In Briefs: Refusing a Drink at a Party

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I know there are those of us on this list who do not drink– and I’m totally cool with that! Really! My question, though, is: is there a way of politely saying, ‘no thanks’ at a party when someone offers you a drink without actually saying, ‘no thanks, I don’t drink?’ Not to be picky, but they are not asking you if you drink. They are asking if you would like a drink. Is there a way to be lighthearted or blase about your refusal without making your host/hostess suddenly feel like a big ‘ol lush? Because while I love my non-drinking bretheren, I find that many of them have way of letting their non-drinking status be known that totally RECORD SCRATCH falls with a thud and kind of kills the conversation and makes for an awkward moment. Especially when the person offering them a drink is just being polite and trying to be a good host (generally speaking). and is not trying to pump you full of booze (generally speaking) until you black out and forget your own name. If they offer you a snack and you’ve don’t want any, you can say, ‘no thanks, I’ve already eaten.’ But to an offer of a beverage, I guess you can’t really say, ‘no thanks, I’ve been drinking in the car on my way here.’ Anyway. Deep Thursday Thoughts here. Anyone have a solution?

CHRIS PUMMER: No thanks. Also, your processed snack might be made with genetically modified corn, and I don’t eat that or gluten or meat or dairy or eggs or fish. You’re being a great host, though.

ZOE RICE: Obvs. Accept it and then pass it along to someone who can double fist.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I don’t drink. And I agree with you 100 percent. There is zero reason for me to elaborate on my overall habits.
The problem with you alcoholics is you are often so zealous to get us righteous people to drink Devil Juice that just a simple “no thanks” doesn’t get it done. So then it is offer of other drinks, follow up offers in about five minutes, increasing incredulity- how can we even consider ourselves part of a party unless we are legally unfit to drive?- and eventually, a mass effort to chant “Chug! Chug! Chug!” while we question having left the house in the first place.
So really, we’re just saving everybody time.

ZOE RICE: Wet Blanket Howard, try “Thanks, I’m good.” “No thanks” can also mean, “No thanks unless you twist my arm – come on, twist my arm…”

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Yes, I could see wanting to cut overtures like that off at the knees. And I’m sure there are plenty of hosts who berate their guests for not boozing it up. As a host who doesn’t, though, I just never know what to say to, “I don’t drink.” What’s the best response? “How nice for you”? “I envy your strength”?

DAVE TOMAR: I’m glad I’m finding all of this out now. My wedding is in one week and we are going to binge drink like crazy. Incidentally, Howard will have many opportunities to practice his best non-confrontational ‘no thanks.’ I recommend, “Thanks but I’m Mormon.” If you want, you can bring two dates to the wedding
. . . seriously though, don’t bring two dates to the wedding. This shit is costing me a million dollars.

ZOE RICE: Or even better, “Thanks but I’m pregnant”.

JESSICA BADER: A good non-confrontational “no, thanks” is to say you’re on some kind of medication that can’t be mixed with alcohol.

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: B’shah tovah umutzlachat, ZoĆ«. (I know, I know.)

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: There’s always, “Thanks, but alcoholism runs in my family.” It’s a huge party-starter!

Also, congratulations Dave! Getting married is awesome!

HOWARD MEGDAL: Oy. I wasn’t serious. That hasn’t happened to me with alcohol. This is what happens when the baby skips her usual afternoon nap.
That has definitely happened to me with dessert, though, from people who seem threatened when I pass it up.

DAVE TOMAR: Thanks so much! It is awesome, and has led me to use many more exclamation points in my correspondences!

I never have room for dessert. I tend to fill up on liquor.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I drank when Obama won, and I’ll drink at your wedding, Dave.

ZOE RICE: Howard, with dessert I usually say (truthfully), with hand on belly: “Thank you, but I’m so, so, so full”

So for alcohol, why not try (hand over mouth), “Thank you, but I’m so, so, so drunk.”

DAVE TOMAR: That’s what I like to hear. You can still pretend to be Mormon or pregnant if you want.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Dave, let me know when your wedding is and I will drink during that entire time in your honor.

DAVE TOMAR: That’s a beautiful gesture. It’s a four day affair.

JESSICA BADER: Passing up dessert? What kind of insanity is that?

(Although, when dining out with my parents, my mother is always quick to inform me that she will not let me order dessert if I have more than one drink, thanks to a few rather unfortunate incidents in my young and stupid years that she was there to witness/clean up after.)

HOWARD MEGDAL: Jessica’s part of the problem.
That’s the thing- if I eat dessert all the times other people too, frequently desserts I’m not even that crazy about, I can’t eat the dessert I want, or else I’d have to give up pants, which keeps me out of your better restaurants with better desserts… in other words, a vicious, deepening cycle that lands me at rest stops turning tricks for discarded Cinnabon. Which, ironically, is one of the treats I love.

ZOE RICE: The key is to sometimes have dessert for dinner.
So you don’t fill up first on dinner.

JESSICA BADER: I have cupcakes for lunch about once every other week. Does that count?

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