Getting coffee on the first date? The two of you are likely to talk about your jobs, your pets, and your favorite bands that are on tour. Going for drinks on the first date? Three mojitos in and you'll end up meeting their dog while you stumble into their apartment for the first time, maybe in search of a one night stand.. It’s just science. (NOTE: This is not real science.)
Liquid courage is what adults use to break the ice or get a boost of confidence in any given situation. At a party with people you don’t know? Shots. Ready to text your ex? One bottle of wine. Are you a white male in college? White Claws. Are you insane? Four Loko. At a bar on a first date? Cocktail. Out with the girls? Anything. You’re going to drink anything. Alcohol can make us feel more fun, sexier, self-assured, or just elevate our sadness when we listen to Frank Ocean at three AM. But do we really need it as much as we sometimes think we do?
I get it. Thinking that we have too much drinking in our culture isn’t a popular, cool or exciting opinion to have. But take a moment to reflect on how much drinking is ingrained into us from a young age. As a teenager, alcohol is one of the taboo things you want to try just to know what it’s like, have fun with your peers at a party, or drink because you think it’s cool. All the hype for alcohol results in paying hundreds of dollars for fake IDs, convincing your older brother’s friend to go to the liquor store for you and your friends, and looking stupid when you throw up for the first time because you have no idea what a normal amount of tequila might look like. After the age of 21, the reliance on alcohol to get loose and relaxed is extremely high. People drink on airplanes, have glasses of wine with their dinner, or a nightcap before going to sleep. You don’t need whiskey before bed. Have some milk and cookies and switch it up. Mr. and Mrs. Claus would be proud!
There’s no good reason to always rely on alcohol, and you would be surprised to find out that you’re just as fun and interesting when you’re sober you. Occasional drinking can be lovely - your head is swimming when you’re tipsy and feeling happy, you feel more connected with the people around you, and it can heighten your senses when you’re next to someone you feel an attraction to. No judgement here, just something to think about. Maybe we don’t need to drink as often as we do to feel more positive or more sure of ourselves in group settings or to entertain ourselves when we’re bored. Or to hide ourselves from ourselves. Or not face the reality of our interpersonal relationships. Or to forget about what’s happening in our country and the world around us. I know how enticing the feeling is to just numb yourself, but fuck it. Face your fears. You may think you need a veil of drinking to protect you from the things that hurt you, but the only way to ever attempt overcoming any of it is by dealing with it head on. No distractions, no pretending to be someone else under a clouded and boozy judgement.
Liquid courage comes in clutch, especially for those of us who might every so often need a little something to grow some balls and do things we might normally be too afraid to do. It’s certainly enjoyable, and I look forward to laughing at over-dramatic beer ads for the rest of my life. However, I encourage you, better yet, dare you, to take a month or more of your life and eliminate alcohol from it completely as an experiment. I’m telling you, it really stirs things up. Can you bring yourself to be audacious without alcohol? Can you be reckless and have fun and be your lunatic self while you’re sober? Let me know. We can go to a bar and drink orange juice together, and then dance on the sidewalk and yell at the sky! Nearby pedestrians might think we’re drunk anyway, but to hell with them. We’re high off life, baby!