Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I don’t like the taste

You expect to read some drivel on the Guardian comment pages, but this article from Anna Louie Sussman on why she doesn’t drink really does deserve a prize for self-righteousness. She is justly taken to task in the comments. But one thing that gets me is her claim that she doesn’t drink because she doesn’t like the taste of alcohol. If people choose not to drink because they are concerned about the potential effects, then fair enough. They are entitled to their view and I would not criticise them for it, although I would expect the same tolerance to be extended to those who do drink provided they don’t make fools of themselves. If non-drinkers start giving me sanctimonious lectures then I will actively shun their company.

But “I don’t like the taste” – oh, come on, that’s just a feeble rationalisation, although one surprisingly often heard. Alcoholic drinks cover a huge spectrum of different tastes, and many don’t really taste “of alcohol” at all. Have they really tried them all from Liebfraumilch to cask-strength Laphroaig and decided that none appeal? Would anyone say “I don’t eat meat - any meat - because I don’t like the taste?” Non-drinkers would be respected more if they were honest about their motivations.