Social mandate?

My sister was telling me yesterday about this girl her age who was going around school gossipping about how she got “sooooo drunk” last weekend and was basically showing off to all her friends. Lily is pretty sure that it was the first time that this girl got drunk. What this girl is doing, at the age of 15, is furthering what I call a social mandate.

ALCOHOL IS NOT A NECESSARY PART OF A PERSON’S LIFE. It might sound weird to you, but it is not. Take a look at this comic. The person in the passenger’s seat isn’t Conrad. It’s EVERYONE. It’s fucking EVERYONE, INCLUDING YOU. What is Conrad, as a representation of EVERYONE, doing in this comic? He is also furthering a social mandate, which states that you must drink to be social. He’s saying, you can’t drop your boundaries or get rid of responsibility or enjoy life without alcohol. If you can’t, then why do I do it all the time?

Fine, I’m condescending and taking a holier-than-thou position. Great. Let’s start off by saying that I KNOW ABOUT ALCOHOL and I have GOTTEN DRUNK BEFORE. Yes, it made me feel “loose”-er and did everything that alcohol is supposed to do. Was it a necessary element in socializing with those around me? I would have even said “no” if you came up to me at the time(s) and asked me.

But here come more people that are like “oh hey, party time, let’s find someone to get us alcohol.” I’ve been a chauffeur many a time in the past, driving my friends around to make use of someone who is of drinking age. Okay maybe the drinking-age people don’t really mind enabling people my age – I don’t care about the legality, I think a “drinking age” is a dumb rule in a few respects – but still, I can barely stand the fact that people are being used just to gain access to alcohol so the real fun can begin. “We GOTTA get drunk before we can socialize!”

WHO SAYS? The people around you say. Everyone’s saying the same thing. Everyone else is drunk, so you’ve got to get drunk to have fun. By thinking this, YOU’RE the one who is furthering this social mandate. What’s worse, alcohol has to be an integral part of courtship in our society – I mean, it HAS to be – because if you’re not drunk and the other person is, it’s rape. You definitely don’t want that to happen, so you HAVE to get drunk so the feeling is mutual. Why don’t more people see something wrong with this?

I hope this gives enough reason why I don’t drink for fun and why you don’t have to either. Besides, most of that shit tastes awful.

Before you say “wow Jeffrey I really respect you, you can handle so much, etc. etc.” please look at this comic again. I’ve heard it. It doesn’t mean anything. If you really respected me and saw my viewpoint then maybe you’d try to change something about yourself.

38 thoughts on “Social mandate?”

  1. I’m on my way to work, so I gotta make this short for now…
    It’s not about what alcohol is supposed to do to you.  It’s about what you do under influence of alcohol.  Drinking before doesn’t necessarily mean, in that sense, that you have explored all the possibilities of what you can do with alcohol.  You have done whatever you chose to do with alcohol, and you can’t project your own way to other people simply because “you’ve done it before” — chances are, it is not true.
    I can say this because I come from a country with a different drinking culture.  Does alcohol affect me differently because my body is in the geographic region of South Korea?  Nope.  It’s what people do with the alcohol, not the other way around.

    1. The only reason I mentioned that I did it before was just so people weren’t quick to judge. In all honesty, it doesn’t matter – we’re not talking about specifics here, we’re talking about a general topic.

      1. So what you want is just that people stop urging you, either explicitly or implicitly (through a means of peer pressure), to drink for social purposes, right?
        Explicit urging is one thing.  People shouldn’t do that once you make it clear that you don’t drink.
        Peer pressure is another thing.  Birds of a feather flock together; we can’t really deny that fact.  If you want to avoid drinking yet still want to partake in a social group (like your friends), you have to find a way to do so (wisdom helps here); you can’t just scream and shout I don’t share what matters to you guys—that is, alcohol—but I still want to be part of your social circle.  Of course, your drinker friends could, out of respect for you, also acknowledge and try on their own to accomodate you at the same time.  What I’m emphasizing here is that it’s a two-way effort.
        Especially when it’s about your friends.  They’re your friends for other good reasons, and specifics like drinking habits shouldn’t primarily govern your friendship.  You talk about respect.  The thing is, it’s a mutual respect between you and them.  You don’t drink, so they respect that and they don’t force you to drink, making fun of you for not drinking, and so on.  But if they have to stop drinking too because their drinking creates an awkward atmosphere for you to join them…  Now that’s way more to ask them than just not asking you to drink.  Basically what you’re doing is to invalidate a part of their own life just so they can accept you into their circle.  True, it could happen, and it will, if they viewed you as an otherwise really close friend (keywords: value judgement and social tradeoff), but it’s not something to be mad about when it doesn’t happen.  It’s their decision to value drinking (and what kind of benefit they see drinking brings to their circle of other drinker friends, which, as I said in the previous comment, you might not be able to appreciate) over you.  Disappointed, yes it hurts; frustrated, yes, because there isn’t much else to do than just accepting they are not like you; angry or mad, no.
        Basically what would suit better here is a respectful plea—you see the difference between you and your friends, and you point it out and appeal to your friends’ sense of mutual respect, not to their sense of guilt.

        1. BTW, you’re hearing this from someone who doesn’t like to get wasted at a random party.  There’s only one close friend in this world who I get wasted with (and sadly he’s back in Korea XD).
          Just making sure you don’t brand me ala Ah, so you’re one of them  :)

          1. Ergh I’m not holding this against anyone. I hosted a party for James at my house where I welcomed alcohol and drunkedness and stonedness and it happened. My beliefs in this situation do not conflict with what my friends do – I’m using my journal to put out what I believe, not what I demand.
            Believe me, I’ve pissed off a great percentage of my friends with this journal in the past, and it really hasn’t changed much. They know more about me, they respect my viewpoints as well, and we get on with our lives.
            Therefore, your addendum comment is worthless; I could care less whether you were a complete drunken buffoon or a straight-edge freak.

            1. If you really respected me and saw my viewpoint then maybe you’d try to change something about yourself.

              Sorry, this didn’t sound unlike guilt-tripping/implicit demanding.  If that wasn’t what you meant, okay. :)

  2. A-fucking-men to that.
    I just got out of a relationship with a girl who was considerably younger than me, and it seemed like the rage with all of her friends was to get fucked up at parties, then get taken advantage of and feel horrible, then go out and do it again the next night.
    I’m almost 22 now, don’t drink often because of personal reasons, and frankly, I think I have enough of a personality and enough self-confidence that I don’t need to be fucked up to talk to people.

  3. Well, let me first start off by saying that I agree that alcohol use is a problem amongst…well, everyone.
    That having been said, I drink. Often? Not really. Certainly not everytime I socalize. Maybe once a week, at most. There are too many things about alcohol that make it a second choice to, well, my preference. But I’ll get into that in a second.
    Drinking for me was never that social of an activity. I mean, I don’t do it on my own by myself, but I never felt I needed it. It was usually more like “hey, I’m in the privacy of ___’s house, we have some alcohol, and it can be pretty fun to play drinking games or something and bond with friends.
    Yea, I said it, alcohol can help you bond with friends. And it’s not nearly as shallow as you’d think.
    A few weeks ago me and my hands-down two best friends here Cheyne and Charlie went to Cheynes with a bunch of Mickeys (and oh yea I used to agree with you about the taste but I guarantee it’s an acquired taste)and got…wasted. we didn’t do it to go out and cause trouble, or drive somewhere, or so we could fuck ugly chicks without remorse. But what we did do is go outside, sit under the stars on a hammock, and be more open and honest with each other than ever before. We all learned things about each other and ourselves that really really strengthened our friendship.
    Could it have happened without alcohol? Perhaps, but I don’t think it would’ve been the same.
    My last point is that marijuana is a much better drug than alcohol. Less side effects, no hangover, lowering of inhibitions but you still retain your judgement. And theres no such thing as marijuana poisining. Furthermore, it is a very social drug that lends itself to many situations. I’ll be honest, I smoke almost every day. But it’s focus for me has shifted to a more ‘nothing-better-to-do’ mindset. And I can go without it. And I have. And most of the time I don’t buy it. But I digress. My point is, in the stoner subculture there exsists a system of respect, but at the same time, equality. If I may extend this already long comment, let me give you an example (and it may seem rediculous and you may laugh, but this comes straight out of the pages of many peoples lives,including mine).
    So, your sitting around your friends (person A) room, person B is showing off their new pipe, person C has some weed, and person D is person B’s girlfriend. Well, naturally, a bowl is packed, and the rotation begins. Now, it’s customary to just go in a circle (often clockwise) but another scenario is that person C will go first, they have the most essential factor to the equation, then B, then A, then D. You never skip someone unless they ask to be skipped. You don’t sit on it too long (camping, to lend a word from CS),and you don’t take 2 hits.
    I don’t really know what my point is other than to give you some insight as to why I believe marijuana is a better social drug than alcohol,and thus it is my preference.
    And oh yes, I respect you and such (really, I do).

  4. Yeah, I agree with everything you said concerning alcohol and socializing. When I was still in high school drinking and smoking were considered the “cool” things to do when you were out with friends on a Friday night, and I think partly because of the media college was also portrayed as a time when all you did was drink, smoke, and do drugs.
    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with experimenting with any of those things if you’re interested, but it shouldn’t be something you need to do just to hang out with friends.
    Heh, and then there’s the whole stereotype that all writers are alcoholics because they write more interesting things when they’re drunk.

  5. Kids in high school who drink alcohol are doing something because it’s rebellious, not because it’s great. Every teenager/college kid does something like this, whether it entails listening to rap music, dying their hair green, or, to add another level, rebelling AGAINST rebellion.
    That’s what I did. In high school I thought drugs and alcohol and anybody who did them were retarded, but for the most part I also lacked social experience and really solid, close friends (this is meant to relate solely to me, of course). Later on I discovered that drinking and smoking were just nice things to do with friends, similar to bowling, seeing movies, chilling at diners, etc. Except that you can combine drinking/smoking with any of those things!
    It’s just fun. If you NEED these things to have fun then you’re probably a pretty boring person. But damn if it ain’t fun.

  6. Comment spam time (I think)
    This is what I, Conrad and everyone says: “It’s fun to drink!” or “Alcohol lets you have more fun!”
    This is what you and other people who don’t drink refuse to hear nothing but: “you must drink to be social” and “you can’t drop your boundaries or get rid of responsibility or enjoy life without alcohol”
    There’s a fucking difference.
    I think the whole problem is in your country’s collective view on alcohol as something evil that young people should avoid doing (a drinking age of 21 is absolutely insane!), which gives it a drug like status, and promotes the behaviour that kawakiwikiwa writes about up there. Which is a total misinterpretion of alcohol. It should be something natural. Something which lets you easen up more in the company of others. A culturally good thing, not an evil.

    1. I don’t have a problem with people who don’t drink, I have a problem with people who think they are better people because they don’t drink. The whole “Well —I— can have fun WITHOUT drinking!” thing.

    2. A culturally good thing, not an evil.

      Sadly cultural things are defined by people who take them, and alcohol IMO isn’t one of the things young people in this country take gracefully into their life.  Too many youngsters take on alcohol in such a manner as I eat you, or you eat me, oh shit, it doesn’t matter ’cause I’m already wasted!
      I’m from Korea, and I miss carefree drinking, even when I’m not wasted, without having to worry about gross social misinterpretations, such as Oh shit, he’s drunk!  And he’s Asian!  What a lowly FOB who shouldn’t belong here in the first place!  Yes, a sad Korean living in a sad country. :p

    3. Actually, you said “Drinking lets you lose your bounds and have a much better time… it’s a great way to escape from real life and just have a great time without anything great needed to happen.”
      I don’t care about what others think of it – believe it or not, despite the drinking age (which I said I disagree with) and despite what the media says about it, our society welcomes it and finds it a part of daily life.
      Okay, fine, but why? Let’s stop comparing cultures and just take a look at it as a whole – why did our society start drinking in the first place? Why did it become such a necessity?

      1. #1.  The grass is always greener on the other side.  People crave for what is prohibited.  And prohibited things usually yield all kinds of negative side effects.  Remember the all-out Prohibition in 1920s?
        #2.  Alcohol dates way back into history, even before this country has formed.  It’s pointless asking why the society started drinking.  Chances are, George Washington knew how to drink when he took the first presidency.

        1. Like I said, I disagree with laws preventing drinking (to a certain degree). I agree that a lot of kids start drinking just because it’s taboo. I know this. Like I said, DESPITE this, drinking for people “of age” (say, of partying age, 16 or something) doesn’t seem to be such a big problem or forbidden thing – it’s quite normal.
          I’m aware that alcohol has been with man since the beginning. Is that really the reason, though, why it’s seen as such an odd (and maybe even wrong) occurence when someone goes through their life without relying on alcohol? I’m not losing an integral part of being a human being by not drinking, is what I’m getting at.

          1. You aren’t indeed losing much.  It’s just about where to look at and turn to.  That’s why I said it’s not something to get angry or mad about…  You simply have to look for people who share your view when it comes to “hanging out.”
            It’s another thing to learn to gracefully deal with people who do drink (i.e. without subjecting ourselves to unnecessarily heavy stress because we have to “stand” them), but I guess you already got the hang of it.

  7. well, you know i don’t drink now. but when i did drink, it wasn’t for the whole social thing. i drank for the sake of drinking, as did a lot of people i knew then. it was a whole getting drunk thing, not a social lubricant. not that i’m trying to justify it or anything. but that’s how it was. ::shrug::

  8. With complete respect to all y’all who like to drink and use other random mind-shutting substances.
    You know, back in the day, the (large majority of) black slaves drank themselves into complete oblivion every holiday they had. Two reasons for that: to escape from their (obviously harsh) reality and because their masters provided the alcohol. Keep drinking, people. Someone has to work at McDonalds and do my house cleaning someday.

    1. Re: With complete respect to all y’all who like to drink and use other random mind-shutting substanc
      No, I’d rather ascend way up the social ladder and fill up the basement of my vacation home with all sorts of rare wines and whiskeys. :p

  9. ALCOHOL IS NOT A NECESSARY PART OF A PERSON’S LIFE.
    Niether is the Internet. Niether is AIM. Niether is music. Niether is TV. Niether is eating MEAT!!
    I don’t quite know what I’m getting at. Thing is, you have a really good arguement. I don’t have a very good counter arguement. I just figured I’d comment like everyone else…. does that further the social mandate of commenting?

      1. Eating meat is a good comparison in one respect – like alcohol, it’s something humans have consumed since the beginning of time, and it’s not a necessary part of life.
        Although meat is eaten for the sake of nourishment, not drunkedness… and it provides protein, which is necessary one way or the other.

        1. it also provides obeseity, diabetes, heartburn, heart problems, etc.
          ::cough:: yes, i know a lot of things attribute to those health problems. i am the daughter of a vegan who believes veganism is like, THE WAY….for all…
          heh.

  10. You know I really like Vodka. It keeps me warm on cold night walks and it makes everything more enjoyable. It really goes well with a night of good food, music, and movies.
    Oh social drinking is wonderful. Lighten up.

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