Saturday, April 4, 2009

keeping my dignity, and my Shirley Temple

Why Do Mocktails Fall Flat?, Eric Felten, Wall Street Journal, April 3 2009

I found this a pretty interesting article, and was totally along for the ride, until I read this sentence:
The only faux-cocktail . . . that has survived into modern times is the grenadine-tinted ginger ale concoction, the Shirley Temple. But it survives only as a treat for the kiddies, not a drink that any self-respecting adult, no matter how abstemious, would think to order.
Go play in traffic, Mr. Felten. I consider myself a dignified (if irreverent) person, and I enjoy a Shirley Temple every now and then. Granted, they are ridiculously sweet, even for me, which is why I often follow Felten's example and get seltzer instead (hooray, slice of lime!), but still. I am peeved, on principle.

I am especially peeved because over the past few months I've discovered the joys of certain Belgian beers (Leffe Blonde, Bavik) and German ones (Erdinger Hefe-Weiss), as well as pinot noir (Castle Rock, pick a year and version), but for the longest time I was a borderline teetotaler. I was not a teetotaler because I thought Alcohol Is The Devil's Beverage, but simply because I couldn't find an alcoholic beverage which appealed to my taste buds. I was always very up front about this with people, and equally A-OK with being in otherwise liquor-soaked situations, and I thought all was fine. That is, until I spoke recently with friends of mine about my beer/pinot discoveries, and they all said the same thing:

"Nice to see you finally yanked that stick out of your ass."

Not that they necessarily used those words, but that's pretty much the sentiment I've heard, over and over again, throughout the past few weeks. My question is, what stick? I've never made withering comments to anyone imbibing, so where is this coming from? Does the simple act of not drinking make nearby drinkers feel guilty, and the resentment grows from there? Did all my friends insist upon interpreting my Shirley Temple-ish and seltzer-ish ways as a sign of my non-existent snobbishness and superiority?

Do I hang out with self-hating folks who enjoy misinterpreting me?

Am I over-analyzing this?

I'm hereby snatching back my Shirley Temple and enjoying the hell out of it. Screw you all, it matches my cell phone and makes me happy.

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