I've drunk alcohol exactly once. I was 5. My mother gave me a sip of her New Year's Champagne, and after my liver threw a very interesting fit, I decided right then and there that the world of fermented grapes/yeast/ethanol/potatoes probably wasn't in my future. Wine, women, and song are all very well, but you can have the first and I'll keep myself occupied with the second two, thanks.
There are great things about being someone who doesn't drink — or as we Brits call it, being teetotal. I've never had a hangover, and can look benignly at friends crawling across my living room floor on a Sunday morning while I do the crossword. I spend very little on a night out, remember it all the next day, and can consequently use everything I witness as blackmail. I've also had to learn to actually be scintillatingly interesting, rather than relying on the booze to do it for me.
However, the fact remains that alcohol is deeply ingrained in Western life; from shots on Spring Break, to aspirational cocktails that require endangered flowers and artisanal purple yak milk. And should you not choose to participate, people tend to have some pretty strong opinions about it.
Take the French waiter, who upon hearing that I couldn't drink, looked at me in what I can only describe as visceral horror, before declaring "I would DIE" and abandoning our table to somebody else. Others assume it means I'm religious, straight-edge, or inclined to lecture them on their whisky habit, and edge away nervously.
If you also don't drink, you know what I'm talking about. Here are 23 things that we teetotalers are tired of hearing.
I don't know how you do it
Are you pregnant?
Were you an alcoholic?
Seriously? Even if I was, how is that an appropriate question to ask someone you just met?
are you religious then? straight edge?
Again, not in my case, but thanks for the invasive question.
so ... Can you drive me somewhere after this?
Just because I'm sober doesn't mean I'm willing to drive 40 miles out of my way to drop your booze-sodden self at your mate Steve's totally bangin' party. Teetotalism doesn't magically give me gas money, mate.
Oh, no! this means we can't go to that cool cocktail bar
Actually, yes, we can. Here's a teetotaller's tip about cocktails: The quality of the cocktail bar is directly proportional to how good their mocktails are. If the bar staff knows how to keep things tasty without the addition of alcohol, they're pretty much guaranteed to know their shit. Take a teetotaller along on your fancy nights out.
Yeah, but you still have to buy a round
No, I do not. If non-alcoholic beverages cost the same as alcohol, I'd be right there with you, but if I'm paying less than half of what you're shelling out per drink — or just getting water for free — I'll take care of myself, thank you.
so ... we'll split the dinner bill down the middle, right?
Come on, you can have one. Loosen up!
This one drives me insane. There are many reasons for non-drinking besides health reasons, including religion, and it's insanely disrespectful to tell people their personal choices are stupid just because you can't get through a night without a beer.
Oh, I forgot — there's wine in everything I cooked tonight. But that's fine, right?
Er. Well... not really. Unless you've left it for 18 hours, cooking doesn't automatically 'cook off' alcohol — between five and 85 percent of it can still be left.
God, that must save you so much money
I'm actually not too tired of hearing this one. Actually, yes, I do.
How do you go on dates/make friends/have sex/relax, then?
With a little added difficulty, perhaps, but with a pretty high batting average nonetheless. You've just got to learn to be brave without any liquid courage. I find loud battle cries beforehand tend to help.
I could do that too, if I wanted to
Good for you, Sparky. Have a lollipop.
Do you hate drugs/parties/fun?
Yes. I am here, at your social function, purely to poison it with my judgment and sniff at people imbibing the demon drink. Later I will hand out pamphlets.
everyone i know who doesn't drink is a prude — but not you!
Thanks so much for the lovely complisult.
You can sit at the non-drinking table at the wedding with the kids, right?
Thanks. It's just so lovely sitting with angry teens and sugar-frenzied children. It isn't contagious, you know — I can sit with perfectly normal alcohol-drinkers without infecting them.
You just don't drink because you don't like the taste
Can you hold my purse And my shoes And my hair while I vomit?
Being sober doesn't automatically make me responsible. Shove your purse at me, strange lady, and I will text inadvisable things to all your contacts and then leave it on the floor.
Are you going to call the cops if we smoke weed?
I'm a non-drinker, not a NARC, you twit.
You're really just avoiding the carbs, aren't you?
This is some sexist, condescending crap, even if it's said by other women.
You didn't want to come out with us, right? We'll be getting drunk.
There are elements of this sentiment that are actually quite nice. It's considerate of people to know that drunks aren't the most excellent company if you aren't drunk too. However, you should still leave it to me to decide whether or not I can handle your Ryan Seacrest impression this evening.
This is called bour-bon. It's a type of whisky. Do you know what that means?
I don't drink. That doesn't mean I live under a rock. Spare me your condescending lecture and go back to trying to impress people with a discussion of the hint of blackberry in your red wine.
You poor, poor girl
I'm good. Really. Please, stop petting me and cooing sympathetically. I am not an abandoned bunny rabbit.