“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#1 Mar 29, 2014
DEAR AMY: My wife and I are not drinkers. This is not an ethical choice, nor are we recovering alcoholics.

She used to drink occasionally but just gradually stopped, and I've tried alcoholic beverages but just don't care for them.

This does not cause a problem for me. Maybe my friends just figure that my not drinking leaves more for them later.

It does seem to cause problems for my wife, though. Some of her friends are confused that she will not have booze with them and are critical of her choice to drink a soda.

My mother-in-law, too, is flummoxed by her daughter's abstention from alcohol. It seems that, to my mother-in-law, while drunkenness is inappropriate, it is also inappropriate to abstain.

My wife complained to me recently that her mother called her "uncultured" for not having wine with dinner.

It bothers me that my wife catches flak over this. We are not judgmental of other people's decision to drink; why should they be judgmental of my wife's decision to not drink? I really don't see why it's such a big deal to them.

Is it really so uncultured not to enjoy alcohol? Do you have any advice for my wife? It seems that no matter how much she explains herself she's still having the same discussion the next time.-- Sober

DEAR SOBER: First of all, it is the essence of uncultured to call someone "uncultured." Nobody -- not even a parent -- should pass judgment on somebody else who is simply, quietly and without drawing attention to herself making a respectable and respectful choice.

Something about your collective choice not to drink makes other people uncomfortable, and they react to their own discomfort very poorly. Perhaps it makes them anxious or self-conscious about their own alcohol consumption. Think of this situation with a sense of humor for the irony of it: It's tough to watch a family member gradually descend into a life of sobriety.

The next time someone calls your wife out for being sober, she might respond by saying, "Yes, I'm still not drinking. Thank you for caring."

DEAR AMY: Last night my girlfriend and I attended a live concert by a country/western band of four men and a girl, all playing instruments and singing. They were very good, but the girl kept frowning through the whole performance, which was distracting.

When the concert was over and the audience was filing out through the lobby, the performers were there, greeting the departing guests.

The girl had a great smile on her face, and I told her she had a great smile but then added that she should have shown her smile during the performance.

My girlfriend admonished me that my follow-on comment about not smiling during the performance was hurtful. I thought I was being helpful. In your opinion, was I being hurtful or helpful?

Can you suggest another way to give constructive criticism to a performer?-- Audience Member

DEAR MEMBER: First, a question for you: Why are the male performers "men" but the female performer is a "girl"?

I ask because you seem to feel that the female performer should be all smiles, kittens and rainbows during the time she is exerting herself onstage. Would you have made a similar comment to the male musicians?

Given the double standard I assume exists, it is completely legitimate to offer a performer feedback after a show (but only if you buy a CD). Here's how you do it: "You guys were awesome tonight! I'm a huge fan. But are you willing to hear some constructive feedback?"

Even if this makes the performer feel slighted or defensive, if she is savvy, she will work on this. In fact there is some likelihood she has heard it before.

DEAR AMY: Reading the comment from "Feeling Stuck" about her husband's habit of reading at the table reminded me of one of my favorite sayings: "What I miss most about not being married is that I have nobody to talk to in the morning while I'm trying to read the paper." -- Also Reading While Eating

DEAR READING: I think of this as just another way to digest the news.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Wilmington, IL

#2 Mar 29, 2014
1- Dude, I highly doubt your friends attempt to pour alcohol down your throats when you go out to eat. You're probably taking one innocuous comment and blowing it out of proportion. Get over yourselves. And get off your "I don't drink and I'm better than anyone who does" high-horse

2- "Given the double standard I assume exists"

Yeah, because YOU do it often. This is another non-issue

And dude, a country-western concert with your girlfriend? Are you gay?

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#3 Mar 29, 2014
1. The letter sounds okay but the facts don't ring true. I can see getting some flack from friends when you are at a bar, but from your own mother?.

The bartenders who make teh fancy cocktails and call themselves mixologists have no problem making one of their drinks without alcohol. They may even charge you teh same price. The stuff can be quite good-, much better than a Virgin Mary or a Diet Coke with a piece of lime.. In most bars, btw, if you are with a group and tell the bartender you are teh Designated Driver, you soda is free. Learned that from my kid.

I have a good friend who is an alcoholic and have learned a whole lot about alternative beverages and mixtures.

My guess is that your girlfriend's mom is an problem drinker or that IRL the two of us project a sanctimonious attitude

2. Well of course there is a double standard. It is country western which used to be from a more conservative traditional society. and it is "theater" which means there is role playing. Only 13 year old girls can't tell the difference between a "rock star " style and real life. Dolly Parton will never be called a woman singer no matter how old she gets.

It is perfectly fine to comment on a performance style. Audiences like performers who seem to be having a good time. Frowning counters that.
Cass

Salem, OR

#4 Mar 29, 2014
LW1 - I don't drink alcohol most of the time because it's the calories I don't need. The only people I've ever gotten some flak from are my family. They consider my non-drinking a sort of cultural abdication.:-) I usually tell them to stuff it.

LW2 - Ugh. I hate guys (and women) like you. Your advice was unsolicited. Why in the world did you assume that it was your business to provide pointers to a professional performer on her (or his) stage behavior? You are just a guy in the audience. If you didn't enjoy the performance, don't buy tickets to the same performers' show again.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#5 Mar 29, 2014
1: As a non-drinker I have friends who simply don't care, but yes---people will say stupid things and badger you to drink. It's so annoying and sad that drinking is so forced in our culture that you are seen as odd or something if you don't do it.

2: Meh...doubt it's the worst thing she's ever heard. Wanna be famous? Deal with criticism.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#6 Mar 29, 2014
PEllen wrote:
The bartenders who make teh fancy cocktails and call themselves mixologists have no problem making one of their drinks without alcohol. They may even charge you teh same price.
Same price? You say that like its a good thing.
Kuuipo

Salinas, CA

#7 Mar 29, 2014
LW1: Teams Cass and cheluzal. Your wife does not owe anyone an explanation as to why she doesn't drink. I have a very good friend who doesn't drink and all she says is, "I've never cared for it." Try that. If people badger her about it, she will need to adopt the attitude that it's their problem, not hers.

LW2: Teams Cass and cheluzal again. As a performer myself, I understand that smiling improves the visual aspect of the performance. However, it takes a while to learn to manage singing, playing an instrument, and smiling effortlessly through a performance. I don't mind constructive criticism, but delivery is important, as Amy points out.

“An Apple a day”

Since: Jun 08

nil carborundum illegitemi

#8 Mar 29, 2014
1. Who cares. You're just imagining that anyone cares if you drink or not.

2. Really, now you're going tell a performer how to arrange her face.

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