Dear Babe,

I don’t want to quit drinking, and I don’t think I need to (doesn’t every good alcoholic say that?), but on school (by school I mean work) nights I just don’t need the hassle of even a little tipsyness, headache the next day, etc. But people get so weird when you don’t drink! Especially because I’m recently married and a bit soft in the gut, I am afraid people will think I’m knocked up or something. But I don’t want to give a big speech when people ask me, but I don’t want to be rude, either. I have to go out for drinks for work things a lot, and sometimes, people even get offended! Help me figure out how to handle this.

Closet Non-Alcoholic

Dear Closet Non-Alcoholic,

Here’s what you can do:

Drink soda water with lime. It looks like a cocktail and it’s not fattening. I always fool people with it. Of course this only works if you are making/buying your own drink.

If someone else is getting the drink for you it’s a little more difficult but there are a number of ways to get around it.
1. Tell them can’t drink because you’re on antibiotics.
2. Say you can’t drink because you’re worried you might be getting an ulcer (it’s not even a lie because people worry about all sorts of things that are fabrications of their own minds). This technique is extra good because the kind of dorks who would try to pressure you to drink are usually people who impressed by pressure in general, especially people who work themselves sick. So you’ll have their respect AND they’ll stop bugging you.
3. Accept the drink and, when no one’s looking, either pour it into your husband/friends glass or knock it over and spill it. Then, refuse to let anyone buy you another drink because it was your fault, and get yourself a soda water with lime.
4. Get one drink and nurse it all night long, make it a clear drink so you can keep filling it with water to make it look perpetually full.

If you simply want to refuse drinking at all and not insult anyone, tell them your mother died of alcoholism or your dad or somebody, someone they don’t know, a fictional favorite teacher maybe? That’ll shut ’em up pronto. If they’re going to make you uncomfortable, why not return the favor? Or tell them it makes you violent and you don’t want to hit anyone at this party.

When you’re finally tired of stupid people putting pressure on you to drink, just tell them that you don’t drink because you don’t want to look like as much of an asshole as they do when they’re drunk.


the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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