What’s a drink between friends? Part II

So we were pretty overwhelmed with this girl’s hospitality and made it a point to let her know how much we appreciated it. But there was one small thing I did NOT appreciate and unfortunately could not discuss with her, considering I barely know her and she was our host and a very nice person otherwise AND I hate confrontations and all! Naturally then, I had to vent myself here.

So we were in North Carolina for the weekend and Sunday night found us wandering about downtown Chapel Hill, a beautiful little town, by the way. Tired from the day’s sightseeing and wanting to rest our aching limbs, we chanced upon a Chipotle, one of the few non-desi places we desis can get good wholesome but spicy food in America. Their burrito bowl is as good as rajma-chawal I think!

So the husband was having his fajitas, I was enjoying my burrito bowl and our friends were nursing a glass of margarita each. Now I was raised to be a teetotaler, in a family where alcohol, tobacco and meat are all considered the original sins, next to drugs, fraud and murder probably! I am pretty sure my mother has never sat next to a person enjoying a glass of wine and will not be doing it anytime soon either. Me, I am not that fanatical at all but I stick to my teetotaler upbringing out of choice. I don’t think alcohol is a sin but I am not a great fan of the effect it sometimes has on people.

Let me clarify. Most people I know are social drinkers and they’ll be up in arms against me for clubbing them with drunks and alcoholics. I understand the difference, you know. I just don’t like the idea of indulging in something that can turn so ugly when over-indulged in. Maybe there’s nothing wrong in having a social drink from time to time if I can stay within my limits. But what if I forget them? Or worse, what if I am just not able to stick to them? Why even go down a road whose end is so ugly? Sure, I can always turn back but what if lose my way instead?

And then there is this weird concept that says you cannot let go and enjoy yourself completely without a drink or two. Which is basically what our friend’s wife kept saying once the first margarita gave way to the second. And which irritated me no end. I had absolutely no issues when she was sitting next to me, enjoying her drink and all of us enjoying our conversation. But then she wanted to know why the husband and I weren’t drinking. Didn’t we like to have fun? Didn’t we wish to experience the lightheadedness and total abandon that can only came with a drink?

This idea that I couldn’t enjoy myself as much as she would just because I wasn’t drinking made me see red. I didn’t try and foist my morals upon her, did I? Why, then, was she trying to impose her concept of fun on me? I might have had more *fun* than any other person at that table. Or I might be a total loser. What does that have to do with drinking?

I prefer to have my share of fun without the aid of a drink. Basically, I hate the idea of losing control, the very idea that was being advocated as the biggest joy of drinking in the first place. I prefer to be in my senses all the time. Call me a control freak or whatever, but that’s the way I am.

I wish I could have said all this to her but then I’d be violating my own rules. Which basically say – to each his or her own. As long as you aren’t throwing up on me or insisting on driving us straight down a cliff, I don’t mind you drinking. So as long as I’m not playing moral police and spoiling your fun, why not let me be? I’ll jump up and down and crack silly jokes and giggle like crazy in the spirit of the occasion and I’ll do it even though I’m not drunk and I’ll still have as much fun as you and not spoil your fun, promise! Just let me do it in my own way, will you?

Sigh! We are traveling to Vegas with these friends and another couple (more college friends) for Thanksgiving next weekend. So I thought I’d get this rant out of my system before then. They are all great people and very good friends, but I know many more such remarks are going to come our way in Vegas. I think I’ll manage to laugh them off now that I’ve ranted here in advance!


36 responses to “What’s a drink between friends? Part II

  1. Exactly the attitude we must all take in dealing with such situations-friendships turn sour and everything goes haywire if we don’t clamp down on our anger. I don’t say it was over a trivial issue because as you said-‘to each his/her own’ but your patience to go through with all that is highly commendable. I doubt it I would have had the same degree of patience in such a situation because my family is totally against drinking too and this disliking I have inherited in a doubly vehement measure!! Really liked your post especially the part where you acknowledge that you would be going against your own rules if you rant out on her

  2. Vegas! wow…well i totally empathise wth u…i to am not a grt fan of alcohol and have no issues wth anyone enjoying their drinks..but in limits! And most of my friends are AGHAST when i say no to alcohol..they feel m so so not happening and all i say is ..i dont need it , I am high on life 🙂

  3. Absolutely in league with you. I also do not enjoy with any kind of social-non social or anti-social drinkers. Period. The reason is the same-people tend to lose control and in turn force the others to be in control of these out of control people-cos the sober ones have to ‘adjust’ to these peoples’ ‘total abandon’
    Have fun at Las Vegas anyway. And acha kiya, rant kar liya.

  4. I would have been just as annoyed if I was in your place. It’s great that she was a good hostess and took good care of you and your husband, but her trying to pressure you both to have drinks just because they were having drinks (or because that’s what they think is “socially acceptable”) is ridiculous. Whether someone wants to have a social drink or not is their choice, and their decision does not have to be linked to the amount of fun they will eventually end up having. Some people need drinks to have fun, some don’t. I know I personally enjoy a drink or two in a social setting, not because it’s a crutch for me to “lighten up” and have fun but because I actually like the taste of some alcohol (a glass of wine, or a cocktail, for example) and I feel like it accessorizes a party setting. But that does NOT mean I will be breathing down everyone’s necks forcing them to have drinks too! It’s every individual’s choice. Like you said, each to their own.

    I know it’s aggravating when people who drink try to force their drinking habits on others, selling it as something “cool” and trendy. You definitely had a lot of patience to deal with that!

  5. I’ve seen very often how people who think there can be no enjoyment without a drink are a kill joy for teetotalers. They insist till they can insist no more and take it as an insult if a guest doesn’t agree to enjoy a drink with them. I think it’s disgusting and nobody should drink under duress. You have fun girl and enjoy Vegas!

  6. You know Mithe, I have been through numerous situations where I’ve let my resentment be known and a relationship has been soured (to a certain extent). I wish I could say I’ve learned better since then, but it’s more likely I wasn’t that angry in the first place this time! 🙂 Just slightly irritated. But what you’ve just said is very true and very important – I WILL keep it in mind.

    Oh yes, we will, I am soooo excited you know, LVL! 😀

    Yeah, high on life and high on me, that’s me Arti! 😀

    Oh yes, I’ve seen some of those namoonas too Mampi! One actually threw up in front of me in a New Year’s party! But otherwise drunks can be great free entertainment too, nahi? So I put the caveat, don’t insist on driving and don’t throw up on me! 😉

    Yeah, it’s just the cool argument that gets to me Sindhu. I like to think I am cool just as I am… it’s all in the mind I think!

    This girl thankfully did not insist D… but others have at various points of time, so I know exactly what you mean. And it spoils my fun, I say! Our host just wanted to know why we didn’t drink. And then she started telling us stories of a party with common friends where ‘everybody who was drunk had a great time and this couple who refused to drink sat in a corner unable to enjoy…’ 🙂

    She wasn’t that bad actually, I have seen worse but I didn’t have a blog to vent then, so all that pent-up anger came out after this incident!

  7. First of all its great that u still maintain the teetotaler status. When I say I don’t eat meat or consume alcohol, some people here just don’t get it. I have been laughed at, named uncool and gotten weird looks! On occasion people have pointed out that half my life is wasted because I have not tried meat or alcohol! I have been to parties where no soft drinks were served! So now I have gotten used to a drink of wine on a rare party!

    Vegas?! That is great! You will create a record by being the only sober person there 😉

  8. I have tried and enjoyed drinking for a few years just after I got married, it was a lot of fun and I wanted to know what it felt like, but I stopped because I just don’t think I needed to drink to have fun.

    I have been through such situations, now I generally site a homeopathic medicine/some medical allergy (not lies, but not all truth either) instead of saying I don’t drink. Or I simply accept a drink, nurse it for a while and leave it on some table.

    It’s a tricky situation. If we refuse and give our reasons for refusing, maybe they think we are judging them ?

  9. You know IHM, I took a small sip once too, just for the heck of it (to see what the hoopla was all about) and it tasted absolutely horrid! (I don’t even remember what type of drink it was.) So no one can tempt me with the – it tastes good – line now. 🙂 But the fact is, I am sure I wouldn’t have gone beyond that first sip even if I had loved the taste. But that’s just me again!

    Interesting point you make, does my refusal imply I am being judgemental… I hope not! In that case we’d all have to be clones of each other na? But I get your point, which is why I don’t usually elaborate on my reasons unless pressed. In this case too, I just kept smiling and saying I don’t enjoy it… nothing more.

  10. I understand how sticky this situation was for you. On the one hand – you have the perfect host but on the other – you have a person who puts you off with comments but you cannot say anything !

    I have had this discussion even in the past with friends. Some of my friends say they visit pubs every weekend to loosen up, to let go….and they drink cos its like a stressbuster! And when I suggested ways of busting your stress with things other than drinking, they simply could not take it! I wonder why people dont look at other things in life for merriment or as stressbusters or whatever. Wonder what happened to swimming, cycling, walking, meditation, music, painting, etc that were once (and still are I’m sure – atleast for me they are) considered as stressbusters.

    I drink socially. Not even socially actually. But just to quench my curiosity about how they taste. We went wine-tasting in Napa last year and although I was dizzy at the end of it, I was glad I had an experience. I have friends that drink but the least courtesy one can show is to ask if we would give them company. We have sometimes given them company and have many other times plain declined. But never has someone questioned our reasoning for it. It is just one’s way of looking at things and part belief. So why not leave it at that?

    And you’re right. You cannot speak anything in such situations cos it can sour relationships !

  11. Hmmm. As someone who enjoys indulging, but also grew up in a teetotaler household, I would say that maybe she’s not comfortable or doesn’t feel in control herself with drinking…and so she doesn’t feel happy if others aren’t joining in, although she might not put it that way.

    I love my glasses of wine, but I never care if I’m the only one having it. And I often am!

  12. You speak my mind Snippets, what else do I say? 😀

    Oh, and you went to Napa valley? I am sooo J! And you didn’t post about it… 😦

    Interesting thought Memsaab. But the funny part is, this has happened very often with me in India… and as I said in my reply to D above, this particular instance was one of the more harmless ones I’ve experienced. (Poor girl – she just happened to be a trigger and at a point when I have a blog to vent!) I have seen many more folks doing this and much worse! Is it an Indian thing maybe?

  13. Good Heavens D, you just say “No thank you, I don’t drink.” Lather Rinse Repeat as necessary. You don’t need to explain anything. And frankly, if this woman is being inquisitive and trying to force you to drink, she needs to learn some manners. I’m sorry, but this is something I hate. I’m not a drinker either – but I hate the idea that no party can be complete without alcohol. My God, the world existed before alcohol was invented you know 🙂

    ….”But then she wanted to know why the husband and I weren’t drinking. Didn’t we like to have fun? Didn’t we wish to experience the lightheadedness and total abandon that can only came with a drink?”…. you simply say “No”.

    And D, sometimes, no amount of politeness is going to sink through to some people, and in times like that I simply say “You know, I appreciate you trying to introduce me to new things, but I’m really not into . Can we please talk about something else ? This discussion makes me uncomfortable”. If these peple are *real* friends, they will let it go, and still accept you for who you are.

    Ok that should be enough of a sermon before going to Vegas !! Have fun.


  14. People like to let loose (mainly their tongues) once they imbibe some alcohol. And it can be uncomfortable to know that you are in the company of someone who is completely in control and can see you making a fool of yourself. 🙂

    I have to admit, i love my drinks. But I can have fun without it too.

  15. Haha! I love the light spin you’ve put to this story Chakli – I’ll try to keep this explanation in mind next time I get irritated with these remarks! 😀

  16. Fun and Drinking must not be related. I drink socially, but I do DO NOT like to loose control. I have never gotten drunk ever in my life, and I try to stop with one or two (if its light) drinks. But if some one calls me out to have fun and that would be to head to a bar and sit and drink, I do not join in. I find that ridiculously irritating and STUPID. Basically these people, don’t know what FUN is. If it has to be induced via drinking, they are leading a very very dull, boring, sad life and I would not want to join in in their version on fun…

    I am extroverted, I am very hyper active, excited, love to dance, love to talk to new people and laugh out loud, and do all this without an ounce of alcohol…

    I hope u have some friends who also appreciate to have fun for just fun…HAPPY THANKSGIVING and have fun in Vegas.

    PS: I assume ur husband is checking out UNC – Kenan Flager. Its a good school. I have a couple of friends from that school. I personally an graduating from my MBA in May 09 and my husband is starting his in AUg 09 in Chicago GSB (Booth School of Business). I wish good luck to ur husband(its a lot of work) and to you(its a lot of work and patience for the spouse as well, my husband can tell).

  17. Thanks for your comment and the tips Sharada – yes, we did visit UNC and it seems to be a great school! Good luck to your husband and to you too… Your turn to be patient now, eh? 😀

    I agree with what you’ve said… basically I think we all have our own interpretations of fun and it’s best to leave it at that! 🙂

    Having said that, there’s one thing I’d like to clarify and this is not directed at you but everyone commenting here in general…

    The friend I was talking about seemed to be a VERY nice and fun person overall. She did have this one shortcoming that irritated me, but my rant wasn’t entirely about her! Lots of people have insisted and even laughed at me before, this girl was more curious than insistent or obnoxious. So my rant was a sum total of all my bad experiences, from times when I didn’t have a blog to vent!

    I should have specified all this in my post itself, my mistake!

    Oh, and welcome here Sharada, hope to see you again! 🙂

  18. 🙂

    honest D! what good is a blog if not for a rant!

    even i am a teetotaler! almost at least and have NEVER thought that I need a drink to have a good time.

    i cannot imagine how being drunk and hungover be more fun?!

    but then to each his own indeed! so i guess, you not saying anything is cool!!

    have lotsa fun at Vegas and tell us loads of stories!


  19. Well,, everyone has said what I wanted to say. I started doing the occassionaly single drink now that I am not pregnant or nursing. I say single because I dont want to waste my calorific intake on liquids, I rather use it on food.

    Next time say you are allergic to alcohol and throw up even it touches your skin. No one will force you.

    Have fun in Vegas. Will you be seeing any shows?

  20. Am driving with a bunch of friends from Denver. We will reach by Wednesday evening. I’ve heard a lot about Cirque Du Soleil shows. A friend is trying to get tickets for us. Let me know if you are interested. Email me at vidujp@gmail.com

  21. Dropped you an email Vidu!

    Oh yes, that’s almost number one on the list LVL, Snippets told me about it. 🙂 So I’ll remember you BOTH when I’m there!

  22. Next time, just order a soda/tonic water with lime/lemon, or some juice. And practice smiling if/when she asks you the same question again, and say what Priya said. Or you could say something along the lines of “I’m drinking what I like or enjoy” (soda water, juice).

    That way, your friend won’t feel “left out” that you’re not drinking.

  23. I’ve had a lot of people use the same logic for non-vegetarian food as well. Why is everyone supposed to have the same preferences? What happened to freedom of choice, and respecting the choices others make?
    Enjoy Vegas!

  24. Im late commenting on this but I totally know where you are coming from!! Especially when you said this:
    “Basically, I hate the idea of losing control,”

    Thats just it for me too, and probably the main reason I never took up drinking, ever tried any drug or even smoking. And that I just see no point in it also.

    Living in America, I really dont like the importance placed on the drinking culture here, especially for young people/teens who are too young to be responsible about it. You are right when you say it is touted as the “only” way to let loose and have fun. I hate the feeling that I am somehow uptight or uncool because I choose not to fall off barstools and blackout in public.

    Like you, Im not judging drinkers(at least not responsible ones) but I agree in live and let live.

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