Why it's best to think twice before asking: 'Fancy a drink?'

You can’t ask me that! Continuing her series tackling socially unacceptable questions, Christine Manby explores one that is perhaps a lot more accepted than it should be...

Wednesday 02 January 2019 11:02 GMT
Illustrations by Tom Ford
Illustrations by Tom Ford

Do you fancy a drink? I know I do. October is my birthday month and ordinarily I’d be spending most of it using being another year older as an excuse for champagne. Not this year, however. This year, I’m “going sober for October”.

Forget Dry January, October is now officially the month of abstinence. It started with Stoptober, which was aimed at helping people wanting to give up smoking. Then Stoptober’s backers, Macmillan Cancer Support, introduced Sober October, wherein participants commit to a month of not drinking to raise funds for the charity’s work.

This month won’t be the first I’ve had off alcohol this year. I took four weeks off drinking from the middle of August too. I’d like to say that it was a concern for my health that drove this decision, but in reality, it was driven by vanity. This year’s unexpectedly beautiful summer had a surprising impact on my drinking habits. There was a festival feeling to London’s sunny streets that called for pink wine, Aperol Spritz and long, cold beers. It suddenly seemed reasonable to approach another Wednesday night in Balham like the first night of an all-inclusive holiday in Antigua. I had a great time. But then I saw the photographs. I needed beer goggles to be able to bear looking at them.

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