Friday, May 16, 2008

Old friends and being a social outcast

Last sunday we went to a birthday party.
Actually we went to two that day.

One was at the cemetery, they double as parks in Copenhagen, nothing creepy about it really.
The weather was beautiful and Mai (the birthday girl) had asked people to bring food instead of gifts, so there was plenty of delicious food there.
It was nice, a bunch of artsy people (yours truly excluded) and a couple of tiny dogs.

The other was later, around 8 ish at night. It was more of a cocktail party thing.
Not formal, just a party involving cocktails. It took a while for me to realize that it was a party-party we'd been invited to. Seeing as it was on a sunday i assumed it would be of the non-cocktail variety. But what i didn't know, until that same day, was that monday was a holiday. We own a shop. Holidays don't exist unless we make them.

Ok, so the birthday girl was Maria, a girl i grew up with. Maria, her younger sister Anna (now Anna-Lullu) and me have been pretend-sisters for as long as i can remember. As a child i got Marias old clothes when she outgrew them, toys too. We shared a lot of things, including at one point an embarrassing, and some might say unhealthy, obsession with Nuno Bettencourt. There, i said it.

But for some reason we've had a hard time keeping in touch. Maria even live 5 minutes down the street, and we still never hang. Weird.

Here are my girls, a little blurry, making some crazy jello shot thingies. The tall one is Anna-Lullu, the baby. I know.

We had let everyone know from the beginning that we wouldn't be drinking that night, and everyone was cool with it. Cause we had the dog waiting at home and we had to go to work the next day. But that wasn't the whole truth.

The thing is, i don't really feel like drinking anymore. And i rarely do drink. Over the years i've just grown tired of it. The blackouts, the hellish hangover, the meaningless drunken arguments with my husband. I just don't feel like it anymore, so i don't go out much.
So, why not go out and not drink, isn't that an option? Sure. But here in Denmark you gotta be prepared to take some shit for it. To discuss why not and how come, often with complete strangers.
Cause we're a nation of drunks. Yep. Danes like their booze. Getting drunk (not just drinking, there's a difference) is a hobby here, like shopping is a hobby in Japan, and driving is a hobby in the States.
And when you don't want to get drunk, people for some reason, take it very personal. It's like you, by not drinking, are insinuating that they drink too much. You're messing with the natural order of things. You're a potential witness to everyone else's embarrassing drunken moments. And as the only one there, you'll remember those moments the next day.

And they'll come up with the lamest reasons to get you back on team booze.
Like at the 30th birthday party we went to two weeks ago. I was looking for some water to mix in my wine at the open bar, when some dude asked me why i needed the water, and i said "so i won't get too drunk" and he said something like "why, are you afraid to lose control and let down your guard?" Yeah, that's it exactly, oh wise one.*
There was no water, i got completely wasted for the first, and hopefully last, time this year and i spent the whole next day on the couch when i could have been watching Iron Man with Allan and Nick. Also, my bike viciously attacked me several times on the way home, and i have the bruises to prove it.

So on sunday, would our friends have said "ok, whatever" if we'd told them that we don't feel like drinking much anymore? Or would they have tried to convince us to join the party?
I like to think that these particular people wouldn't care either way. Cause you know, they're awesome.
But many people do, making going out sober in Copenhagen an almost impossible task.

And tomorrow i have to do it again, this time without the work excuse.

*That guy was ridiculous by the way, but i've been typing enough for one day. More stories about him, and more long lost friends, tomorrow.


  1. Right on, yellow pants! Jeg ved, hvad du mener. Jeg drikker stadig gladeligt en øl, et glas vin, en ikke så meget og ikke så tæt som før. Og på sær vis er der fulgt en del mistroiske blikke og kommentarer med den udvikling...måske er det en aldersting.

  2. portland is the same as copenhagen when it comes to booze!
    portland loves booze, coffee, and naked ladies. we have the most strip clubs of anywhere in the u.s. maybe its the nine months of rain that causes these vices.