Part 144: Alcoholism

drunken

Does an alcoholic drink every day? Is that the measure? Or not? Are there ones who – just to pluck a random example right out of the air that I, of course, have no first-hand experience of – don’t touch the stuff all weekend but are unable to drink a couple of Pisco sours over dinner with friends on a Monday night without coming home and doing half a bottle of whisky (on the rocks) while watching Seinfeld?

Is an alcoholic someone who always drinks a lot of alcohol, or someone who just wants to? For example, if you think about alcohol all the time, about the cold, sharp twang of a good white wine, about the tart, salty sting of a well-mixed margarita, about that heady, oblivion-like aliveness you feel only after a bottle and half of Prosecco, are you an alcoholic, or are you, simply, human?

If one is unable to drink a single gin and tonic without wanting to finish off the entire drinks cabinet, is one an alcoholic, or is one, simply, good fun?

It seems to me, after many years on the social scene, that there are only two types of people it is worth spending time with: those who drink fucking shit loads, and those who don’t drink anything. You need to swing definitively one way or the other. There is nothing more tedious than an adult so in control of an evening that they are able to drink a pint and a half of lager and catch the last train home, without offending anybody at all.

Have you ever been to a party where the host had a couple of glasses, but stayed more or less sober and expected everybody to leave by 11pm? I have, and it was shit.

Why would one want the company of a person so well-behaved, so entirely lacking in spontaneity, that they have not spent an entire Saturday vomiting into the porcelain toilet-bowl of a near-stranger since their teens? Who can say they’ve lived a life worthy of note if they’ve never woken in unfamiliar surroundings, sans contact lenses, unable to spot other living beings, or, indeed, the door?

The well-behaved, the nice polite folks who practice only sober pre-dawn partying have nothing whatsoever to teach us. Unless they are abstaining for religious reasons, or in possession of such self-control that they’ve given up and never since touched a drop.

We all know by now that alcoholics can write novels, hold down marriages and pursue high-powered executive jobs. They can raise emotionally damaged children as well as your average responsible drinker. But, what I want to know, is whether there are there alcoholics who can go a couple of weeks drinking moderately – just a glass or two of Merlot, a tequila chaser here or there, and in bed by midnight – but then have a blowout of seven, or maybe ten, after all who’s counting, martinis with twist, before collapsing on the pavement outside Soho House?

I only ask because, despite the benefits of spending your leisure time completely off your face, you probably still don’t really want to be an alcoholic, or date one. After all, there are a significant proportion of them who suffer serious health problems and die prematurely in horrific circumstances. Which isn’t ideal. But then again, life’s about compromise – and if I know one thing, I know this: you’ll need a drink to get you through.

*Image is Download “Drunken” by Naypong at freedigitalphotos.net.

Part 143: Heterosexual Married Men

happy couple

I don’t want to imply that there’s no point whatsoever to heterosexual married men. That would be unfair. I’m sure some of them are quite good at their jobs, for example. And I’m willing to admit they are necessary – for impregnating wives, mowing the lawn, paying plumbers in cash, sustaining the golfing industry, getting the car washed, indulging in extra-marital affairs they will come to regret and so on. Socially speaking, however, they’re redundant. Certainly, they have no business whatsoever spending time in places where single heterosexual women hang out, and talking to us.

Let me make this quite clear to those married men who might be reading: when we’re all dolled up, out on the tiles with our cleavage packaged alluringly in satin, clutching an expensive cocktail in our newly manicured paws, we do not want to talk to you. When we’re at the supermarket, bulk-buying quavers, our leggings clinging to our peachy buttocks as we reach for the Tropicana, we do not want to talk to you. When we’re chatting up your mate, running our fingers over the lapel of his suit jacket, laughing giddily while looking him right in the eye, we do not want to talk to you. You are nothing to us. You are there, inevitably, but individually you are alike and forgettable, like dust particles, or pigeons.

It’s not that we’re bitches. Although it’s likely that we are. We’re more than happy to congratulate you on the birth of your firstborn or ask you about your weekend over the water-cooler at work. In most circumstances we’ll be polite, friendly and accommodating. But don’t get it twisted. You should know that we don’t care about your jokes, your hobbies or your opinions on the economy. We might pretend that we do, because social conditioning means we’re programmed to act outwardly inferior to men who’ve had their confidence inflated by a woman making a public commitment to provide blow-jobs on tap. But we don’t. We have our regular retinue of female and homosexual male pals to offer hilarity, social commentary and networking opportunities. Heterosexual men are for flirting with in anticipation of sex. And if you’re married we are going to feel bad about doing that.

I’m not suggesting that marriage necessitates your becoming a recluse. By all means, head out with your boys to the gym or a ‘nightclub’ or a football match. By all means, invite your existing female friends to the pub and challenge them to game of pool in order to neutralise the bubbling sexual tension. By all means, take your wife out to dinner and make feeble witticisms at the waiting staff. But on absolutely no account whatsoever are you to approach a single woman when she is out in public and behave as if your charisma is reward enough. It is not — unless you are uniquely charismatic, like Jack Nicholson or Jesus. Which you aren’t.

It’s not that we single women want to sleep with everything that moves. Although some of us do. It’s more that we want our social relations to carry a frisson of possibility that it is simply not possible to create with a married person. We put up with our married female friends because we know there will be a time when our lives are back on a level playing-ground; they’ll get divorced or we’ll get married and we’ll find each other’s company bearable once again. And sure, at that point, once we’re married ourselves, things will be different. Once I’m married you can invite me to dinner parties and we’ll argue about the merits of the public vs the private school system until my husband takes me home because I’ve become shrill and obnoxious after too much port. I might grow to like you then, and regard you as a friend. But that’s the fictional future.

Right now, my life is hard enough, even though I spend seventy percent of it sleeping. I have no idea what I am supposed to talk about with heterosexual men who there is no possibility of my ever having sex with. There is no guidance for that in popular culture (unless they’re a manual worker doing labour at your house, in which case, offer them tea). I suppose you do get the odd one that’s into theatre or The Sopranos, but they tend to have that annoying habit of banging on about the factual minutiae of their interests as if you haven’t got a PhD.

Right now, the only concern I have with married men is meeting their eligible bachelor mates. Because how’s a girl supposed to write a sex blog if she never has sex?

*Image is “Young Couple Sitting On Sofa” by imagerymajestic at freedigitalphotos.net.