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Drinking Culture in America

Drinking Culture in America

Look, let me just start with this.  I don’t care if you do drink, I don’t care if you don’t.  You can be underage or legal, I couldn’t care less.  I really don’t care to hear about anyone’s alcohol consumption.  But I do want to say that the underage drinking culture in America is weird.

All the movies are true. Animal House, Mean Girls, Risky Business: any movie where people throw a party and it all falls apart.  They’re supposed to be gross exaggerations, but it’s true.  For whatever reason in America, drinking is destructive, both physically and mentally.

In America, most drinking occurs in large numbers.  In fact, drinking alone while watching TV is seen as one of the saddest things you could possibly do.  What is seen as cool, however, is to get together with tons of people and drink; you don’t even really have to know them.  Play loud music, drink for the sole purpose of getting drunk, and end up forgetting the night.  At my college, choosing not to drink is essentially a form of social suicide.  Drinking is how you meet other students, find relationships, and talk to real people.

What the purpose of surrounding yourself with tons of people and then blacking out drunk is, I don’t know.  If you need support from others, it could be nice to be able to remember that there are people to support you.  Drunk people tend to be more reckless, and more often than not end up making some sort of mess.  People get sick, and rarely is there someone in a great place to help out.  I had a friend in high school who had blacked out while drinking, was throwing up, and another drunk person thought that maybe more alcohol would help.  It’s just stupid.

You can pretend all you want, but I don’t know a single person who actually, genuinely, honestly, sincerely likes drinking and its surrounding culture.  A diabetic adult (and therefore of age, but a non-drinker) I know once said, “Nobody would drink alcohol if it didn’t get you drunk.”  Alcohol tastes gross.  In high school, the alcoholic beverage of choice was the one that tasted the least like alcohol, and also worked the fastest to get you drunk.  People post on social media, alerting anyone and everyone that they do in fact drink, and that they’re having the absolute best time while doing it.  But if you’ve ever walked near a college campus on a Saturday night, you’re guaranteed to see some people throwing up, crying, or some combination thereof.  You may feel good at some points, but there’s always some bad feelings too.  And sure, sometimes the good feelings outweigh the bad, but there’s still no need to post about it on social media.  For the underage drinker, posting on social media merely alerts the world to their taboo actions, hopefully making them seem “cool” (though who decided that drinking was cool, I’d still like to know). Oddly enough though, at least at my school, those who drink are not anything different or special.  So I guess it’s more of an alert that they are just like everyone else.  To which I reply, good for you, you’re just like everyone else.

I realize that so far, I’ve sounded fairly negative towards the idea of drinking.  But like I said, I don’t really care. I’m just confused.  Alcohol doesn’t actually make you feel all that great, but instead gives you the drive (and an excuse) to have fun.  Having the drinking age be 21 is dumb. The alcohol is still going to screw with our brains at 21.  I am not 21.  I’m not a crazy drinker.  I smell vodka and think “ugh, booze.”  But to me, most hard apple ciders and beers do taste good.  When I turn 21, I plan on being the type of person to have a beer with dinner.  Maybe two, if the restaurant has a good selection.  

What the American media shows us is that consuming alcohol has to be reckless.  As far as I’ve seen in Europe, it’s the norm to drink at the family dinner table a young age.  Instead of it being a forbidden fruit, kids see their parents testing out fine wine, and not drinking purely to get drunk.  

But then again, I don’t care what you do.  I’m just tired of hearing about that crazy night, and just how much crazy fun you had.  I know your truth; it was a mediocre night, but everyone else is talking about it, so you feel like you should too.  In reality, maybe having a more personal heart to heart movie night with some close friends would have been more fun, but it wouldn’t be cool to admit that.  In America, it’s not cool to admit that you like more intimate interactions.  Maybe it’s just me, but that seems weird.  

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