On (not) drinking

Captain Awkward, which is still the best advice column on the Internet, just posted an entry about someone being pestered to drink after saying that they don't drink. As another one of those people who just don't drink, but not for any specific reason that people seem to accept, I felt like blathering a bit more about that. This is mostly about me rather than about the thread over there, so I figured I'd do it on my own journal.

First, I completely agree with the response that it's no one else's business why you do or don't drink, and people who persist in trying to get you to drink (or do anything else, no matter how innocuous) after you have clearly told them no are being rude and have forfeited the right to further conversation. But it also really frustrates me to see that people have to cope with that situation, particularly since I suspect it's gendered. My personal experience (as a man, and one who has a fairly firm way of expressing myself naturally) is that I say I don't drink and that's the end of it. Occasionally someone will ask me why. I've never had anyone pester me beyond that. I think the age of the letter writer (22) has something to do with this, but I suspect gender sadly also has something to do with this. People seem to be much more willing to tell women what to do and not take no for an answer.

It's unbelievably rude when people do that. Don't do that. If you decide you can pester someone about their personal choices because of their gender (and, for that matter, their age, or any other reason), you deserve to get your head handed to you on a plate.

Second, I wonder if some of the reason why I don't run into problems with this is that I work on a college campus. The latter means that there's a lot of surrounding culture around drinking and dealing with drinking, such as the university policy that any party have EANABs (Equally Attractive Non-Alcoholic Beverages) available as well. There's a bit of a cultural understanding that pushing people into drinking isn't okay.

Third, since people do occasionally ask why I don't drink, or assume that anyone who doesn't drink is doing so for religious reasons or because they're an alcoholic, or might object to them drinking, here are a few reasons why I don't drink. It may be useful information in case you run into more people in the world like me.

So, that's me. It makes no difference at all to me if other people drink. Enjoy! You won't offend me, there isn't any overtone to it, I'm not being judgemental when I say I don't drink, and it's not a dangerous topic or anything. There are probably others like me. If you run into us, all you have to say after "no thanks, I don't drink" is "oh, okay."

Posted: 2013-03-15 20:26 — Why no comments?

Last modified and spun 2013-07-22