Incurably Curious

Booze Boycott

Icon31-Booze BoycottI don’t know if it’s because I’m getting old and boring, but as I’ve grown out of my student lifestyle I’ve become a bit disillusioned with the supposed glamour of alcohol. Obviously, this doesn’t stop me from drinking it socially, regularly and with gusto, which is a shame as I am totally incapable of holding it. At university I was always a notorious lightweight, but a couple of years ago I discovered I have a minor liver condition that causes alcohol intolerance. Nothing life-threatening, but it did explain why I had always been a complete let-down on the drinking front (and a notorious Ring of Fire cheat to boot).

Last Thursday before last I was off work with a fever. I managed to send a few emails from home and had a bash at understanding the hype surrounding Fifty Shades of Grey, but for the most part the day was spent writhing around in bed, sweating like a buffalo and balancing ice packs on my forehead as I slid in and out of fitful sleep. The day afterwards I still felt a little peaky, but I had some important shit to do in the office so had no choice but to man up and go in. Also, it was my workmate Brad’s thirtieth birthday. Although I didn’t feel in tip-top condition, I was under the impression it was going to be a case of a few sophisticated drinks after work rather than a partying-like-it’s-1999 type situation. Unfortunately, we ended up taking the office beer bong to the pub with us.

I don’t really remember anything past 9pm, but reliable sources tell me I spent the evening in uncontrollable tears over how lovely it is that Brad is getting married in November and loudly regaling total strangers with Jimmy Carr’s infamous ‘most offensive joke in the world’ (Google it). I was also violently ill for about 90 minutes in the ladies room; not in a cool bar or throbbing nightclub, but the pub. The fucking pub! Eventually, at some embarrassingly premature hour, I was put to bed in our Managing Director’s flat opposite the pub, unanimously deemed to be too drunk to make my own way home. I woke up at 4am, still pissed, gasping for water and eight inches from my boss’s not unimpressive bedside collection of personal lubricant. At 7am I slunk out, leaving my poor boss slumped over his own sofa and consumed with an all-encompassing sense of shame and guilt.

How does this happen!? Obviously on this occasion I suspect the beer wine bong may have played a significant part, but other than that I have no clue. I don’t even really enjoy the taste of alcohol, with the obvious exceptions of those delicious, creamy cocktails that taste like dessert and my favourite gin and cranberry (gets you pleasantly tipsy and promotes a healthy urinary tract – what’s not to like?) I never crave it. In a fit of hormonal angst I’m more likely to reach for my credit card than the bottle and go mental on ASOS. I guess in the end I’m forced to admit most of us do it because everyone else is. Because we like to have something to do with our hands, because it makes it easier to talk to strangers. A little bit can induce a good mood (or exacerbate a bad one), and sometimes it’s just nice to have an excuse to be a bit silly. But sometimes it goes too far, and you end up hurling up out of the back of a black cab or shagging someone wildly inappropriate. You know that dreadful, immovable sense of shame you get the second you wake up after a heavy night out? The one where it feels like a black abyss of humiliation has opened up in your stomach and is sucking you in from the inside out? I call it the Fear, and I get that every single time, regardless of what happened the night before. When I was at university, the first order of the day – even ahead of swilling out the brimming saucepan of vomit on my bedside table – was to run into one of my housemates’ rooms in a frenzied, hysterical fit: “Fuck! Fuck, what did I do? Did I make a twat of myself? Was I sick on anyone!?”

But at least I am a happy drunk. Admittedly also loud, obnoxious and apparently over-emotional about workmates’ impending nuptials, but never angry or violent. How dreadful it would be to wake up with the all-encompassing sense of shame and also a set of leg-irons (!) The walk of shame would doubtlessly be made fifty times worse if you had to first get an obliging mate to post bail and then endure a twenty minute lecture from the local constabulary about Responsibility before being allowed to go home. Fortunately, I don’t actually know anyone like this (with the single, notable exception of my old housemate Becky T, who completely flipped out when a six-foot prop forward from the Loughborough women’s rugby team accidentally spilled snakebite on her hair. Violence is never funny, but the memory of Beck being manhandled off the dance floor and out of the Union by two burly security guards is one of my most treasured).

Anyway, last weekend was a call to action. I had already freaked myself out a couple of weeks ago by watching an episode of Embarrassing Bodies that featured the pickled liver of somebody who’d died of long-term alcohol poisoning. It was hard and black and bloody, and although I’m nowhere near the level of drinking that the liver’s previous owner had so enthusiastically indulged in, it’s my ego that is my most immediate concern. Beer bong or no, it’s frankly mortifying to be carried to bed at 10pm by your workmates. I did take some comfort in the fact that the birthday boy also had to be dragged home by his fiancée at a similar hour, much to the relief of the two strangers he had accosted in the smoking area. I have no idea what the luckless pair had done to deserve it, but for some reason Brad thought they’d be interested to hear of his lifelong struggle with social smoking, all the while puffing away on a pack of Marlborough Lites. (They weren’t.)

So, from now on I am on a mission to drink responsibly, with no vomming in public toilets, saucepans or other handy vessels, no chatting shit at total strangers and no accidentally early bedtimes. It’s much more fun that way for everyone anyway.

How much do you drink, and how often? Do you know when to stop or do you still manage to make a total arse of yourself? I’d love to know!

10 comments on “Booze Boycott

  1. Lizzie
    August 27, 2012

    Don’t worry we’ve all been there. After my cousin’s wedding last weekend mum had to pack for me the following day because I was too hungover to move. A low point. But in the interest of sharing, here’s a few more.

    1.) On a date with a guy I really liked I drank six cocktails on an empty stomach. Collapsed in a heap outside the pub at about 10.30pm and threatened to be sick on him. (Luckily I wasn’t but he still didn’t succumb to my charms)
    2.) Splayed self across pool table in what I thought was a seductive manner. Apparently they were playing a game and one of my friends had to remove me.
    3.) Whilst animatedly chatting to guy I had a crush on, smacked my head on the table and fell off my chair. It was a beautiful time.
    4.) Stripping down to my knickers in my best mate’s uni flat and running around waving my bare breasts at strangers.

    Still want to go out for cocktails?

  2. Long Tall Ally
    August 27, 2012

    I’ve lost count of the times I’ve had to be put to bed by friends after too many wines and this coming from a woman with one kidney! At one friend’s wedding it took six of them to get me to my room and sort me out, I woke up the next morning demanding to know who had trashed the communal living area and was mortified to find out it was me, having been on a wine induced rampage the night before. Or the night I decided it was a really great idea to drink on an empty stomach… Not just an empty stomach, a Cambridge diet no food for a week stomach. We were in a swanky bar in London and by 8pm I was quite literally rolling round on the floor cackling before going and vomiting ALL OVER the bathroom. I then decided to take myself off home, had to be peeled off the tube platform by a kind stranger and scooped up from the middle of Finchley High Road by another stranger… I was a mess. There’s also the night I got so hammered I spent £1,000, £500 of which was on a fecking TEDDY BEAR. The only highlight of this night was a chain of events that saw me going on a date with Greg James… Every cloud.

    I just don’t like going out and getting hammered anymore but I find frequently that a lot of friends don’t understand when I say I’m not drinking. They think it’s crazy and try and cajole me into getting wrecked. I’m not saying I’m never going to drink again because let’s face it, that would be a lie, but I am trying to be more conscious about how much I drink and am trying to learn when to say “I’ll just have an iced water”.

  3. mancunianvintage
    August 27, 2012

    I’m something of a reverse drunk…. I have one/two glasses of wine, get very merry and then gradually sober up throughout the night getting people into cabs and safely home.

    Slightly annoying, but I’m a very cheap date and I don’t end up with a massive hangover.

    Don’t hate me though, there was one time on holiday (thankfully abroad) when my boyfriend and a bunch of people I’ll never meet again had to help me after I sampled a large number of bottles of wine and foreign shots.

    Safe to say I was a state that night and the next day. Never again!

    PS Long Tall Ally – I’m curious about the Greg James date!

  4. Hannah
    August 27, 2012

    I used to get really silly with my drinking when I was younger but since then I’ve only been ill from drinking too much once. (having a birthday celebration on Thursday though so lets hope it doesn’t end up that way!). I enjoy drinking when I do it, but I never really crave alcohol or anything. It is fun to have it when you’re out but the shitty feeling the next day and the fact it sometimes feels like a TOTAL waste of money (that could easily be spent on nicer things like books and shoes) is enough to stop me doing it too often! :)

  5. Rachael C
    August 27, 2012

    I have the horrendous habit of insisting on tequila shots to start the night. Once I’ve had one I seem incapable of drinking a normal drink for the rest of the night… it’s shots all ’round. Then my boobies come out (EVERY time and I honestly don’t know why) and I get free entry into my local club for the rest of my time at uni because the bouncers had such a great night at work…. I’ve taken to going there now only if I’m wearing something with a high neck and no buttons…. :S On the plus side though, I, like you, am a happy drunk – couldn’t be happier in fact! :D x

  6. Annie Rose
    August 27, 2012

    Love this! And the comments. I feel I should contribute but I’m only 20, so still plenty of time to humiliate myself more. Once I got so drunk my dad had to pick me up at 11pm (went out at 9) and I was sick all down the side of the car. Also at my friends birthday with a free bar, christ I’ve never been more ashamed of my behaviour. I was slutty and sick that night, so proud.

  7. Selin (@selincanperk)
    August 28, 2012

    This has happened to all of us, and reading this has made me feel a teeny bit better (sorry) about a work night out which, two years on, I still can’t forget! It involved being very, very, very sick in a pub (I didn’t even make it to the toilets) three times in front of all my work colleagues. When I eventually stumbled to the ladies, I couldn’t put my playsuit back on and went out, found a colleague, who alerted one of the girls to come and dress me properly. I can’t remember the hour tube journey back home, except that I was in bed by 10:30pm. Argh!

    I was terrible during university, too – I used to go out two or three times a week, every week, for three years and I never spent one of those nights sober. Falling over, being sick, sending drunken texts to everyone in my phone book, the lot. These days, I definitely try and be more sensible with the amount I drink. Like you said, as I’ve grown out of my student lifestyle, I have become a little tired of drinking myself silly. Plus, my hangovers overshadow any joy I can possibly gain from being drunk! After the embarrassing incident above, I’ve been terrified of making a fool out of myself again, so I only limit myself to two or three drinks during work dos etc. I’m less bothered about drinking to excess now – before, I used to see it as the be all and end all when it came to having fun, but not anymore. Luckily, I’ve never been one to “crave” a drink after a hard day and I would much rather abuse my debit card with online shopping than my liver. Cutting out the drink leaves plenty of money for that too! Good luck :)

  8. Pampered Prince
    August 28, 2012

    Oh dear but I can relate to this! I always seem to be the one who gets far too drunk & seemingly make a fool of myself. I have also had to be put to bed by workmates (admittedly not my boss lol) because I was too drunk to get home….this was at 7pm! The shame!

    I’m now 30 & although I’ve managed to have a few nights where I’m not a complete disgrace, I still worry it could happen again some time soon. I’ve definitely found I need to avoid beer & wine in public situations. They are just for home now. I seem to stay a bit more levelled on G&T but there is always the moment where I think “I’m fine, I could just have a little more”…..unfortunately I go from sober to plastered, with no warning in the middle. It is embarrassing though, especially when bar staff are refusing to serve you at 8pm while everyone else is just getting started lol

  9. daisychain
    August 28, 2012

    I used to be a big, big drinker to the point where I was almost dependent on it. I stopped cold turkey when I was 19 and only started again on my 24th Birthday last year…now I will enjoy the occasional G&T socially, but mostly don’t drink and have just as much fun without!

  10. The Style Box
    August 28, 2012

    I’m a tee-total. I have been for about 5 years now. There was no real reason for me giving up alcohol, no life changing epiphany or anything, I just realised that I didn’t like it and that I’d rather spend my money on other things. I never went to uni and neither did any of my close friends so none of us ever really had that mentality. I don’t really enjoy drinking, I don’t like the taste and I hate the guilty feeling of wasting the whole next day in bed, plus I tend to just fall asleep when I get drunk. I’ve also been married for 5 years now to a husband who very much enjoys a drink, and one of us has to be able to drive, so why not me.

    Who knows? Maybe I’ll have a mid-life crisis when I turn 35 and will start partying and going to nightclubs, but I doubt it. Give me a cup of tea and a chocolate digestive any day.

    I hope your responsible drinking plan goes well :)


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This entry was posted on August 27, 2012 by in Lifestyle and tagged , , .


  • Word of the day! 'Perlenspiel', German, literally 'the play of (wine) bubbles (in the wine glass)'. 13 hours ago

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