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The Choice Not To Drink Is My Own, Stop Giving Me Crap About It, Okay?

Just because I choose a green smoothie over a mojito or a glass of dom pérignon any day doesn't make me a spoilsport.

In Chinese culture – and in many other Asian cultures – drinking is associated with the concept of face. If someone, especially someone of seniority offers you a drink, tradition and culture dictate that you take the drink. Declining it, though not unheard of, would sometimes be considered rude. With Chinese New Year and all the relevant feasting in full swing, drinks in the form of everything from beer to sake to wine come along with it. Yet, in an age of barre, pilates, clean eating and veganism, I still find myself having to explain why I decline a glass or a pint beyond the simple “I don’t drink.”

Look, no judgment on anyone who has ever asked out of genuine curiosity. It is when I have to over-explain myself or getting called a spoilsport that I am, frankly, a little sick off. And no, it’s not because I haven’t had “the really good drinks” or drank with “the right group of people”.

I have drank. There is an incident of an overly loud, headache-infused conversation with a cab driver that I don’t remember much of. There is another spent emptying the contents of my gut over the toilet along with some Vodka Redbull. Granted, these hardly qualify as dramatic alcohol stories, but these were enough for me. In fact, after that gut-spilling episode, I decided that alcohol just wasn’t my thing. Some people just don’t have a thing for things and this is mine. Or rather, it isn’t.

For one, I can’t handle it. I turn beet-red in a minute and it is extremely embarrassing. Half a glass of champagne is enough to send my pulse to my ears. A full glass, if unaccompanied by food, will knock me out if I’m sitting on a cushy chair. For two, it makes me extremely uncomfortable. For some, the splitting headache only comes in the morning. Mine comes even before dessert arrives. I also refer back to the toilet incident. Why would I deliberately want to put myself and body through that?

Of course, the reasons reach further. To cut the long story short, I don’t take good health for granted and I go to good lengths to not jeopardise it. The verdict of alcohol on health swings back and forth, but since I already don’t like it, I cut it out.

I do sip from time to time and when I say sip, I really do mean just to taste. Most times out of curiosity, other times because I feel that tiny, nagging pressure to do so when everyone else is, which brings me to my point: my choice not to drink is my own. I don’t appreciate being called “weak” or a “spoilsport” just because I refuse to down a glass. You have your fun, this is my business.

Again, no judgement if you enjoy a tipple or two or three. It’s your personal choice, as it is mine not to. Just cut a little slack on my people, yeah? Plus, we automatically become the designated babysitter and those are always good to have around, whether to drive, to put people into cabs or getting them to walk in a straight line. We’re a riot.

What To Read Next: What Happened When I Switched Out Coffee For Matcha, A Definitive List of Our Favourite Restaurants in Singapore and What Happened When I Committed To Drinking More Water | Cover Collage: YOYOKULALA.com

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