Dry in the Drunk City

kitten in a glass

The question inevitably comes up, often at the beginning of the night:

“What are you drinking?”

And no matter how many times I’ve been asked, I still haven’t come up with the perfectly smooth answer now that I’m dry.

I tend to start with “No, not drinking tonight. I’ll just have a diet Coke.”

That’s the easy, go-to answer for a first date or a work ‘do. Unfortunately, some people don’t stop there.

“Why? Late night last night (wink, wink)?”

And that’s where it gets complicated, because I hate to lie (and I’m almost evangelical about how much happier I am now that I don’t drink the full-proof stuff anymore). But it can be a bit too much information for someone you barely know.

So I have a few choices from here:

a) The Truth: “No, actually I don’t drink.”

b) The Semi-Lie: “No, just trying to be healthy.”

c) The All-Out Lie: “Yeah, I’m on the wagon tonight.”

Choice C is always the easiest. Choice A just makes people uncomfortable, especially when I add “anymore” to the end.

The other night was a case in point. An attractive guy started chatting to me while we were both waiting at the bar to order. He offered to buy me a drink.

ME: “Oh, that’s ok, I have to buy a few for my friends. But thanks!”
HIM: (Proceeds to order a beer and two tequila shots.)
ME: (Relieved…until he slides one of the tequila shots my way.)
HIM: (Big smile) “That’s for you!”
ME: (Crushed) “I’m so sorry, but I don’t…drink. But hey, now you get two for yourself!”
HIM: “You don’t drink?”
ME: “Er, no.” (Now panicking). “But I used to looooooooooooove to drink before I quit.”
HIM: (Awkward) “Ah, ok. Well, have a nice night.” (Takes the two shots and beer and walks off to find his friends, never to be seen or heard from again.)

It’s not any easier with people I know, especially my former drinking buddies.

I made the mistake of quitting right before one of their birthdays, and by the sound of it, you would’ve thought I did it just to spite her.

A week before her party, she comes up to me and sighs heavily:

HER: “So, I don’t care that you don’t drink anymore, it doesn’t bother me, but don’t expect me to buy anything special for you to drink. I’m already buying beer and wine, and soda for mixers.”
ME: (Clear throat, resist urge to say something nasty back) “That’s no problem, I planned on bringing my own alcohol-free wine. Just want to help you celebrate!”
HER: “Ok, I don’t want to sound like a bitch, I just want you to know I’m not going out of my way, ok?”
ME: “Understood!”

The party was fine. I brought my alcohol-free red wine which I hid discreetly in a corner of her kitchen. I was so undercover about it that her good friend was going on about how I should join them on a champagne trip to Reims. She hadn’t even noticed that I “wasn’t drinking.” I smiled politely and nodded while the old me grimaced inside, thinking about how much fun that girls trip to champagne country would be if I still drank.

It’s gotten slightly better with this friend, though she still asks me when I plan on drinking again. Yesterday we were discussing my birthday.

HER: “So, are you going to at least have a beer on your birthday?”

This is progress, trust me.

DryChick lives in London. She started DryScene to show people that they can have fun without alcohol. She wants to promote a healthy lifestyle and connect like-minded people through her events, where the focus is on the fun and not what’s in your glass. Contact her at drychick@dryscene.com.

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