Just A Water Thanks
The perils of not being a drinker but still enjoying going out.
I’ve never been a big drinker. To be honest I’ve been drunk once in my not terribly long life, and when I go to a bar I am happy to sip – or to fit into the crowd, skull – my Coke Zero with “heaps of lemon please Mr bartender with a long beard”.
I didn’t drink when I celebrated my high school graduation back home in Sweden, which is quite an acheivement since we spent four hours jumping up and down in a container as every single 19-year-old graduate in the city roamed the street pouring champagne over the pedestrians. It is even more an acheivement when you consider the fact that the expereince also consisted of never ending rain and best mates (men) peeing in empty bottles when the pressure became too much to handle. I am the first to admit that perhaps it would have been a bit more enjoyable had I been consuming the same amount of hard liquor/beer/expensive champagne/cheap spirits as the rest of my lovely class. But no, I just happily sipped my lemonade.
I wasn’t drunk when I celebrated becoming of legal age the year before either, nor when I could “finally” buy alcohol for myself or my underaged friends/sister. Not that I ever really did that, except one time when the lady in the counter asked for my licence and I told her “I never drink so you don’t have to worry”. I walked out of the monopolized liqor store in Stokcholm feeling a bit silly, and since then I have left the liqor buying to other people that will actually smash it too. Some extra info here while we’re at it, in Sweden Systembolagets (Government-owned liquor stores) close at 6pm sharp every day and earlier on Saturdays, while being closed on Sundays. And it’s still topping the list of most livable places.
Anyway, I’m just never drunk. Ever. And boy does that upset people. It’s as if by not drinking I am automatically telling people that a) They are raging alcoholists for having more then one glass of white; b) I must be a (massive) bore; c) I will never dance on a table; and d) I could potentially be prematurealy pregnant under my cropped top and minimal shorts.
The fact is, it’s pretty much the opposite: I don’t think people who drink are alcoholics, or have no sense of self control. People are entitled to make their own decisions about how their minds, bodies and drink habits will make them feel. As long as they are cool with smashing tequila at five in the morning I am too I just don’t feel good not feeling completely like myself, becauise I am so fucking hilairous when I'm not drunk. When I, on the very rare occasions (like five years ago) do drink I feel like a monkey up a tree trying to put on a wetsuit while going to the toilet; not a very nice feeling. I like getting caught up in the moment just as much as the next person, but I also love feeling in control, and to not wake up the day after a massive night out (which I never really have anymore due to being a bit of a nanna living in the country) feeling at least half fresh, and not hungover as a dog.
This brings me to table-dancing – I have done a heap of less intelligent things while not being drunk with drunk people, and yep that has included dancing, in questionble fashion, on tables. Being with people is, for me so much about the conversation, the listening, the talking and the laughing. And just so you don’t get upset, I’m not arguing the fact that for some people a beer opens up for a better chat, or a drink after work – not at all. But in my case, and I have found in an increasingly number of others too, I don’t need alcohol to get there, it actually stops me from really enjoying myself instead.
The people I’m with make a party and some wine (or tea) on the porch into what it is, a wonderful night or a slightly crappy one where you would rather leave at 8 to watch Girls on your laptop. And finally, it would have been impossible for me to be pregnant for eight years, duh.
What I want to say to all those people who try to convince me to have a drink (who feel a bit uncomfortable drinking while I sip my fifth mineral water) is that your life is your life and if you think it gets better by a drink every now and then, or every weekend (plus Wednesday night), I think that’s completely alright. Maybe even more then alright because then you’re doing something that makes you happy.
Maybe drinking yourself blind and doing extremely stupid stuff is never going to make you happy but at least you’ll hopefully be so when you’re making out with a hottie, and then during the worst morning after ever decide to get the biggest meal possible from KFC. But at the same time as you drink a tequila because it’s fun to lick salt and bite a lemon I’m choosing what makes me happy too. And I’ve never really felt as if I am missing out on – or depriving myself – from laughter, experiences, or the taste of a really good champagne. A sip’s good for me, and then I bring honeycomb protein bars in my pruse to make sure I can last as long as my cider drinking fellows.
By Nathalia Lindvall