One of my first ever posts when I began blogging all those four years ago was about not drinking (which you can spot here). It’s not the most well worded piece on the internet, and it probably won’t win me any prizes for being articulate- but it was impulsive, honest and was written moments after reading a magazine article that stood out to 17 year old me, like not a lot else had- and a nice change from some incredibly awkward posed dining room outfit shots- but more on that another time.
Not drinking as a 21 year old is pretty weird. Not because I’m constantly feeling FOMO (a lemonade cures FOMO for me a lot of the time) but the constant feeling of justifying why is a little odd at times, and usually makes me feel a bit embarrassed (using other more-valid feeling excuses other than ‘you know, I just don’t really like it/it doesn’t agree with me/I hate feeling sick’)- plus, it’s the only thing that’s ever questioned if you don’t do it (nobody ever asks why people don’t smoke, do drugs or shop excessively (ahem). But I get it- I know being next to teetotal at the ‘prime’ of my ‘going out out’ years is an odd thing and not of the norm, and I can honestly understand every bit of curiosity people have with it. It’s ok to ask, it really is.
The thing that irks the most is the unacceptance of it with other people. The fact people can’t possibly believe you wouldn’t want to drink and make it their mission to just have one, or how funny it’d be to get you just a little bit drunk- a problem that cropped up at every single sixth form or university party, and constantly made me worry about how ‘boring’ or ‘up-tight’ I’d come across. In the article I read all of those moons ago, Jameela Jamil puts a good spin on it, ‘I don’t eat fish, either, yet no one’s ever tried to ram a mackarel down my throat’- and it’s pretty bloody true. In the past people have assumed I haven’t wanted to sit in cool cocktail bars (always a yes- even better when there’s sliders), or watch anyone drink red wine with a meal (come on now folks)- and the only difference between going out as a drinker and going out as a non drinker is that you have to add the word ‘mock’ or ‘virgin’ to the beginning of a drink- in my experience at least. Fortunately (or not) for most, I’m able to cut some pretty poor dance floor shapes solely on one virgin mojito- win win, am I right?
People often consider it as a superiority thing, and it’s funny to think I’d ever feel more important, or better than anyone else solely due to having a tipple in hand (trust me, the last thing I do on a night out is watch other people drinking and think ‘ugh, what are they doing’- it’s all about focussing whether Beyonce will be played)- because I honestly couldn’t mind less. All of my best friends drink, my boyfriend drinks and my family does- and it couldn’t be less of a problem if it tried. The only thing that makes a night out different, is that the day after I have a little more to spend at Whistles and sometimes less of a headache- and I’m ok with that.
This isn’t a critique of drinking, not drinking or everything in between, and I’m certainly not preaching about my habits- I just wanted to chat about what it’s like being on the other side of lots of curiosity from friends and occasionally family, in hope perhaps even one reader can relate and feel a bit less ‘boring’- because, check this- you’re not! Now get your dancing shoes and enjoy your Saturday night, Cosmo or Cola in hand and paint the town red!