Thursday, October 25, 2012

A drink? You mean alcohol?

Since I turned eighteen (I'm now nineteen) there has been this big emphasis on drinking. While the people in my family weren't really phased by the fact that I am legally allowed to drink, I found that people outside of my home were constantly asking me what I got up to on the weekend, And, people my age (who never used to drink) were now drinking (quite a bit actually). It feels strange for something that we were told was bad for us (as underage teenagers) to now be a conventional Friday night ritual (for some of the people I went to school with).

To me drinking was one of the many taboos. We were educated (by parents, teachers, family friends) that it was something that you didn't do until you were a certain age. And, even then, it was something that was for a special occasion or a treat. Too much was bad for you and like everything else that is considered bad for you; drinking was something to be done in moderation.  
So I turned eighteen last year and had my first real drink. I only had one to be on the safe side (didn't want to wake up the next morning with that thing called a hangover) and I didn't really enjoy it all that much. It wasn't awful, but honestly I couldn't justify the extra cost of buying a can of whats-it-called so I could say I had "had a drink". I didn't feel all that different, just more separate from anyone else. I describe the feeling as being "In the Bell Jar", but not in a depressing way. That and the extra trips to the bathroom.

I had been to places with a few people my age (sober) and watched them drink their weight (well probably not that much) in UDLs and observed the side-effects. You got louder, you had more confidence, you needed to go to the bathroom a whole lot more, you were warmer (well must have been, because otherwise how were they comfortable in those skimpy little dresses when there was such a chilly breeze), And, they had trouble walking. After this outing I thought an awful lot about this obsession (almost) that they had with wanting to have a drink in their hand, but I just didn't get it. I just couldn't understand.

I was chatting about this to one of my former colleagues who was very pro-drinking (but not that pro-drinking) about why would the girls do this to themselves. I listed my points of argument, and she explained that well, drinking makes you feel better about yourself, and makes you more mellow. I explain that I never felt that way after my first drink and she said that it's because I only had one. So that must have been the problem. A while later I went camping for a few days where I tested this theory. While I admit I did feel a bit more confident talking to other people, I also felt that I could have gained the confidence sober if I had enough time to warm up to those people. And, I remember seeing people acting silly and thinking "They are acting like animals", so alcohol certainly didn't effect me that way. Either that, or I was too stubborn to stoop to that level (Admittedly the maximum amount of drinks I had in one day on said camping trip was only three).

And, since that I've had a few drinks here and there tried a few different ones (I think cheap champagne is the nicest so far), but still brand them as special occasion, I'll-only-have-one kind of drinks. After all this is a girl who has grown up drinking plenty of water and only having one glass of fruit juice a day (because it costs too much to drink more than that), one milk drink a day (because it costs too much to drink more than that) and softdrink on special occasions. I have no problem with that, because I think my parents saved me from all that sugar and I'm a thrifty girl too. I grew up watching tea-time soapies that showed you how drunk teenagers got sick and alcoholics had trouble giving the stuff up.

So yes, I still sit here and question why people would want to drink so much. I don't have a problem with people drinking one or two drinks, but why would they want to go make themselves more vulnerable to creeps, more likely to do something foolish, lower their intelligence so they can hang out with the "cool kids", pay that much money to forget what happened the next day and throw-up the next morning. All for what? To gain confidence? I find it pretty sad that people have to rely on a substance to make them feel better about themselves. I'm a shy person and yet I find after a while (and sober) I can get up enough courage to talk to someone. A lot of the time these people act completely different to what they normally do (confidence or no) to the point that it seems like they are a different person altogether.

Or is it for image? To be like the singer in the music video that talks about the hot drunk chicks, to be the drunk girl in the movie that has the nice boy-next-door take care of her or is it to be the comedian, the friend everyone can laugh at, the one who's so fun to go drinking with? A proper nice guy will treat you with respect no matter what's in that glass, that boy-next-door type might not want to be your baby-sitter every weekend, And, while you may think they are laughing with you, they could be laughing at you.
 What happened to softdrink? It's cheap, it tastes better than most alcohol, it's fizzy and it has no bad side-effects (unless you count rotting teeth and sugar diabetes- but, hey you'll probably get that from alcoholic drinks anyway, right?).  When I was a kid (and by this I mean primary-school) a girl with a coke bottle in her hand pushed up to red lips was the epitome of cool. It was a once a week treat to get fast-food and a small bottle of red Fanta or Sprite.
What happened to old-school dances or dinners where you had one or two glasses of bubbly only and spent the evening enjoying the company of friends? People say that now instead of working to live we "live to work". I think the same thing has happened with drinking. We seem to "socialise to drink". The facebook statuses I see popping up on Thursdays and Fridays about the weekend seem to be more about catching up with their favourite aluminium can, than their favourite person.
I don't mean to discriminate against those who drink responsibly. A glass of water in-between and all that. I'm fine with alcohol, just in small portions... This article is really just about me not drinking. It's an explanation as to why I don't drink much. If you don't agree with my opinion than please just ignore this, it's just something I had to get out there.
Your Favourite Cynical Blogger,

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