I do understand why some people might choice not to drink, sort of. The hangovers, the drunken remorse, the need for extensive forensic partying - none of these things are incredibly desirable. But how, how can somebody turn their back on all that booze has to offer? These are the thoughts that keep me up at night.
Let's start with its social lubricant qualities, perhaps better described as some dutch courage for the partying set. How can somebody attend, for instance, a party where they don't know anyone well and do so sober? That's a genuine question. I salute those who can do it because they have at least three and possible seven more balls than me but I couldn't do it. At least not all the time. I'm not a social butterfly, I don't really enjoy meeting strangers (as an aside to self: yeah nice career choice then, you muppet) and if I'm brutally honest the only way I can really consider putting myself in that sort of situation is to get boozed and let that fourth glass of wine do the schmoozing for me. Faced with the prospect of going out with just my sober wit to rely on I'd curl up on the couch with the March Sisters (yes that's a Laurie shout-out, Linds, hope you enjoy it) every time.
Meanwhile booze-free I'd like to know how anyone plans to repopulate the earth. Oh, okay that sounds really bad so let me assure you I don't require a cheeky quart before hopping into bed. What I mean is how the hell do sober people take that first step from 'eh I quite fancy you' towards domestic bliss? Again that sounds sort of bad but, really, if you take that first drunken snog/shag out of the equation how do these things actually get achieved? How else does one buoy up the courage to send lascivious texts to the object of one's affection, or slur 'your buttocks look like two furry peaches in a bag' into anyone's ear? Honestly.
It may or may not have been Bertrand Russell who called drunkenness a temporary suicide, I'm terrible with quotations, but whoever it was I think he had a fair point. Depressive drinking, or drinking to escape oneself isn't one of those things it's quite right to talk up but it does have its good points. Namely, it does achieve what it promises and gives the boobs among us a little respite from a sober life of boobery. Let's illustrate with a story shall we? Years and years ago, for instance, I was about to go out one night and waiting for a friend to pick me up on the way when I learned that the then object of my affection (later to become Just Andy) wasn't going to be at this party, as I had expected him to be. Being a young slip of a thing and a bit prone to histrionics at the best of times I decided this was a tragedy and proceeded to drink myself into the floor - almost literally as Alley Cat can attest if she still recalls watching me perform gravel angels in a petrol station car park. That night and the hangover that followed were not pretty but I maintain they were preferable to being alone with being miserable, and once the worst of it started my mind was actually quite preoccupied from all thoughts of boys.
And finally, there is the simple pleasure of a crisp, cool drink on a warm day or a cold night and the warmth in one's belly it provides. It's not drunkenly cracking onto someone, texting a (soon to be former) friend to tell them they have a head like a toby jug, vomiting into a plastic bag held by a friend (yeah thanks again for that) but it's just about the best reason to drink that there is. Bottoms up.