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30 August 2005 @ 08:17 am
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.
The Tridecadal Koreanastralblue on August 30th, 2005 08:36 pm (UTC)

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.

The Tridecadal Koreanastralblue on August 30th, 2005 08:52 pm (UTC)

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...  :)

Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on August 30th, 2005 09:32 pm (UTC)
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.
The Tridecadal Koreanastralblue on August 30th, 2005 09:55 pm (UTC)
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. :)

Jeffrey Carl Fadenjeffreyatw on August 30th, 2005 10:09 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that was a little harsh. I guess I said the opposite too - respecting a viewpoint doesn't mean you have to partake in that for which it stands.
The Tridecadal Koreanastralblue on August 30th, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC)

Good. :)