Juice Crawls Are the New Bar Crawls?

Unknown-1It’s hard to imagine yet incredibly refreshing to envision that juice crawls have taken hold and for some, are replacing the traditional bar crawl. Millennials are looking for healthful, alternative ways to socialize, so why not do so via social gatherings rooted in exercise, meditation, or…juice?

Here’s an article about why booze-free events are becoming increasingly popular…

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What About the Rest of Us? The Nuanced World of Female Drinking

savoring wineIn America, the land of quick consumption and bigger is better, it’s not surprising that we’ve developed binge-drinking issues and other pathological relationships with alcohol. Many books delve into the problem of women and over-drinking (Most recently, Gabrielle Glaser’s, HER BEST KEPT SECRET and now, Ann Dowsett Johnston’s DRINK: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol).

But, as we’re always asking at Drinking Diaries, what about the rest of us—the women whose relationships to alcohol fall all along the spectrum between abstinence and alcoholism?

In her recent piece on Salon.com, Jill Filipovic writes eloquently about this very question:

“The lines between use, abuse and addiction are not always totally clear, and there’s a marked lack of nuance (not to mention honesty) in discussions of alcohol use. Admit to having three or four drinks on one particular night, and some who have been through the hell of alcoholism will insist that you have A Problem. Push back against frat boy drinking culture and you’re a Puritan. Recognize that nearly all of us will get a little too liquored up a handful of times in our lives and, if you’re a woman, expect someone to wag their finger at you and insist that by getting drunk you’re going to get yourself raped.”

While she recognizes that alcoholism will always be an issue for some, for those of us who drink, Filopivic argues for what she calls “a pleasure-centered drinking culture instead of a consumption-centered one,” one which involves, for example, savoring one thoughtfully made cocktail with fresh ingredients rather than a bunch of low calorie chemical concoctions that one settles for because of guilt related to “overindulgence.”

Filipovic also offers a refreshing take on gender roles and drinking, connecting our drinking culture to our current culture of sexual assault, with its double standard for women drinkers (bad, asking for it) and men (reckless cowboy = macho & men will be men).

What do you think, readers? There will always be room for the traditional alcohol narratives of abuse and recovery, but it’s important to shake it up a bit and share all of our drinking stories.

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What to Drink on Rosh Hashanah (Even if you’re not Jewish!)

honey apple martiniSo what can people drink with their meals at Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which begins tonight at sundown?

For those who imbibe alcohol, here are a few festive ideas:

1)   Mead (otherwise known as honey wine). Apples and honey figure prominently in this holiday—symbolic of a sweet new year—so this would be a great choice. I’ve tasted honey wine at Ethiopian restaurants (Tej), which is delicious, so if you could get your hands on some of that…

2)   Pomegranate Sangria 

Or: Given that Rosh Hashanah is a time to make resolutions and try to improve our lives for the coming year, some may choose to (or have to) abstain.

How about some sparkling apple cider, non-alcoholic Sangria (pomegranate juice or cherry juice, seltzer, floating fruit and honey) or an apple/ honey/seltzer mock-tini?

With Yom Kippur, the day of repentance and fasting, coming up next, we’ve got to squeeze the pleasures in while we can!

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A (Gulp) Miley Cyrus Post…

miley cyrusI really didn’t want to write a Miley Cyrus post, to add to all the post-VMA posts, but….

But….then I read writer Julianna Baggott’s post, “Why Miley Cyrus is a Tragedy We All Must Bear,” on her excellent blog.

Baggott’s post went beyond the slut-shaming and open-mouthed “can you believe the train wreck” talk and cut to the essential sadness behind Cyrus’ performance, her video, and her song:

…There may well be partying, drugs, overdoses, orange jumpsuits, a hotel room where things go very wrong…

 Is there any way to stop it? This is what I thought of the first time I saw her “We Can’t Stop” video, which now has over 157 million views. Despite the fact that it’s supposed to be a party song, it’s played in a melancholy minor key. The beat is slow. Stripped from its video, it’s a sad song that seems, if anything, to be about addiction… to what? Hers or, culturally, ours?

The first time I heard the Miley Cyrus song and saw the video, I was struck, like Baggott, by how depressing it was, like a bad trip or a tranquilized vision of fun seen through a veil. In the song, Cyrus makes references to ecstasy (molly) and doing lines of cocaine in the bathroom, but the song seems to be more about the comedown and the lows, than the high.

I’m a huge fan of the eff-the-responsible-adults party anthems, which can be contagious in their rebellious spirit, but this is something different than a freeing, countercultural rebellion.

In “We Can’t Stop,” Miley Cyrus sounds like a toddler, still tied to her parents, throwing a tantrum. (“And we can’t stop. And we won’t stop” “It’s our party we can do what we want.” “It’s my mouth I can say what I want to!”). The video enacts the wrung-out exhaustion of a toddler after the tantrum, succumbing to numbness, giving in.

Onstage at the VMA awards, Miley Cyrus bent over while Robin Thicke sang “Blurred Lines” and humped her. It was sad to see the angry toddler—with her piss and vinegar—enact total submissiveness. It’s as if outside forces have totally taken over: the pills, the drugs, the marketing machine, the culture, the “man.”

This all takes me back to a point we’ve made over and over on Drinking Diaries: drinking, like anything else, can be a great thing when it’s a choice, freely made, rather than a default mechanism, a crutch, or a numbing agent, or a tool to say “eff you” when you feel powerless and can’t say it directly.

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“Sober Socializing” on HuffPost Live

Screen Shot 2013-08-21 at 11.45.39 PMI was recently asked to participate with a panel of women–drinkers and non-drinkers–to discuss “Sober Socializing,” as the HuffPost Live show titled it, and whether our culture has become too reliant on alcoholic beverages. Participants also included Sacha Scoblic, author of Unwasted: My Lush Sobriety (read her interview on Drinking Diaries here), Kristina Wong, a writer and comedian, and Sharon Greenthal, editor-in-chief of Generation Fabulous.

It’s kind of strange being on a talk show in the comfort of your own home office. You stare into the camera with your earbuds on (they tell you to wear them for better sound quality), answer questions, and try to have a conversation as if you’re sitting around a table in the same room. But it’s a virtual table, and a virtual room–all at the hands of the little camera in your computer.

It was an interesting discussion and covered a variety of opinions about how our society promotes alcohol in social settings. How did it come to that? What does it feel like if you are a non drinker? Or in my case, if you’ve chosen to abstain for a period of time and then return to your regular habits?

I’m glad I was a part of the discussion. It only affirms how textured the topic is– how every woman (and man) has a drinking story, and their own personal relationship with alcohol. And how vital it is that we talk about it, without judgement, and listen to what others have to say.

To view the segment, click here.

 

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