Someone recently asked me, “Have you ever offered to be the sober driver?” This wasn’t a question that he asked me in solidarity because he is also rarely the designated driver; he asked me in a mean-spirited, demeaning, “you’re a dick” kind of way.
My answer? “No, dealing with drunk people is awful.” It’s not that I don’t care about my friends and their wellbeing. Like, have I ever taken a late-night call to help a friend out? Of course. Have I ever lost my momentum at a party and been fine to drive? Yeah, many times. Am I opposed to driving some friends if I have some “no hangover allowed” commitment the next day? Not at all.
But, at the end of the day, I try to get in and out of parties as efficiently as possible when I know I’m going to be the only sober person there. The issues that go along with it simply aren’t worth my time of day. Why’s that?
1. Everyone wonders why you aren’t drinking.
Is he a recovering alcoholic? Is he on parole? I wonder if he got a DUI? Is he just lame as fuck? Is he just creeping on drunk chicks? Maybe he’s just straight edge?
People don’t fucking hold back. “What’s up, man? Why aren’t you drinking? You on your period or something?” The most frustrating part of responding to these people is that no reason you give is good enough for anyone unless you tell them you’re on SEAL Team Six and you’re killing Kim Jong-un the next day, and even that won’t work because everyone’s going to try to force-feed you booze so they can say, “I drank with the guy who killed Kim Jong-un.”
2. You don’t know what to do with your hands.
You have to do something with your hands. If you sit with your arms crossed, you’re just putting out a severe “wet blanket” vibe. Hands in your pockets? You might as well toss some headphones on and listen to “Dancing With Myself” on repeat. Think you can coast by just holding a beer and not drinking it? Yeah, that works until someone sees your full, warm beer and makes some douchebag comment like, “What, you waiting for that thing to ferment more?” It’s an uphill battle no matter how you slice it.
3. People think you’re pregnant.
If I see a girl not drinking at a party, I’m going to think she’s pregnant until I see a negative pee stick. It’s just how I operate. Twice in the past year, I’ve caught wind of a girl being outed as pregnant for not drinking in party situations.
At a bar last winter, I witnessed a husband trying to secretly order “apple juice that looks like wine” for his stealthily pregnant wife. First of all, try to be more of a doorknob, dude. Apple juice? Really? Second of all, just make up an excuse for her rather than trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. You’re not David Blaine. Just tell everyone that she’s got a big presentation tomorrow at work.
Ever since then, it’s just Red Flag City when I see a girl not drinking. It’s cut and dry at this point.
4. Listening to drunk conversations is AWFUL.
They’re loud. They’re overboard. They’re slurred. They’re one person talking over another. And the worst part?
Everyone. Just. Fucking. Repeats. Themselves.
After making some drunken grandiose plan, the conversation just immediately spirals into, “No, but seriously, we should do that!” Just this last New Year’s Day, I drunkenly committed to dog sitting for two weeks and joining a ski league. For at least twenty minutes after, all I did was talk about how “exciting” and “fun” and “awesome” it would be until my sober driver said, “Shuttttttt uppppppp. You’re just repeating yourself.”
Oh, and why was she our sober driver? Obviously pregnant.
5. “Hey, can I get a ride?”
Just because I’m not drinking, it doesn’t mean I’m a fucking Uber, bro. Why on earth would I want to run a mobile car bar for you? Like, yeah, I don’t want you to get a DUI, but still. Figure it out. When I don’t drink, I go to bed about five hours earlier than when I do drink, on average. This means I’m not going to stay until last call or until the party’s host wants to go to bed. I’m clearly at this party just to save face and do some personal PR for myself. I’m not interested in getting lost while driving you home because you’re too drunk to remember your lefts and rights.
In order to combat the plague of being sober at a party, someone once gave me a pro tip on how to crush a cocktail party with no hangover: “You immediately slam two martinis when you get to the party and then coast through drinking soda waters for the rest of the night.” While this isn’t exactly staying sober at a party, it’s better than standing there looking like a fucking square..
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