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Why is drinking alcohol so popular?

(245 Posts)
ElderlyPerson Sat 19-Jun-21 16:08:34

I am male. When I was younger, in my 20s, there was often social pressure to drink alcohol.

I have never smoked, always avoided it, but I have tried beer, uh, I thought it tasted horrible, so no. I have tried sherry, why the fuss about it? I had some wine once, well, didn't seem anything worth drinking to me. I know, out of step with most people, I am wondering what they all see in it. I get offers from a well-known supermarket for bottles of wine for ONLY £4.99, which seems a lot of money to me. I think that it is a good job that I don't drink alcohol, I don't think I could afford to!

I think that the most recent time I drank alcohol was over forty years ago at a cousin's wedding, and then only a sip from a glass of champagne so as not to appear rude.

I always had a soft drink at events in a pub or staff parties and the like. Certainly I would not drink and drive anyway, but saying 'no thank you, I'm driving' when offered alcohol was a convenient get out.

Yet drinking alcohol seems very popular. I think I saw somewhere that a lot of young adults these days do not drink alcohol and that is now mainstream culturally widely accepted, whereas years ago, the bemused attitude to someone male who did not have a 'proper' drink was widespread.

I think that some people reading this who like an alcoholic drink may wonder in amazement at why I just don't understand why, but I am really don't understand why drinking alcohol is so popular and supplying it is such a major industry, though recognising from my limited experience of going in pubs that they always seemed to have a small selection of soft drinks available, though some seemed to be dual purpose, such as either a soft drink or as a mixer to make some sort of cocktail.

Mattsmum2 Sat 19-Jun-21 16:17:05

I’ve never really drank to excess, ever on a regular basis and only can remember terrible hangovers that put me straight off. I rarely drink now, the odd glass of wine once a week maybe. I too don’t get the mentality of binge drinking, those that drink while getting ready and then more when they’re out. Believe me I love a party or social get together but it’s not all about getting plastered. I think some people do drink to take the edge of their stressful lives, a bit like drugs, it can relax you and take you to a nicer place. For me it only really sent me to sleep. I don’t think there’s a reason generally as everyone is different 😀

Grandmabatty Sat 19-Jun-21 16:28:05

I wouldn't say that it is a modern thing. Drinking too much has gone back to Roman times. When I was younger, you could only buy alcohol in off licenses which had strict opening hours. I recall my parents used to use a lemonade bottle to get draft sherry for parties in the 60s and 70s. I think it has become much easier to buy alcohol because it's readily available in supermarkets but a culture of drinking has been around for most of my life.

Ilovecheese Sat 19-Jun-21 16:33:06

Try Googling "Hogarth's London" hardly recent times!

Callistemon Sat 19-Jun-21 16:36:00

The earliest known evidence comes from 7,000 BCE in China, where residue in clay pots has revealed that people were making an alcoholic beverage from fermented rice, millet, grapes, and honey. Within a few thousand years, cultures all over the world were fermenting their own drinks.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Sat 19-Jun-21 16:48:35

I think on the whole that it's accepted a bit better these days if you don't want to drink but OTOH some take it to extremes. Some youngsters I know think it's a sign of having had a good time the previous night if you're feeling dreadful next day - this I cannot fathom at all. Just plain silly. There'll always be those who don't know when to stop. I was once told, "the world is full of fools" which is so true.

M0nica Sat 19-Jun-21 16:53:32

There is nothing remarkable about disliking alcoholic drinks and nothing remarkable about liking them.

There are all kinds of foods that are an acquired taste - marmite for example, anchovies, goats cheese and for each of those items there will be plenty who are utterly bemused that anyone could possibly want to eat them and others bemused that anyone could not enjoy them. This applies to alcohol

And there are also foods we do not like at first taste, or even second, third or fourth but on the fifth taste suddenly it becomes our favourite food. My DS did this with mushrooms, she really did not like them but became intrigued because everyone else did, so started to eat small quantities, the portions grew bigger and she ended absolutely loving them. This happens with alcohol as well.

The problem is while no one takes much notice if you do not like marmite or milk or eggs, because of the socialising and inebriation associated with alcohol people make a big deal if you do not drink it.

Personally, I have never let that bother me. I am not teetotal, but I have never drunk much, especially when I was young and ys people would try and put pressure on me, but I just ignored them. I had an uncle who was completely teetotal because like you elderlyperson he didn't like alcoholic drinks. He never let it bother him or took any notice of anyone who tried to make him act differently.

There are plenty more like you out there.

Kate1949 Sat 19-Jun-21 17:12:48

I enjoy a few glasses of wine. It's relaxing and enjoyable. I couldn't care less if other people drink or not. My father was an alcoholic and was a vile man. Some people in my position wouldn't touch alcohol but I'm not like my father. My life has been difficult and if I fancy a few glasses, I have them.

MerylStreep Sat 19-Jun-21 17:16:09

MOnicas story about her son reminded me of myself in relation to gin and olives.
All my friends over the years loved both: not me😟
But I wouldn’t give up and finally cracked the secret ( or whatever it was) in my 40s. I’ve never looked back. 😋🥂

M0nica Sat 19-Jun-21 17:24:20

My response to the title of this thread, is why shouldn't alcoholic drinks be popular? One person's meat is another person's poison.

NfkDumpling Sat 19-Jun-21 17:31:44

I agree M0nica. According to Tim Specter it's all down to your microbiome and genes. I like spirits. And real ale. But not wine. Most if my friends love a glass or two of wine but hate spirits. We're all different. Its what makes us interesting.

I also hate losing control so I dont drink to excess and rarely have.

Nannarose Sat 19-Jun-21 17:34:22

I think that a lot of effort has gone in to making drinks like wine, beer and gin more standardised and more to the general palate than they used to be.
I was brought up in a 'moderate drinking' family.

I like the taste of wine, beer, cider, and some spirits. If only the non-alcoholic versions tasted as good, I'd never touch alcohol! In fact it is the alcohol that makes me limit my drinking because I don't like how I feel after a couple of glasses, but the drink itself is lovely!
I don't like most fruit juices or any sweet / fizzy drinks. I do drink quite a lot of water, and use a soda stream to fizz my own.
I rarely drink spirits with mixers, a very occasional local gin and tonic and sometimes Pimms when out in the summer. I do enjoy a whisky, especially the peaty ones.

Of course alcohol can be a problem for some people and in some situations, but the taste and the decision to spend money on it is for most of us, very individual.

ginny Sat 19-Jun-21 17:34:43

I’m teetotal from choice. Never found it a problem and just ignored any jibes .
I’ve no problem with anyone enjoying a drink or two.
However I am often amazed at how just a few alcoholic drinks can change a persons behaviour .

greenlady102 Sat 19-Jun-21 17:40:48

M0nica

My response to the title of this thread, is why shouldn't alcoholic drinks be popular? One person's meat is another person's poison.

absolutely this. There are many things that are "popular" that not everybody likes. I do wonder why the folk who dislike the thing are concerned about what other people do. I dislike coconut, even the smell makes me heave but I don't get worried about why others like it.

Bluebellwould Sat 19-Jun-21 17:48:52

I haven’t had alcohol for years, can’t stand the taste, smell or effect. I do find it astonishing that drinking alcohol is mentioned so much on TV. All those house buying/selling programmes and their ‘imagine sitting here with a glass of wine’. Why can’t they say ‘imagine sitting here with a bag of crisps’. 🤣

ayse Sat 19-Jun-21 17:49:57

I’ve done drinking too much, not drinking at and now I have an occasional alcoholic drink.

Has anyone else noticed how so many TV programmes have people coming in from work and immediately heading for a bottle of some description. It’s the go to drink when someone is stressed or wants to let their hair down. It’s everywhere. It’s part of the fabric of our society and I’ve found that people still try to push alcohol on me when I’ve already said no. I just ignore the social push.

Apparently many young people are now not drinking alcohol. I can only think this is a good thing. As Granny used to say, “a little of what you fancy does you good” and “you can have too much of a good thing”.

Each to their own but moderation is key, IMO.

rosie1959 Sat 19-Jun-21 17:50:31

Elderlyperson you obviously haven’t drunk enough alcohol to experience why it is so popular
Down a couple of large glasses of decent wine and you might find out Not the £4.99 a bottle stuff that’s usually not very good will have to up it a couple of pounds

ayse Sat 19-Jun-21 17:52:31

Mattsmum2

I’ve never really drank to excess, ever on a regular basis and only can remember terrible hangovers that put me straight off. I rarely drink now, the odd glass of wine once a week maybe. I too don’t get the mentality of binge drinking, those that drink while getting ready and then more when they’re out. Believe me I love a party or social get together but it’s not all about getting plastered. I think some people do drink to take the edge of their stressful lives, a bit like drugs, it can relax you and take you to a nicer place. For me it only really sent me to sleep. I don’t think there’s a reason generally as everyone is different 😀

Alcohol is a drug just like class A, B etc. and does as much damage to families as other drug taking.

Blossoming Sat 19-Jun-21 17:57:28

If you don’t want to drink it, then don’t. I rarely drink as it doesn’t mix with my meds, but I do enjoy good wine, gin or Scotch. I like the taste and the warmth. I never drink to excess as my legs stop working 😊

Chewbacca Sat 19-Jun-21 18:09:34

I'm completely tee total and have been since the age of 18 when I got rat arsed at a party and was ill for weeks. I've never had the urge to touch the stuff since. However, there is no doubt at all that not drinking has affected my social life. I've been called a party pooper (just loosen up!), I've had my soft drinks spiked (as though I wouldn't immediately know) and I've been asked if I'm a recovering alcoholic (I'm not)! I'm rarely asked to accompany friends to the pub because it's assumed that, if I don't drink alcohol, I also don't socialise and so wouldn't want to go in a pub. The last time I did go to a pub with friends, they flatly refused to go the bar and order a soft drink for me saying "I'm not ordering a glass of pop for an adult!" (I ordered my own)
It was much more unusual, when I was younger, for people not to drink and there was more pressure put on me to "try it, you'll enjoy it if you just relax and stop thinking you'll be sick"..... I always was. There seems less pressure on people to drink these days and a lot more non alcoholic drinks available. But funnily enough, I always have beer, wine and spirits in the house for any friends and visitors who enjoy it. It wouldn't cross my mind to try it.

Cabbie21 Sat 19-Jun-21 18:18:02

My granddaughter who is 16 and just finished her exams, had a few friends round. They planned to drink a lot, but gave up after one or two. Just did t feel like it. I think it was a rite of passage and they realised they could then take it or leave it. Good for them.
I dont drink much at all, just an occasional bottle of white wine which lasts me for days, or a glass of cider. Red wine sends me to sleep.
I am sure staff in A & E might have a view of all the drinkers who become patients.

MerylStreep Sat 19-Jun-21 18:23:01

In my own personal experience, the further north you travel,
Russia, Finland, Norway Iceland the more they imbibe.
Top spot is between the Russians and Icelanders.

Callistemon Sat 19-Jun-21 18:23:26

I've had my soft drinks spiked (as though I wouldn't immediately know)
I've had that too, some little so and so put a vodka into my orange juice when he served it; I was pregnant at the time but not showing.
I was very sick, perhaps just as well.

trisher Sat 19-Jun-21 18:34:33

Oh dear !I had some great times under the influence! Some alcohol is an aquired taste, some tastes vile, some tastes wonderful. It's no different to all the other drinks you can get- huge variety. But especially when you are young it eases social contact, makes you feel good and helps loosen you up. I can actually be quite critical of the drink I'm having, I enjoy a good red wine and love a decent single malt. My late FIL who was in the trade even trusted my views on beer which was unheard of for him. Perhaps that's why I consider drinking just part of life, many of my family were in the business. I remember being plied with "champagne cocktails" by my parents' friends when I was 17. It was actually Brandy and Babycham-lethal. My maternal GM carried a bottle of brandy in her handbag -for 'mediseenal purposes'. I was doomed from the start.

Callistemon Sat 19-Jun-21 18:37:35

Just enjoying a small glass of Shiraz

I may even have another one as it's Saturday night.

It was actually Brandy and Babycham-lethal.
I asked DH for one of those on about our second date.
He said later he thought "Blimey, she's an expensive date!"