AuthorFarsad, Negin

I'm one of those people who hardly ever drinks alcohol. I've probably had one glass of wine in the last three months. When I'm offered a drink at a bar or a party, I usually just say, "No, thanks, I don't drink."

Whenever I don't say "I don't drink" and just say "No, thanks," there are a lot of follow-up questions, like "Will you have a drink later?" or "Did you just have a drink?" or "Are you pregnant?" People have a lot of surprising logistical and procreative queries when you refuse a drink. So saying "I don't drink" just clarifies the whole thing, right?

Actually, what it usually does is prompt other kinds of questions that people are less comfortable asking. They may hesitantly say, "Oh, right, because you're Muslim?" (No, I don't drink because I get headaches that sometimes trigger migraines. Maybe Allah just didn't want people to get migraines?)

The most common misunderstanding is that people think I'm a recovering alcoholic. Their faces immediately become ashen because they assume I'm in Alcoholics Anonymous. That I hit rock bottom real hard, lost my job and my family, and probably sold my body to get drugs, and when that didn't work, killed a guy and this is the first bar I've come to since I've been released from prison.

This is the kind of backstory that people often create in their minds and it makes them uncomfortable. So then I have to say something like, "I used to drink all the time. I was responsibly drunk three or four days a week and you would have felt really comfortable around me and the amount of appropriate drinking I did!"

Because that's what people want. They want you to drink a lot, without it ruining your life.

Recently, I was at a show with a two-drink minimum with my husband, who also doesn't drink (because he runs an al Qaeda sleeper cell, naturally). When the waitress came around for our order, I asked for a round of chamomiles for the table. But she was really pushing the cocktails. I told her, "Sorry, we don't drink because of headaches." She said, "That's OK, you don't have to explain" and then looked away to hide her pity. Again, she acted like migraines were a cover story for alcoholism.

Generationally, studies show the nonconsumption of alcohol is becoming more and more accepted. Gen Z doesn't drink as much as older millennials and Gen X did. Apparently, they like a...

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