Not for Me

As an adult, I find it increasingly frustrating when I’m questioned about why I don’t drink. And I mean not at all. Not occasionally, not ever. We don’t keep alcohol in our house. I can follow-up with a research-based Part II on “Why There are Virtually Zero Health Benefits from Alcoholic Beverages” for anyone who thought, “red wine is good for me!”

Aside: I found the meme on Reddit: it perfectly encompasses my sentiments toward drinking enthusiasts.

Our vacation in Mexico brought about a few discussions between my husband and I on this topic. The little time we spent at the resort was often confronted with a few of the same scenarios:

  1. People telling us to say, “tequila!” instead of “cheese!” when they were taking our photos. Really, I give no poops. Neither did the rest of my family. We all smiled and stayed silent. Or said “cheese”. Only one time did someone tell us to say “queso”, or “cheese” in Spanish. Are most tourists drunks?
  2. Tequila tours. Everywhere. We went on a dune buggy tour of the island  (not on the resort), and they took myself, my husband, brother and dad to a tequila tour. Another two couples were there, who told us they don’t drink much, if at all. One couple looked like a Crossfit couple (it was on their shirts, let’s go powers of observation!), which is usually a pretty good indicator that someone takes care of their health (arguable, I know, this is a blanket statement). Unless you work out to drink, which is, sadly, a real thing, as I’ve discovered in adulthood.
    • TL;DR, we told the tour host not to bother opening a bottle. He looked annoyed. We tried talking to him about the harvesting and distillation process. He still looked grumpy.
  3. Everyone around us is drinking or pushing us to drink. Or thinks we suck at volleyball because we’ve had too much tequila. I’m awful at volleyball sober, and I suck at most sports, particularly team ones.

These scenarios are often repetitive in my life. I felt like the black sheep in my MBA program, not only because I don’t drink, but because I’m already a little out there. And maybe a bit neurotic. Our class trip to China made me look incredibly tame, boring and introverted in contrast to everyone else.  Aside: if you know me well, you already know that I even know I’m a little crazy.

I think there is a common theme that ties these experiences together: culture, culture, culture. Almost everywhere you go, there’s a culture of drinking. My Romanian classmate pointed out that Romanians don’t brag about having drank a lot the night before, but Canadians do; it’s a way of expressing or repressing nuances in drinking culture.

From where I’m sitting, drinking is simply ingrained in culture. Business Insider published a drinking-per-capita article on countries that drink the most around the world. It boggles my mind that Koreans drink slightly less than Americans.

Some things I often think about when confronted with drinking culture: Why are we so obsessed with altering our state of mind? Are we so bored that we feel the need to drink to enjoy ourselves? Or is drinking a side effect of rampant materialism? Could we feed the world and rid starvation if we didn’t harvest crops for booze? Any chance people would be more introverted if none of us drank? Or ambiverted, as most people naturally are?

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