If there’s a generation that needs to learn to sit back and relax with a nice drink — and I don’t mean some barely drinkable, overly hopped IPA — it’s got to be the Millennials. If the statistics are anything to go by, Millennials have too much debt, too little savings, and aren’t having enough sex to distract them from their troubles. They’re forming families later in life, too, which is understandable when college debt piled up after earning college degrees with lousy earnings potential keeps you living in Mom & Dad’s basement or sharing an apartment-cubicle with half a dozen brother/sister/other youths. As a fully-functional member of Generation Meh, let me tell you young’uns: There’s nothing wrong with pouring yourself a stiff one after work while making dinner for your nuclear family.
And yet, they persist in being weird.
The latest holier-than-thou fad is a movement known as “sober curious,” in which young people without any apparent drinking problem adopt a sober lifestyle because… I dunno… they need yet another made-up virtue to signal?
PBS just did a segment on the so-called “movement,” which they admit is “still in its infancy, [and] is not meant for those recovering from substance abuse problems.” So then what is it for? Hari Sreenivasan talked to a bunch of sober-curious lifestyle enthusiasts and got explanations like these:
• “Drinking gets in the way of dancing a lot. People are always making trips to the bar. People have drinks on the dance floor.” (Quelle horreur!)
• “I don’t need to, you know, have anything in my body, and just enjoy the dancing.” (Pro Tip: Tequila makes you dance better, or care less about how you look doing it, which amounts to the same thing.)
• “I am not an alcoholic. I am not totally sober, but I go through periods of my life where I’m not drinking or I go to events and I choose not to drink.” (We use to just call this “making up our minds” and not brag about it.)
• “We are a generation of really wanting more, and not just in, like, want more money, but we want to, like, know ourselves better.” (???)
Big Alcohol is jumping on the bandwagon, too, with new selections of alcohol-free “beer” and “cocktails.” Blech. I’d rather have a real soft drink than a fake beer any night of the week.
I’m not suggesting everyone go out and get drunk all the time. Or even stay home and get drunk all the time, as nice as a brandy the size of Winston Churchill’s skull sounds on a wet, chilly day like today. But why does every tiny little decision — like, whether to grab a beer before hitting the dance floor — need to be elevated to lifestyle choice? Going further, why does every tiny little decision need to be a lifestyle choice requiring the full catering services of the press and big business?
Going further, people who do have a substance abuse problem, including alcohol, are generally well aware of their problem. But quitting is genuinely difficult, which is why there are 12-step programs with sponsors they can call on day or night. I suspect that what someone trying so very hard to be sober doesn’t need is a non-alcoholic twit saying, “Look at me! I didn’t have a drink tonight!”
I also suspect this particular species of virtue-signaling is yet another side effect of the Participation Trophy mentality. “I don’t have a drinking problem, but I don’t need to drink.” “I’m straight and I wear gender-appropriate attire, but insist on using the pronoun ‘xer/xim/xit’ anyway.” “I was taught that old-fashioned, difficult virtues were a load of BS, so look at all these new, very easy-to-accomplish virtues I’ve just invented.”
Or as my generation used to say: “Is that awesome or what? …OR WHAT!”
Thus endeth the lesson, OK, Millennial?
If you need me for anything else I’ll be at the bar.