I was nineteen and worked at a local steakhouse doling out Porterhouses that hung off the plate and tray after tray of Martinis and Gimlets and large sloshing glasses of wine. I had quite a few regulars that came to eat and I got to know most of the seatwarmers that parked themselves at our bar. While I picked large chunks of feta out of our cold trays and grabbed the first steak sent back to the kitchen to take home with me for dinner, I never drank. The regulars all offered to buy me a drink at the end of my shift as either a thank you for the night's welcome banter or to ply a young fresh woman out of her panties. I never accepted because my short drive home from the restaurant was riddled with cops and speed traps and Wisconsin's Not a Drop Law, made the penalties for driving with any alcohol in your system before you reached the legal drinking age, especially harsh.
So when the restaurant hosted a huge Halloween party that I attended but was not scheduled to work, where a number of my family members were in attendance, including my mom who promised to take me home, I felt comfortable having a drink with the people who I always politely declined as I sipped my diet cokes. Maybe because I normally eschewed their generosity or maybe because I was dressed like Marilyn Monroe, the free drinks came pouring in. It started with a margarita because they were on special that night. It tasted pretty good, like a high octane smoothie. The effects hit me immediately and the second margarita went down even easier. My senses were all numbed so this time, I couldn't even taste the alcohol. Two more of these and I found myself spinning in our bathroom. I miraculously managed to point my head right at the toilet as my body surprised me with a barf with no mouthwater or stomach turning foreshadowing. I was so drunk that my normal phobia about vomiting was absent. Emboldened by alcohol and apparently not deterred by getting sick, I attempted to hit on the restaurant owner's son until my gracious friend intercepted me, told me I had a little puke on my dress and ushered me home.
I was sick for three days. I didn't have even an ounce of alcohol for two years. I had a small glass of champagne on New Year's Eve with my boyfriend at age twenty-one, and one more overindulgence at twenty-four with business colleagues who were seasoned drinkers. After that last time, a night of three gin and tonics and another three day hangover, I rarely drank again. Save for the occasional glass of wine at a very good restaurant or splitting a beer with my husband over spicy Thai food, I never drink. I probably average one drink a month. My total annual alcohol consumption is what some drinkers put down in one night. My husband drinks the same way I do. We both have alcoholics in our family and our individual drinking habits, or lack thereof, are of comfort to each of us.
I am aware that in our culture, I am not the norm. I am the teetotaler, the prude, the one who leaves Happy Hour at 6:30pm just as everyone else is getting started. I am the one that will shoot you looks of irritation and exasperation that you won't even register because you are drunk. I am the one who will remind myself that there is nothing quite so annoying as a drunk person when you are sober. I am the one who will drive myself home safely, not putting families and individuals and light poles in jeopardy because I am too intoxicated to understand and consider the potentially horrific consequences of having too many Jack and cokes and getting behind the wheel. I am the one who will tuck myself in bed, watch Law and Order and wake up clear headed the next day regretting nothing.
I offer you this back story as a reference for what comes next.
I am absolutely worried and dismayed over the current female drinking culture. The whole Mommy Needs Her Medicine mentality, the young single girls drinking night after night, the women who come home to a glass or four of wine every night. I am sick of the television shows that not only condone excessive drinking but encourage it. I know emails like this are meant to be lighthearted but I don't like them.
Important Women's Health Issue:
* Do you have feelings of inadequacy?
* Do you suffer from shyness?
* Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?
* Do you suffer exhaustion from the day to day grind?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or
pharmacist about Margaritas.
Margaritas are the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident
about yourself and your actions. Margaritas can help ease you out of
your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing
to do just about anything. You will notice the benefits of Margaritas
almost immediately and with a regimen of regular doses you can
overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want
Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past and you will
discover many talents you never knew you had. Stop hiding and start
living, with Margaritas.
Margaritas may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or
nursing should not use Margaritas. However, women who wouldn't mind
nursing or becoming pregnant are encouraged to try it.
Side effects may include:
- Erotic lustfulness
- Loss of motor control
- Loss of clothing
- Loss of money
- Loss of virginity
- Table dancing
- Dry mouth
- And a desire to sing Karaoke
* The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you are whispering
when you are not.
* The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to tell your friends over
and over again that you love them.
* The consumption of Margaritas may cause you to think you can sing.
* The consumption of Margaritas may make you think you can logically
converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.
I feel like as a culture, we are encouraging women to drink to handle their lives rather than changing their lives or dealing with difficult, uncomfortable and painful feelings. Drinking has never fixed anything, it only adds shame and anxiety to the current set of problems. As a child of an alcoholic it is painful for me to watch the faces of the children of my friends and neighbors who drink in excess, knowing firsthand some of the issues those children will grapple with as adults because of their parents emotional checking out. It is painful for me to watch a woman I work with walk through her day like the living dead, sneaking off to her car for a beer in between clients.
I think this is a very important feminist issue. For me, the consequences of drinking so immeasurably outweigh the fun that I just don't understand why so many women willingly risk so much. This isn't meant to be a tsk-tsk to you Z. and I hope Mongolian Girl, who has gone through recovery has some insight to offer. I just think that when so many people condone excessive drinking, or treat a DUI like a right of passage that I had to offer up the alternative viewpoint.