Jamie Klingler is an author, founder of Creative Influence Alliance and The Salon Host’s resident source of personal wellness inspiration who spent all of quarantine quitting booze and getting in shape. Whether you’re looking for a little inspo or a total reality check, Jamie has you covered.
It’s uncomfortable to be the only non-drinker at an event. I’ve never wanted to be a bother. I never want to make someone go out of their way; which is weird as I take other people’s dietary preferences as a challenge. How can I make the spread as easy for them, so they don’t feel left out or fear that they will get “glutened” aka poisoned for a coeliac.
But here’s the thing – although there is a huge difference between a genuine allergy and someone who is just trying to stay off carbs and lose some weight, the underlying fact is that it’s none of your business why someone is or is not eating or drinking certain things. And in 2021, a good host doesn’t ask.
My mission for this year is to impress upon people that it is not your business why a woman is not drinking. It’s also not your business why a man isn’t; but with women; the question immediately turns to pregnancy. In the middle of a global pandemic; when most bars and restaurants are closed; I have still had at least fifteen people ask me if I am expecting when I refuse an alcoholic beverage. Now, if you have read any of my other pieces, you’ll know I am pretty much an open book. But for lots of people, this is an incredibly loaded and unkind question.
I am part of a WhatsApp support group called SPILL (Sober Party Industry Ladies and Lads) and we often discuss the anxiety around going to an event and having to constantly justify your decision not to drink. I know women who pretend to drink to avoid the question and pregnant women who have a history of miscarrying that aren’t yet ready to share the news- carrying a glass of red wine around to not seem obvious.
So here I go – here is my moratorium on asking why someone is not partaking in alcohol.
As a good host, having some non-alcoholic alternatives available is key. And have the alternatives easily obtainable, so it doesn’t take someone yelling, “Oh you are the one that needs the NON ALCOHOLIC drink!” Make it seamless.
When I joined my current company, the managing partner had just announced her pregnancy and we were all called to the common area for celebratory drinks. Very discreetly, I was handed a glass of no-secco. It was my very first public event since I had quit drinking and that little kindness; that not making me stand out; or feel left out helped pave the way for my attending each and every one of these events in the future rather than hiding in the bathroom to avoid the whispers or questions.
And as a host; isn’t it so much better to be known for that little extra kindness?