Mormonfolk had a discussion recently on BCC about whether it was kosher (in the Mormon sense–hm, what would be a good Mormon word for “kosher”?  note to self:  think on that later, get back to the blog now) to have alcohol served in your home at a holiday party or in some other entertaining scenario.  Actually, the specific question was what you would do if a co-worker, knowing there would be no alcohol served at your party, asked you if it would be okay to bring his own adult beverages.  Last I checked, the responses were about 50-50, Cool vs. Not Cool.  Some said, “Of course I would have alcohol for my guests who want to enjoy it.  It’s only what a gracious host would do.”  And others said, “My house, my rules.”  Do you want to know what I said?  Of course you do, or you wouldn’t be reading!  My response was “Why would I have alcohol in my home when I don’t drink alcohol?”  I mean, if people want to be drinking alcohol that badly, I assume they would be someplace-not-the-Mormon’s-house.  I don’t think of it as “my house, my rules.”  I think of it as…”I don’t drink alcoholic beverages and never have drunk alcoholic beverages, and therefore I don’t think of alcoholic beverages as being an essential component of a holiday party or other entertaining scenario, and therefore if I am forced to think about it, I have to come down on the side of ‘If my company is so insufficient for these revelers’ needs, why would they want to come to my party in the first place?’  Harumph!”  (I threw that “Harumph!” in just for you, sis.)

I can’t say that I’ve hosted a lot of parties in my day, though.  Those parties that I have hosted have tended to be largely Mormon affairs because, well, I know a lot of Mormons.  I’m forced to interact with Mormons, so they tend to be the people I get to know.  I don’t have nearly as much occasion to interact with regular old people to the same extent, and therefore my circle of non-Mormon friends and acquaintances is limited to Sugar Daddy’s co-workers, parents of my kids’ friends, the next-door neighbors, and people I knew in high school and college.  (I suppose I also have non-Mormon friends in my tap class, but I haven’t invited any of them to parties yet.  Maybe I should.  Note to self.)  Anyway, I’ve never hosted some big holiday gala whereunto I would be inviting a significant number of potential social-drinkers.  The last big party we threw was for Mister Bubby’s baptism, and there were exactly four not-Mormons there, only two of whom were of legal drinking age, and I think they would have felt uncomfortable if I had offered them beer just to make them feel more comfortable.  And the more I think about it, the more I think I would feel uncomfortable having beer and wine in my house when beer and wine are taboo for everyone who lives in my house.  I can’t explain why.  I just would.

Let me tell you the extent of my experience with drinking and parties.

I remember going to my first (and last) college party.  It was the week before school started, and I was a freshman, and hardly any students had arrived yet.  Some townies were hosting a party, and someone invited my roommate and me to go, and me being away from home and uncharacteristically not feeling like being alone said, “Sure, I’ll go a party”–not realizing that there would be nothing for a Mormon girl to do at a party hosted by townies for college students.  And truly, there was nothing for me to do.  It was the most miserable, most boring two hours of my life, and you must remember that I had been going to church every week for twenty years, so I knew what boring was.  There was no food.  There was no one (sober) to talk to.  There was no television.  A couple people might have been playing Nintendo in the basement.  There was no fussball, but even if there were, I didn’t play fussball, so that would have been a dead end anyway.  But I don’t know.  I was pretty desperate, so I might have taken it up, but like I said, that’s neither here nor there.  I suppose if I’d wanted to make out with somebody, I could have gotten lucky–but I don’t think that thought ever crossed my mind.  Also, as the only sober person, I felt pretty invisible.  Actually, I eventually found another sober person; he was the designated driver and he drove me and some other (drunk) people back to the college.  (My roommate stayed and got plastered and threw up.)  So that was an experience.  I vividly recall thinking, “I totally understand why people drink at parties even if they might not particularly want to.  Because this is freaking depressing.”

Obviously, I have since been to more interesting parties that just happened to have alcohol at them, rather than parties that existed solely for the purpose of alcohol consumption.  And those parties didn’t depress me.  Nor did I notice anyone getting drunk at them.  But those parties also had plenty of food and sober-enough-to-talk-to people.  To me that is what’s essential to a party.  Of course I can see why others think differently.  Lots of people enjoy drinking wine (or whatever), not to get drunk but to, you know, relax and loosen up or whatever.  I guess for a lot of folks, having a couple drinks makes them more sociable.  I’ve never had a couple drinks, so I don’t know for sure, but knowing the extent of my social anxiety versus my tolerance for alcohol, I reckon that there is a very fine line between what would make me more sociable and what would make me fall asleep.

When I was eighteen my office had a little cake-eating party for a co-worker whose birthday it was, and the cake was a rum cake.  So I had this little sliver of cake soaked in rum, and I thought it was, eh, whatever.  Then I spent the next few hours feeling a tad…off.  I kept thinking, “What on earth is the matter with me today?” and then I realized it must have been the rum cake.  Maybe I ate it on an empty stomach.  (The idea of me having an empty stomach is somewhat laughable these days, but when I was eighteen, ‘twould not have been that unusual.)  Anyway, I didn’t enjoy the experience.  Not only was the cake not very good, but I didn’t like this “off” feeling.  I guess you could call it a “buzz.”  It was very annoying.  Perhaps I would have felt differently about it if I had been in a social situation instead of at work, but then again, if I’d not been at work, I would have been sorely tempted to go to sleep.  The sleep would have been nice for me, but I doubt anyone else would have found me more sociable.

Anyway, I like to know what I’m thinking and feel what I’m feeling.  Well, listen to me.  I opted against anesthesia during childbirth, so why would I enjoy a good buzz?  It just doesn’t stand to reason.

(Look, I know there are plenty of folks who enjoy the occasional drink as well as the occasional natural birth, so don’t hassle me here.  Lighten up.  Maybe you should have a couple drinks before you read my blog.  Or don’t drink.  Whatever’s preventing you from taking a joke, remedy it.)

So here’s the thing.  I don’t connect drinking with anything in my life, either for good or ill, because I don’t drink.  Therefore, I don’t connect it with the ability to enjoy oneself at a party.  It just wouldn’t occur to me that a lack of alcoholic beverage would correlate to a lack of social enjoyment because my brain just doesn’t work that way.  To me, any situation which proffers the opportunity for conversation with people not my children (no offense to them) is a party.  And if you throw in food, ta da!  You have achieved Super-Party.  So the standards are low, I’ll admit.  But that’s how my brain works.  If you came up to me and said, “Um, would it be okay if I brought my own beer/wine/Mike’s Hard Lemonade/gin/vodka/whiskey/etc. to the party, since you won’t be serving any?” I would be taken totally off guard and think it was a weird thing to ask.  And I would probably end up saying, “Um…really?  No.  Not really, no.”  And then our friendship might become strained, and that would be uncomfortable too.  But truth be told, I’d rather you just didn’t come than come and feel like you were being deprived of an essential partying factor.  That would be uncomfortable for me, too.

So now I sincerely and with some trepidation ask the following question:  Is it normal behavior to bring your own alcohol to a party where you know alcohol isn’t going to be served because your host doesn’t drink alcohol?  Because to me that seems a little weird.  I don’t bring my own roast beef to my vegan friend’s dinner party, even though she’s perfectly fine with me consuming meat in front of her.  Am I remiss in my social propriety?  Discuss.

And here’s a poll.  (Stupid PollDaddy isn’t working.  Harumph!)

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