Yesterday, I made what was apparently a really big faux pas. While at an offsite event in Miami, I decided not to drink for the night. I know, the horror, right? But judging by how many times people asked me to explain again why I wasn’t drinking, you’d think I had committed some unforgivably rude and terrible act. I started out by explaining I wasn’t in the mood (truth), and then switched to saying I’d decided to start Alcohol-Free August early (basically truth, since I knew I wasn’t going to want to drink Tuesday night either, and then it would be August). However, no matter what I said, people kept teasing me or asking me again in seeming disbelief if I was really not drinking. Because God forbid we have a business dinner and not all need alcohol to make it through the night!
It’s not that I don’t understand the appeal of drinking. Some nights I am desperately craving a glass of red wine with my dinner, and other nights I think it would just be so much fun to feel the tequila buzz from some sweet and sour frozen margaritas (calories be damned). But some nights, I am just not in the mood for either of those things – and I don’t think that should require a detailed explanation.
Angrily tweeting out my frustration, I got a few interesting suggestions from friends. Jocelyn suggested getting a seltzer and pretending it was a vodka tonic. Seltzer is my non-alcoholic drink of choice anyway (either that or water; I don’t drink milk, juice or soda), so it’s certainly an easy suggestion. Other suggestions from friends seemed to be centered around the same false pretenses (e.g., “just say your doctor won’t let you have alcohol”), including my absolute favorite of the bunch, “pretend that you’re pregnant!” That would solve more problems than just one – if I were pregnant, presumably I could stop flying and stay home for more than three days at a time. Pregnancy: the cause of, and solution to, all life’s problems!
While many of these excuses could conceivably work, they also just got me incredibly frustrated. Why should I have to pretend anything? Why is a simple “I don’t feel like drinking” not good enough? Or even better, “I’m not drinking tonight because I value my health”? (Aside from the fact that putting it that way sounds incredibly condescending and judgmental). But if anything, I would think that staying sober and going to bed early should be looked at as a good thing – that just means I’m a heck of lot more productive at work the next day. Instead, I feel like my attempts to work out, eat healthy, and not get drunk are looked down on as weird and antisocial.
So perhaps the real question is, since pregnancy is kind of difficult to fake (well, at least for more than a few months), what do you think is the best excuse for not drinking? 😉