An acquired taste


Over the course of my life, many times by many people I have been told “I would love to see you drunk!”

We’ll let pass an analysis of the characteristics in either me or them that would create such a statement and move to the nature of the statement itself. People didn’t wish to see me drunk because I could hold my liquor well; the fact was I couldn’t hold my liquor at all. Or drink it. Or even smell it. And I think, for me, that’s where it all starts.

To this day, I have a real problem taking cough medicine. Bad enough its taste makes me gag, but the smell is just horrible. I actually hold my nose when I drink the stuff. Thank goodness I don’t get sick very often!

For me, alcohol is the same way. It just smells bad. Bad as in “I don’t want to drink that!” Who cares what “benefits” you get from the stuff (and those are debatable), my question was always, “Why?”

Not that I haven’t tried various forms of alcoholic beverages. From wine to beer to liquor, though, none of the stuff has any appeal to me in either aroma or flavor. And I’ve had plenty of people offer up suggestions of drinks “that don’t even taste like a drink”. Which is probably true, if you’re used to drinking.

When I was in college, I lived off-campus for a while with two friends (the only way I could afford to leave off-campus). One of them had a father who owned a liquor store in New York (they lived in Jersey and I stayed with them one weekend and got to see NY City, including his Dad’s store). My roommate was convinced he could mix a drink for me that I would like. He spent a good deal of our time together coming up with a variety of concoctions, but I could (literally, in this case) smell the drink coming.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely fine with my non-alcoholic ways. I’ve never felt the slightest pressure to “socially” drink and am well past feeling awkward at not being able to select a wine for my date. My friends have grown comfortable with my drinking choices as well, which means they know to bring their own beer to my barbecues.

Not drinking has led to some interesting times over the years. In college, of course, I was the “designated driver”, even when we weren’t driving. This meant it was my job to drag the soggy butts of my buddies out of whatever place we were in and point them in the direction of the dorms. How did they manage to get alcohol while still under 21? Sh’yeah, like that’s tough.

I’ve heard and (unfortunately) seen people worshipping the “porcelain goddess” after a particularly rough night. I’ve had the pleasure of tying the shoes together of one of the aforementioned roommates and watch with amusement at the befuddled look when his feet didn’t seem to work right, ultimately just sitting back down and conking out on the couch, shoes still tied together.

My friends have enjoyed occasionally ragging me about how I needed to watch it after asking for my second Coca-Cola. They particularly liked trying to get me to buy a round when they were drinking alcohol and I was still nursing my first Coke. And there was the time they asked me to order milk from the waitress at a particularly trendy bar. The girl looked at me a moment after the order, then shrugged. It was actually a fine glass of cold and crisp whole milk. She laughed as I “knocked it back” and was pleased even more by my tip.

Almost universally, everyone tells me you get used to the taste of . Once again, my question is “Why?” If it were food, people would just eat something else. I don’t need alcohol to have fun, I don’t need it to relax and I certainly don’t need it to quench my thirst, so I’m okay letting most everyone else enjoy the stuff. I’ll stick with my Coke and, if I want to get really crazy, I can always order another glass of whole milk.

Although, with me drinking mostly low fat milk nowadays, forget about liquor, I might not be able to hold my milk!

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