My First Social Weekend Without Alcohol Proved How Stupid I Am

It’s 11 p.m. Do you know where your dopamine is?

Jill Francis

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Women sitting in fancy cocktail dresses and holding coupe glasses of pink champagne.
Photo by Inga Seliverstova

Who among us wants to face the world these days, much less without a slight buzz on? It’s not just the fact that the world is imploding. Over a year of quarantine has also left us out of practice with being among humans and a lot of us left our social skills in our old pair of Going Out jeans. I may have had a tiny bit of compassion for myself if this were my excuse for drinking, but this is not my problem.

I don’t have shitty social skills. What I have is the ability to bust out the most charming, entertaining, fascinating interactions should we pass the evening together. All of this will arrive complete with an appealing suggestion for the perfect restaurant or a delicious menu in my immaculate home with a tasteful playlist. I will be dressed perfectly, smell good, and will have on at least one accessory that you love so much you can’t help but ask me where I got it. You will not, however, know that no matter how many times I throw back my head and laugh or suggest ten other activities that we can do together, I will be wishing like hell that I were on the couch with my Kindle in my husband’s old boxer shorts.

Do I not like you? No. That’s ridiculous. I like you a lot. I heart your Instagram posts and remember that your favorite wine is Pigato. Do I feel insecure? Not any more than any other 46-year-old woman who hasn’t yet stuck any needles in her face. Am I scared of being around chaos? I ran with both the bulls in Pamplona and the Club Kids in NYC in the early 90s, so no. So, what the frig is the problem?

I only know I don’t feel like it–any of it. Despite my previous obsession with seeing people and being seen by people, I am now anxious and nervous and cranky and DGAF. Yet, I know that being social is healthy for me, plus it makes my very extroverted husband happy. So, I usually do a little sip-sip to act as Drano for my party pipes and let the good times roll.

For example, if I’m having friends over around 7:30, I am eyeballing the tequila by 5:45 while snipping the ends off the green beans. By 6:15, I have dropped those puppies in salty water to blanch and am reaching for a tiny glass (which I lovingly refer to as “The Baby…

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Jill Francis

American immigrant in Italy with too many degrees in Psychology. I write about everything I’m afraid of. jillfranciswrites@gmail.com