The hubs and I had an appointment yesterday afternoon and when it was over, we decided to go for lunch. We went to one of our regular places because the hubs likes the burgers and I like the fact they have the supersized wine. ;) 9 oz in fact, delivered in a gorgeous (large!) carafe alongside elegant stemware.
We found a nice booth at the back. I was enjoying my wine - along with a yummy Thai Beef-Ginger soup, a big salad and as many of the hubs' fries as I could steal. The restaurant has a bar set up in the middle of the room where after 5 pm, you often see friends or couples meeting up for drinks. This was about three in the afternoon. The bar stools were all empty - except for one woman in her forties, hunched over her iPhone, with - yes - a big honkin' carafe of white wine in front of her - but no food.
I motioned to her. "Bet she's an alcoholic," I whispered.
The hubs glanced over. "Why do you say that?"
"Well, she's sitting at a bar alone, with a huge glass of wine in front of her and no food -- in the middle of the afternoon. I've never even done that."
"Sat at a bar alone?"
"No! Not with a big glass, especially. And I always order food."
In fact, I'd been to that restaurant many times by myself to enjoy a glass of wine. But I've never grabbed a seat at the bar - especially with nobody else there - and 99% of the time, I order food. I told my husband as much.
"So just because someone doesn't order food, that means they're an alcoholic?"
"Well, no. But it's a 'line' to me. I just wouldn't be comfortable doing it. I'd feel too desperate, drinking alone at a bar with nothing to eat." Pause. "Mind you, I would've saved a lot of money on salads over the years." ;)
But it made me think. I was being harsh on this stranger - whatever her circumstances. What if she was waiting for a friend? What if she was coming from a meeting with a divorce lawyer? (Who couldn't use a drink then?) What if this single glass of wine is the only treat she allows herself all week? What if - like me - she doesn't like to drink alone at home? I mean, if there's anyone who shouldn't judge people about their drinking, it's gotta be me, right? But apparently even Ms. Functional can be vulnerable to the judgmental attitude society has against addiction.
So today I'm amending my opinion: Hell, if you're a woman (or man!) and you got the guts to sit at a bar by yourself and order a big drink without anything to eat - damn good for you! Only you know where to draw the line. As long as you're content with your situation, who cares what anybody else thinks? Including moi. I might even try it sometime. In the name of research. ;)
btw - I have to send out this little message: If you were the woman with the great Birkin bag and a pretty pink wallet with the loop closure who brought back three bottles of white wine to a Toronto liquor store a couple weeks ago because you were 'going on a cleanse and didn't want it around,' I was behind you in line. I wanted to ask a dozen questions about your situation ... but thought it would be a gross violation of your privacy. But if by any chance, you're out there - please get in touch! I'd love to hear how it's going!
firstname.lastname@example.org - Totally confidential natch!!
btw, I'm trying to plan my spring cleanse. Timing it might be a challenge this year because there's some travel involved. Will explain more later! But it's coming up. Time sure does fly when you're having fun ... slash drinks. ;)