It took until the middle of my junior year of college, but I finally went to my first frat party. Well, a fraternity’s semi-formal, anyway.
It’s not that I haven’t been invited to these parties before. I nearly went to one during the first few weeks of freshman year, but decided last minute not to go when I realized that my denim mini skirt was about three inches longer than anything the other girls were wearing, and that, considering drinking really wasn’t my thing, I probably wouldn’t be comfortable.
Yeah, I know. I’m from a city that has more bars than traffic lights and go to a school that was ranked number one on Playboy’s list of top party schools, yet I don’t drink. Or party – in the traditional sense, anyway.
I’m not opposed to drinking, I just never really saw the point and never liked the taste. Apparently, that’s not the point either, but I digress. I’ve been around friends drinking and had just as much fun without the liquor as they seem to be having with it. Hell, sometimes I even end up acting a bit crazier than they do. Like last year’s end-of-the-semester/good-bye party for a friend of mine who was studying abroad in the spring, where I had cranberry juice instead of sharing the wine and vodka. By the end of the night, I’d joined in the crazy dancing, given my friend (who’s gay) a lap dance, and was cuddling with said friend on his roommate’s bed. I also go out dancing most weekends and after about three hours of shaking my bon bon, the only drink I want is a tall glass of water.
But, like I said, I’m not opposed to it; I’ve tried it a few times, usually with the same results. It often just tastes like really bad medicine to me and I can’t see why I should choose that over my favorite fruit juice or water. I can have just as much fun as anyone else without the booze, and, as I like to remind them all later on, I remember everything the next day.
With some friends, this isn’t a problem. We can hang out with some people drinking, some not, and no one will care; everyone has a good time, and that’s all that matters. Others are apprehensive about drinking around me; they almost seem to think that I won’t approve of their choice to “indulge” (as my semi-formal date put it). The worst, though, are the people who give me a hard time.
“What do you mean you don’t drink?”
“You just haven’t had the good stuff. Try (insert drink here).”
“Just wait, one of these days we’ll get you drunk.”
And when I started at UM, I received countless renditions of: “So, are you a raging alcoholic yet?”
Even my “sober buddies” from high school eventually started drinking and now go on (and on and on) about how lame my life and weekends are because I don’t get drunk, and all the fun I’m missing out on as a result.
The worst is that I’ve been dealing with this since the first time in high school (or maybe middle school, as sad as that is) that I turned down a drink. People never seem take no for an answer, no matter how polite or forceful I may be, or how many times I say it. And my refusing the drink is always some sort of personality flaw, a problem with me that they need to fix. I need to “loosen up,” “give it a try,” “have fun,” “just cut loose and get totally sh*tfaced.”
I really don’t understand why my deciding not to drink is viewed as this horrible thing. It’s not like I sit around and refuse to participate in anything my friends are doing just because I’m sober; when I’m around and friends are drinking, I’m fine. Actually, I’m more than fine. I’m fun! But while some friends have learned to accept that, others consistently are trying to “fix” my “problem.” Because, obviously, I’m atypical for a college student, and being so is this horrible thing that needs to be corrected.
But really, it’s unfair. Do I go around telling people to stop drinking? Or pulling away their cups? No. I laugh, I dance, I hang out and have a good time. In fact, the only times I’ve every done that is when people needed it (usually when they reach depressed drunk/projectile vomiting/their fifth drink on a school night). Otherwise, I have my cranberry juice, clink glasses, and have a good time.
And maybe take a few pictures.