Thursday, March 25, 2010

TMI Thursday: Why I Don't Drink Gin

Hey there, bloggy buddies! It's that time of week again, the time in which I will bare pieces of my tawdry past and share some of the moments that have made me least proud of myself. As always if you'd like in on this action or if you crave more TMI goodness, head on over to LiLu's blog for more TMI Thursday fun.

Today I will tell you a story about my first time. No, not that first time, but if you're nice maybe I'll tell you that story someday too. No, I'm talking about the beginning of a very different love affair, one that remains a part of my life to this very day despite a rather rocky start. Yup, I'm talking about booze.

I was 15 and had been invited over to my friend Cath's* house for a sleep-over with another girl, Donna*. At this age I was firmly in my inexplicably angsty "I hate my mother" phase, so of course she and I had a big fight at dinner before I went to Cath's. My mom is not the easiest person to get along with, but at that age I'm sure I was no treat either. I don't remember what our fight was about that night, but I do remember her driving me to Cath's house in stony silence and me slamming the door hard behind me when I got out.

Once at Cath's place I was determined to move past the fight, so we went to her room and hung out. I remember watching Madonna's oh-so-scandalous Justify My Love video many times; Donna had confiscated a VHS copy of it from her older sister and we were sufficiently titillated by it.

Back in Cath's room Donna produced a pilfered bottle of gin from her backpack, and we proceeded to get smashed. I don't even recall if we mixed it with anything, but something tells me that we didn't. As is always the case with Young Bev I pushed past the revulsion I felt for the taste and downed a whole helluva lot of it.

The rest of the night is a blur; what remains in my memory is like a movie directed by Darren Aronofsky: repetitive flashes and blurry snippets of some rather horrifying images. I remember hearing The Doors playing somewhere in the background. Laughing. Flopping on the floor with the other girls, laughing. Not being able to get back up. The ceiling. A yellow plastic bucket. The return of that night's meatloaf dinner into said bucket. The concerned face of Cath's mother hovering. Me crying. Me saying I hate my mother, again and again and again. Me in the shower with my clothes on. And then nothing.

The next morning I awoke to my very first hangover. I was dressed in Cath's too-short sweatpants and shirt, my hair smelled horrible (cigarettes, gin, and puke, or Eau De Lohan as I've come to think of it), my head was splitting, and there was a stinky yellow bucket sitting next to me on the floor. I had never felt so sick or worried or embarrassed in my life, but it was about to get even worse.

Cath's parents had gotten divorced a few years earlier and her mother had a new live-in boyfriend named Ron. Ron had one of those lazy eyes that makes it difficult to tell which one to look at when you're speaking to him, and when we shuffled into the kitchen that morning he seemed to be looking at all three of us at once... but mostly at me.

The empty bottle of gin sat on the counter in front of us. He settled himself on a stool on the other side of the counter, leaned onto his elbows and peered at my puffy face before saying quietly, "Tell me about your mother."

I stammered and swallowed hard. Clearly they thought I was living in some sort of abusive home thanks to my drunken whining, and I suddenly had visions of Ron calling my mother and telling her about all of the horrid things I'd said about her in my drunken stupor. I mumbled something about just having had a fight the night before, she's not that bad, we just don't get along sometimes, and no... she doesn't hit me. Eeeeeeesh.

Thank goodness I was saved by the sound of my sister's car in the driveway. Grabbing my things and apologizing my way out the door, I dashed for the safety of her car. My sister is 6 years older than I am and had recently graduated from college and purchased her very first brand new car. She had to buy a new car because of yours truly, but that's another story for another day; suffice to say that her last car lead me to my first near-death experience and ended up a hunk of twisted metal in a junkyard. Because I'm awesome like that.

Come to think of it, it's really a miracle that she still speaks to me at all.

I confessed immediately, and true to form she was kind but took great delight in teasing me about it. "Oh, Pookie," (SHUT UP) she murmured, shifting her new car as we accelerated away from the house of shame. Her car was a blue Ford Probe and we were both a little bit in love with it.

She did what any good sister would do and coached me on what to say to mom: that I was sick, that I had thrown up, that I just needed to be left alone for a while. I was too inexperienced to know that alcohol has a way of making its presence known the next day - its acrid stench seeps from your pores and offends anyone who gets too close. I know that now. Debbie took me through the McDonald's drive-thru and bought me a small orange soda, which I sipped gratefully and gingerly.

Four minutes later I repaid her for her kindness by opening my mouth and spewing the orange soda all over the windshield and dashboard of her new car. It was thin vomit, pure orange soda, really, but it went everywhere and was a sticky drippy mess.

My darling sainted sister said nothing, but her mouth hung open in a wounded way that still haunts me, even though thankfully we laugh about this incident now. Mostly.

I started to cry and she took me home and escorted me past my suspicious mother to my room, where I stayed for the rest of the day. To this day, I can't even stand the smell of gin. Or orange soda. Thankfully my mother has never once mentioned this incident, but her face at dinner that night told me that she knew. Oh yes, she knew.

So that's that. Tell me about the first time you drank, won't you? Misery does love company!

*Names changed to hide their shame.


Salt said...

Yowza! I think my first experience with alcohol was just drinking a beer or two that had been taken from a friend's dad. THAT, my friend, is a STORY!

I never want to drink orange soda or gin again after reading it!

Senorita said...

Your stories are hilarious !

The first time I drank was when I was ten.

My parents were scared that I would give into peer pressure later in life, so they bought hard liquor and made me drink and smoke until I got sick.

That is why I don't like alcohol, and I haven't smoked since.

tracey said...

Too many rum & cokes on an empty stomach + accepting a ride home from a boy you've had a crush on for a long time but you shouldn't b/c he was a secret pervert = narrowly avoiding date rape by puking on him & all over his precious truck.

My cousins got even with him - they never told me how, but the guy wouldn't even look at me after that. God bless their psychopathic hearts.

Didn't drink again for a looooong time.

Ginger said...

My parents let us drink a little growing up so I don't have an exciting first story. But my first "grown up" drinking story involved a lot of tequila and losing clothing at a rapid pace. As do most of my drinking stories now...

I guess some things never change!

Mala said...

Oh your sister is a saint! I'd just tie a rope 'round ya and drag you home behind the car. What? New car! C'mon!

Like Ginger, my parents always allowed us to drink, even though they don't. So I don't remember my first time and have no exciting stories. That is, until I got to college. And then my stories involved strippers and impaling myself on my little white picket fence.

Cary said...

Oh yeah, she knew. Chaperone FAIL at Cath's house, eh?

The great thing about puking in a car is that the smell will be there forever. Clean all you want, but five years from now after your car sits closed up on a warm day, the first whiff you get when you open the door is lovely vintage vomit.

My first big drunk was in college at a Halloween party. They served orange hunch punch, as we called it.. orange soda spiked with Everclear. I started puking orange around 10p and didn't stop until the next afternoon. Good times!

Frank Irwin said...

It wasn't the first time I drank, or got drunk, but there was the poker game at Mom's house. We started out drinking Margaritas, but when those became too much trouble to make, we went to Prairie Fires, which is a shot of tequila with Tobasco Sauce (just keep shaking it until your wrist gets tired).

The next morning, I asked Mom if I got up once, in the middle of the night, to go throw up in the toilet.

"Not once, but twice, and one time, I was in there laughing at you!" was her response.

That woman treats me too well.

jessica o said...

Eau de Loha - HA!

Same as Ginger and Mala. Now that I am a mom I would never have my kid go light my cigarette on the stove or give her a beer because we ran out of soda. Soda's so much cheaper.

jessica o said...


MJenks said...

I will tell you of my first time drinking. Next Thursday. That means you have to come back!

Gin and orange soda sounds like the concoction a degenerate would use to lure prepubescent girls into his black van. Well done, Bev, well done indeed.

Harmony said...

I was 17 and went to a house party with my older sister. There was parental supervision..but he was tripping out over the little green men staring at him. Drank a shit ton of vodka, passed out, puked on the couch and then took flight down the hallway to the bathroom..shouting "I'm flying..I'm really flying" on the way. Sigh *smacks head* Everything after that belongs to the dark abyss of my subconscious.

Elliott said...

Being the good Wisconsin kid I was, I had sips/swigs of beer and brandy before I hit double-digits. I remember my father dipping my sister's pacifier in brandy before bedtime so she'd sleep. What? It was the 70's, she turned out just fine.

As a kid, I remember getting an entire grasshopper at the neighbor's, and getting a little buzz from sucking vodka out of all the limes in everyone's gimlets at the neighbor's parties, but I never drank on my own until after college.

My first full-time employer's corporate attorneys held an open house. I was still in my shy, fat reclusive stage, so I figured I'd have a beer to fit in.

Cue the swelling, hives and fever after half a bottle, and having my boss (an RN) and our insurance adjuster (also a former RN) huddled around me, worried they'd have to take me to the hospital.

I got pulled over the very next night on suspicion of drunk driving, though after the law office incident, I didn't drink for two more years.

Elliott said...

Dammit, jenks! You'll give away all my secrets! Thankfully that eight-year-old up the block doesn't read Bev's blog...

Lucy said...

Oh, my stomach got a little weezy just reading this story!

Bev said...

I love all of these stories, ya buncha lushes, you. ;) J/K - I'm clearly the most dysfunctional of all of us. I own it.

Frank, you get bonus points for drinking with your mom AND for drinking what is possibly the most vile-sounding shot I've ever heard of. I love hot sauce, but just... no. That sounds like heartburn in a glass!

Liz Tee said...

Oh hell, I remember a couple of times my friend Lisa and I would pour little bits from each of our parents' liquor bottles into a big glass then forcing ourselves to drink it, and stuffing lettuce leaves in our mouths to kill the taste. I think I was 13. Maybe 14? I still can't drink gin either.

Although I think the first time I ever drank was at my first concert, when I was 13. I went with my friend Susan to see Yes at Market Sq Arena because a couple of boys asked us. They passed around a bottle of cherry vodka or something, then came a joint (also my first). I don't remember much about the rest of the night except riding up and down in an elevator making out with a guy.

Sad thing is I didn't even know who Yes was at the time. I bet it was a good show.

Del-V said...

The first time I drank was at my friends house we drank maybe 3 or 4 beers each in his basement and watched movies. I was 15.

It's sad because it's 20 years later and that's exactly what I still do!

laurieliz said...

Oh my! Yours sounds somewhat like mine. Except it was at MY house. I was 14 or 15 and it was summer night and 3 of my friends and I were all going to camp outside in my parents camper. My dad built a campfire and gave us marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate and left us alone. So after they were in bed (they actually passed out at 9ish-?!?), we crept into the house armed with flashlights to "go to the bathroom". My parents kept a liquor cabinet but rarely drank. There were 5 to 10 yr old bottles of red, green, blue, and clear stuff...I don't even remember what they were....In order to not get caught, we just poured some of each into a large glass and refilled the bottles slightly with water.
We all took turns sipping the vile stuff until we puked. Yes, we literally skipped the happy, drunk part and went immediately to the retching, regretful phase....I don't know how it happened, but we all woke up, took showers, and were never caught. My parents were either too trusting or too oblivious..

From that point on, I would pretend to sip the same beer all night for YEARS...until I discovered wine...and the rest, as they say, is history!

laurieliz said...


Are you saying you are allergic to alcohol?

Elliott said...

Laurieliz - the last part amuses me, when I'd drink with friends I'd go to the bathroom with my beer, dump the beer (to avoid the breakout) and fill it with water. Brown beer bottles are great, I'd just keep filling the same bottle all night and people thought I was a hard drinker.

Elliott said...

I outgrew it, for the most part. I still get a little flush from time to time if I drink too fast (see: tequila and beer at the Mexican restaurant), but I can go to the bar and do shots with friends all night, no problem.

Mala said...

Oh wait, I do recall this one time when a friend *cough - Bev - cough*and I drank everything in my apartment until we were left only with Chambord and milk... who knew mixing the two makes milk curdle? We drank it anyways.
The following day was bad. Really, really bad.

Bev said...

Liz - I've missed many a great concert that way. It's such a shame! My first joint was later that year, I believe, but I didn't even get high from it. It wouldn't "take" till I went to college, but I'm a trooper so I kept at it! ;)

Elliott, I'm glad to hear you got over the allergy. That... would suck.

Laurz - I totally sneaked booze from my parents' untouched bar and replaced it with water too! I have a very bad story involving pickle jars filled with vodka and V-8 Splash. ::shudder::

Mala - Oh, the memories. I still remember waking up in your guest room the next day and driving myself the quarter mile back to my apartment in some sort of half-coma.

Bev said...

Oh and Del-V, that's how I party these days too. Nothin' wrong with 'dat!

BigSis said...

Eau de Lohan. I love it!

clevelandpoet said...

got drunk on jack in 11th grade before school and had to do a poetry reading somehow the teach was oblivious and I got away with it...left school and spent the rest of the day getting more wasted in a Mcdonalds all the while writing a play.

the love affair with jack continues today!

onebadmamajama said...

I joined the USAF right out of high school. While I had some experience with booze (think weak screwdrivers and beer), I had nothing on my new professional alcoholic friends and coworkers!

There was one party in particular that is the reason the mere sight of a Jack Daniel's bottle makes me gag. I don't remember much, except now I realize that a JD bong is not such a good idea! I also have a vague recollection of puking on someone's pink SHAG bathroom rug and a rockin' THREE day hangover.

Man, those were the days!!

MJenks said...

Okay, let's stop making fun of the people with allergies to alcoholic beverages.

MJenks said...

I hear grape soda works better for enticing the kids, Elliot. Or strawberry.

Yeah. Hear. *shifty-eyed*

Samsmama said...

Oh, Frank. Prairie Fire shots? I served those up in my bartending days. To people who lost bets.

I'd have to think of my first time. Pretty sure it was at a high school mixer and that I puked and lost my shoe. Wait. That was my first time having sex. Shoot. Have to think harder.

mo.stoneskin said...

So, why don't you drink gin huh? I mean that was a long time a go and gin is very nice, with tonic mind you, neat it IS a bit great aunt.

I was a good kid, seriously, but I do remember drinking a lot of white wine a few times which is probably why I generally hate the stuff now, still makes me do the twitchy neck thing.

MtnMama said...

My parents gave bridge parties and I had to load the dishwasher, so I used to sip the remnants of their drinks as I put the glasses in the top rack. (something that the mere idea of gags me today, but whatever)
So my “first drink” is not in memory, but I have so many horrible teenage fiascos to replace it with, it’s okay.
One memory: Over at Kathy’s house, several of us high school girls, no parental units on deck, we had purchased a bottle of vodka from the very friendly Asian liquor store guy, and proceeded to down it with some kind of mix. Probably soda. I vaguely remember drunken laughter and listening to records (this friend later was big into Pat Benatar and Asia, so I can only imagine) Somehow I made it all the way outside before puking my guts out, for which I was quite proud, though it was probably set off by the smell of my friend’s smoking. Anyway, next day the next door neighbors are apparently all pissed off because their shrubbery, next to the driveway, is covered with puke and three bean salad (my dinner). No one wanted to pick the beans out of the decorative rock, so the story goes. I remember being only well enough to be slightly embarrassed, but mortified that no one forgot about the three bean salad bushes for YEARS.

MtnMama said...

Oh yeah, and in my bartending days, Prairie Fire shots were quite popular.

Heidi Renée said...

My first time getting drunk was on study abroad in England. I was 19. I dumped red wine all over myself in the subway station, and that was before I was actually drunk. Once I was completely blotto, I got into a fight with a fellow student about what his name was. I also lost my room keys and had to pay a huge fine to get a new set.

Another time on study abroad, we went to a club and I got trashed with some random Macedonian guy who proceeded to nearly pull my pants down on the dance floor. When I walked out of the club with my friends, one of the guys clued me in to my overexposure. My pants button was still fastened, but my belt was hanging out of one loop and my zipper was all the way down.

These days I take very little with me on drinking adventures, and my husband holds my ID. Last time we went out, I lost an earring and that was it. He has never tried to pants me while dancing, but give him time.

meleah rebeccah said...

I found you through Lilu’s TMI posts and I am so glad I did!!

I cracked up laughing when I read how you smelled of "(cigarettes, gin, and puke, or Eau De Lohan as I've come to think of it)".

And his post reminded me exactly why I don't drink tequila!

You have an awesome sister for getting you home, back into your bedroom , and past your mother!

Brooklyn ML said...

An illicit party in a backyard barn. I was 15. There was a frothy blue drink and some beer involved, then blackouts, and flashes of clarity. Rolling around vomiting in a pile of horseshit, then puking up grass. Apparently I spoke French, too. For years, I couldn't even smell rum without gagging.

laurieliz said...

Elliott...Thank the Good Lord!

All of these stories are immensely amusing..except your Senorita...That is disturbing....Really? The MADE you smoke and drink til you puked when you were 10?!? I am glad it worked but they were kinda harsh, no?

And in college, anyone do the whole Goldschlager and Jagermeister thing as much as I did? I didn't even like that crap jut did what everyone else was doing...

Anonymous said...

Hilarious Bev..seriously was laughing my butt off reading this!

Mine was Little Sibs weekend at my brother's college...I think I weighed like 100 pounds and my friend and I got wasted on crappy beer. Puked all over his fraternity house, took out my contacts and sprayed them with Degree deoderant and woke up with two pairs of underwear on. In the morning I was totally perplexed as to why my contact lens solution looked soapy and then was dumb enough to actually try and put my contacts in my eyes.

My trips to visit my brother proved to be continued trouble as a few years later I went back with several of my sorority sisters, attended a canoeing fraternity date party and ended up in jail in a bikini. I was in there with a redneck also locked up who's shirt said "I f*ck on first dates". I even ate dinner in jail that night! I'm still known to my brother's friends as jail bait. Fun times!!
- Allison