official drinking club. I ordered a bright pink strawberry margarita which came in a fun sugar-rimmed glass. I requested it to be made with the least amount of alcohol that they could do, and I still could only put back about half of it before giving up and retreating to my [alcohol-free] lemonade. I still had an amazing birthday, I just wasn’t SHOT!SHOT!SHOT!ing it up (and I could actually remember what happened the next day. Bonus.)
Most of the time when I go out, roughly 99.9%, I prefer to satisfy my thirst with ice cold water, shaken, not stirred. It’s not that I have anything against drinking, or those who drink. Not at all! Like I said, I do drink. Sometimes. Okay, so it has to taste like a milkshake, come in a super cute glass, be adorned with maraschino cherries and whipped cream, and have a name that contains the name of a color of the rainbow or a flavor of cake. But I technically do partake, generally during lunar eclipses. Or every seven years. Which ever comes first.
It’s all those times in between that seem to cause issues for people.
Take for instance this past weekend. On Saturday night my sister, some friends and I decided to get dressed up and grab dinner downtown. When the waiter came to take our drink order, everyone looked at me like I had suddenly sprouted a second head when I got a diet-Coke. Just a diet-Coke. It only got worse when we decided to hit up a few bars afterwards. Going to a bar when you don’t drink [much] is a lot like going to a bookstore when the last thing you’ve read, the only thing you prefer to read, was and is the back of your cereal box. Of course you can have an awesome time, but it just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. When asked if I wanted a drink, and “Aren’t you thirsty?” I simply shrugged and said, “Nope. I’m good. But thanks!” Then I dragged my awkward self out onto the dance floor and busted a very sober move.
As a [mostly] non-drinker, I’ve noticed that there is somewhat of a stigma that comes when you [mostly] don’t drink.
First and foremost, some people who drink are convinced that, because I’m not drinking, I’m judging them.
This is particularly so when at a major sporting event, which is ironic because what I am actually judging is the fact that they decided to put ketchup on their hot dog instead of mustard.
Seriously, I love you just the way you are and I admire your joie de vivre. As long as I have the car keys, everything’s Hakuna Matata.
They also think I’m missing all the fun, which I am totally not. I’m having all of the fun! I just don’t end up having a raging headache the next morning.
And, for some reason, they always want to know the reason I don’t drink. Why? They don’t take a survey when I say I don’t eat lima beans — even though it should be obvious because lima beans.
The truth is, there are many reasons why I choose not to drink [much].
First of all, I just don’t like the taste of alcohol (hence the overly-milkshaked, fruity and sugar-coma-yness). I’ve heard that it’s an acquired taste, and that over time, you will grow to like, even love, it. I’m not sold on that idea. I mean, have you seen the faces people make right after they take a shot? Like they just smelled a dirty gym sock. Or took a swig of milk before realizing it was two weeks past its expiration date.
Second of all, it’s really not all that good for you. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have those calories in the form of a cupcake. Or ice cream. Or cupcake-flavored ice cream.
Thirdly, alcohol is expensive. When we went out last weekend, my friends ended up spending close to $50 just on drinks. $50!!! Just think of how many books I could buy with that kind of money. I’ll tell you. A lot. A lot of books.
Lastly, alcohol, when taken in access, has this funny way of taking over your emotions, your physical abilities and thought processes. I like knowing that I’m in control. I prefer to know what is going on around me. Plus, I have a feeling that if I were a drinker, I would be the lightest of the light weights. I’d start reenacting scenes from Harry Potter and telling the best worst dad jokes. Okay, so I definitely do those things on the regular sans alcohol. Can you imagine how I would get with a few beers in my system?!
Being someone who doesn’t drink [much], I’ve learned that while it’s totally okay to enjoy having a drink or two, it’s also okay not to. Don’t feel like you should drink just because everyone else is doing it, and if they start to pressure you into it, shut that down pronto. You do you.
And if that means sticking with beer, heavy on the root, instead of the real deal, that that’s perfectly alright. If that means not going out every weekend to whoop it up at the club but instead staying in with a pizza and a full Netflix queue, awesome!
Just because you don’t drink [much] doesn’t mean your life is any less fun, any less memorable or amazing. The way I see it, as long as you’re doing what’s right for you, what you enjoy, than you should keep doing that.
I will say in defense of alcohol that Coke-pong just isn’t quite the same.