Things People Who Don’t Drink Are Tired Of Hearing

I’ve drunk alcohol exactly once. I was 5. My mother gave me a sip of her New Year’s Champagne, and after my liver threw a very interesting fit, I decided right then and there that the world of fermented grapes/yeast/ethanol/potatoes probably wasn’t in my future. Wine, women, and song are all very well, but you can have the first and I’ll keep myself occupied with the second two, thanks.

There are great things about being someone who doesn’t drink — or as we Brits call it, being teetotal. I’ve never had a hangover, and can look benignly at friends crawling across my living room floor on a Sunday morning while I do the crossword. I spend very little on a night out, remember it all the next day, and can consequently use everything I witness as blackmail. I’ve also had to learn to actually be scintillatingly interesting, rather than relying on the booze to do it for me.

However, the fact remains that alcohol is deeply ingrained in Western life; from shots on Spring Break, to aspirational cocktails that require endangered flowers and artisanal purple yak milk. And should you not choose to participate, people tend to have some pretty strong opinions about it.

Take the French waiter, who upon hearing that I couldn’t drink, looked at me in what I can only describe as visceral horror, before declaring “I would DIE” and abandoning our table to somebody else. Others assume it means I’m religious, straight-edge, or inclined to lecture them on their whisky habit, and edge away nervously.

If you also don’t drink, you know what I’m talking about. Here are 23 things that we teetotalers are tired of hearing.

I don’t know how you do it

Condescend much?

Are you pregnant?

If you’re planning to enquire about a woman’s reproductive state, here’s a good guide: if you’re not her doctor, her gynecologist, or her partner, DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200.

Were you an alcoholic?

Seriously? Even if I was, how is that an appropriate question to ask someone you just met?

Again, not in my case, but thanks for the invasive question.

so … Can you drive me somewhere after this?

Just because I’m sober doesn’t mean I’m willing to drive 40 miles out of my way to drop your booze-sodden self at your mate Steve’s totally bangin’ party. Teetotalism doesn’t magically give me gas money, mate.

Actually, yes, we can. Here’s a teetotaller’s tip about cocktails: The quality of the cocktail bar is directly proportional to how good their mocktails are. If the bar staff knows how to keep things tasty without the addition of alcohol, they’re pretty much guaranteed to know their shit. Take a teetotaller along on your fancy nights out.

Yeah, but you still have to buy a round

No, I do not. If non-alcoholic beverages cost the same as alcohol, I’d be right there with you, but if I’m paying less than half of what you’re shelling out per drink — or just getting water for free — I’ll take care of myself, thank you.

so … we’ll split the dinner bill down the middle, right?

Same principle goes for drinks with meals. If I’ve stuck to mineral water and everybody else has finished five bottles of the Chateau Mouton Rothschild, it is kind to at least offer to cover the cost of your own drinking.

Come on, you can have one. Loosen up!

This one drives me insane. There are many reasons for non-drinking besides health reasons, including religion, and it’s insanely disrespectful to tell people their personal choices are stupid just because you can’t get through a night without a beer.

My response to this is now “You’re right! How bad can projectile vomiting really be?” accompanied by a creepy, toothy grin. Works every time.

Oh, I forgot — there’s wine in everything I cooked tonight. But that’s fine, right?

Er. Well… not really. Unless you’ve left it for 18 hours, cooking doesn’t automatically ‘cook off’ alcohol — between five and 85 percent of it can still be left.

God, that must save you so much money

I’m actually not too tired of hearing this one. Actually, yes, I do.

How do you go on dates/make friends/have sex/relax, then?

With a little added difficulty, perhaps, but with a pretty high batting average nonetheless. You’ve just got to learn to be brave without any liquid courage. I find loud battle cries beforehand tend to help.

I could do that too, if I wanted to

Good for you, Sparky. Have a lollipop.