I was reading advice to a woman getting married (on the open weekend thread on Ask A Manager) on how she could keep the costs of the wedding down. Putting aside the fact that I don’t get weddings, no, wait. Let me briefly explain what I mean. I understand the desire to bond and to declare that bond to the world (in theory. I actually don’t understand that, either, but that’s just me. I know it’s me), but I do not understand the stressing over it for a year ahead of time. Well, I understand from a psychological standpoint. It’s what the wedding represents, the start of a new life together, yadda yadda. It’s also the Wedding Industry Complex that has a vested interest in making sure brides (and let’s be clear, it’s aimed at the women) feel inadequate unless they buy all the latest and the greatest useless wedding shit.
Anyway, one gem of advice was, “Booze, food, and music. That’s all guests care about.” While this may be true for most people, it’s not for me. Or rather, let’s break it down word by word. Music is nice, but it’s background for me. Food is important, but it’s difficult to find something to feed me. Dairy free is easy to find. Gluten free, also easy to find. gluten free, dairy free? Yeah, no. As for booze, I don’t drink. At all. It was just a throwaway line on the thread, but it really struck me because I’m tired of being a freak.
I feel weird for mentioning to people that I have dietary restrictions, like I need to apologize for being so difficult. I don’t make a fuss when there’s no food I can eat, and I make sure to bring Kind bars when I’m going to be stuck somewhere that may not be able to feed me.
Side note: I am incredibly lucky for two reasons. One, I don’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from. I can pay for meal delivery if I want or get takeout every day if I so choose. I know this is a privilege, and I don’t take it for granted. The second thing is that there are so many tasty substitutes these days that didn’t exist when I first tried going gluten free, dairy free, sugar free two decades ago. Back then, all the substitutes are made of tapioca and arrowroot. Now, they can be made of anything and everything. There’s a hamburger bun substitute made by Canyon Bakehouse that is fucking fantastic and is my current obsession.
Side note to the side note: Went out with my brother and my nephews for Chinese buffet last night (of course), and I like to joke that when I go out to eat I look like half-vegetarian and half-keto/Atkins. The two things I know I can eat without much problem–veggies and meat. I did eat some octopus that had some kind of breading on it, though. That was a mistake. Since I’ve come home from Philly, my digestive system has been even shittier than usual–no pun intended. I had a gluten-free/dairy-free burrito that I’ve had before, and I spent the next hour in the bathroom. Then on and off for the rest of the night. Was it the burrito? Hell if I know.
My system has been mad at me for the last few days, and I am not eating anything unusual. This is one reason I like eating at home as well. I can control what I eat, and I have two toilets nearby if I need them. And I’ve needed them quite often in the few days.
It’s alienating, tbh. The booze thing I could not care less about it. I’ve accepted that it puts me on the outside, and I have no issue with it. I have a lot of issues with the drinking culture, but that’s nothing to me personally. I read threads on AAM about worrying at work about not drinking, and it does two things. One, make me glad I don’t work a nine-to-five, and two, reinforce my belief that some people can be so damn pushy about drinking. Too many people counseled holding a ‘mocktail’ or getting the bartender to get creative with a fake drink. Then, there’s the classic Coke/Diet Coke because you can pretend it has rum in.
Can we talk? There should be no reason on earth that a grown-ass adult can’t say they don’t drink. No reason given; no excuse needed. The number of people who said it shouldn’t be something that needed to be hidden, but they did it, anyway, was just depressing. There should be absolutely no blow-back to smiling and saying, “No, thanks!”, but there is, apparently. On one thread, someone mentioned that he didn’t trust people who didn’t drink. Another ranted about nondrinkers and why did they have to be catered to, anyway? There were several people who said it’s fine if you don’t drink as long as you don’t judge drinkers. To wit: Don’t mention drinking too much, driving after drinking, etc. There were some who downplayed drinking after driving because blah, blah, blah.
It was fascinating to read because it all came from the viewpoint that drinking is normal and non-drinking is not. I know that’s part of our culture, but it’s alienating. Also, those saying not to judge drinkers? Well, there was judgement on their side as well. They didn’t see it that way, of course, because the majority rarely does.
Sometimes, I wish I weren’t a freak. I wish I could be like other people within one standard deviation, but that’s not who I am. I don’t drink, am allergic to alcohol, don’t like drinking, and I think people vastly underestimate how much it affects them when they do imbibe. Being the only sober person at a party is no fun, but it’s hard to tell people how stupid they are when they’re drunk. Not even drunk, but some people are annoying as fuck when they’re tipsy. It’s not ok to say that, though. You can, however, tell someone who doesn’t drink that they’re uptight or a stick-in-the-mud for not drinking, though. Then there are others who think you’re judging them for drinking if you don’t.
I find that to be true whenever you go against the majority in general. When I was young and dumb enough to believe my reproductive choices didn’t affect anyone but me, I would tell anyone who asked that I didn’t want children. I got condescension; I got earnest pleas to change my mind; I got people not believing me. The weirdest response, however, was the anger I faced. Some people got pissed and told me that I must think they were stupid to have children. Um, no. I didn’t think about you or your children at all.
One of the hardest things for those in the majority to realize is that those of us in the minority are not doing the things we do AT you. I am not bisexual, unmarried, child-free, alcohol-free, drug-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, and whatever else at anyone else; I simply am.
The older I get, the more conflicted I become. On the one hand, fuck the majority. On the other, it gets lonely. I feel like a freak enough as it is. I don’t know who my people are, and I doubt they actually exist. Maybe individuals, but not any groups. It’s one reason I am such a loner.