Today I woke up with a teeny tiny hangover, and I thought to myself, it is nearly seven years since I have been drunk. When you have not been drunk for that amount of time, you look back on the killer hangovers you used to have with a certain amount of nostalgia. And while you maybe do not miss the hangovers themselves, you missed the benders you used to go on.
The first time I remember being drunk, although there may have been others, was when I was fifteen and on a coach full of package tourists headed for Kitzbühel, Austria, with my mother. Since my mum is a notorious skinflint, (and, unfortunately, through a Google search has started reading this blog), we had to take the cheapest route to a skiing holiday, which was, naturally enough, thirty hours via coach and ferry from London to Austria. Well, what else is a girl meant to do to fill the hours than buy a bottle of whiskey on the ferry?
Like I have mentioned, my mother is a bit odd about matters of sexuality. It was always all about, wait until you love somebody before you give the precious gift of your body to him yada yada. But then if she did catch me doing anything sexual, she didn't seem to care. So that made a lot of sense.
Take this trip to Austria. I don't really remember too much about it. I know it was the middle of the night and we were somewhere in Belgium and I was sitting between two teenage boys in the back and we were passing the whiskey back and forth (my mum was sitting a row ahead). I recall that everyone else was asleep, and yet I was singing something at the top of my lungs (which was a tad inconsiderate), and getting off with one (both??) of these lads. And then? Blank, until I woke up in the morning with the mother and father of all hangovers at some God forsaken service station where I was trying to force down a cup of coffee.
My mother then informs me that I was all over those boys "like a vine", before vomiting all over the floor and passing out. I said, "Why didn't you try and stop me?" To which she replied, "Ah, I thought it would teach you a lesson, not to drink so much." I suppose she did have a point. Since then I have never been able to touch whiskey.
The only time I had a sexual experience I can't remember (apart from the above) was when I was maybe mid-twenties, and I went to a party and drank quite a lot of tequila. I sat down on a sofa and started chatting to quite a sexy guy and we drank more tequila. Then the next thing I know it's the middle of the night and I look down and see that this dress I was wearing, which had about a hundred buttons down the front, has all the buttons open, and this guy is next to me telling me something like, "I can't do this. I have a girlfriend." Well, for one, he had obviously done quite a bit already. And for another, how the heck had I got off with this guy and not been able to remember a thing? Before I could quiz him further, he roared off into the night in his sports car.
The next day he told my friend that he really liked me and that we'd had a great night (had we?), but he had a girlfriend and so couldn't take it any further. Note to self: never drink tequila.
But where was I? Ah, hangovers. This is how we deal with them in the UK. You wake up feeling like shit, and some bright spark will always say, "Let's go for a fry up." For those unfamiliar with the concept, this involves bacon, eggs, sausages, baked beans, mushrooms and bread, all fried in industrial grade oil and served in a café full of builders who chain smoke and put their fags out in the yolk of their fried egg. Those fried breakfasts were… heaven. And they do 'sort you out' for a few hours, until you feel there is a vat of congealed grease sitting in your stomach like an ominous gremlin. At that point you complain to your friends that you feel a bit green. And they usually say, "have a fag, that will sort you out." And you have a fag, and that doesn't sort you out, and then, invariably, even though you know it doesn't make a bit of sense, you go out Sunday night and have a few pints and finally, finally, that does sort you out.
I guess years of this kind of lifestyle is why it has taken me about two years to get myself into good physical shape. I can't imagine having stayed in the UK and not drinking a lot, because it is just that sort of place. At some point I used to hang out with some Alcoholics Anonymous people, who were convinced I was an alcoholic, probably because those people are always desperate for new converts. I said I didn't think I was, because I had no compulsion to drink. If there was no alcohol in the house, I would not go and buy some. Yes, they said, but you are still an alcoholic. Right. Whatever. In their eyes everyone is in denial.
Which brings me to my final point. Do you have any drunken experiences where you can't remember what the heck you got up to? Of course you do. But do you have any you want to share?
Who am I? Displaced Londoner now living in the States with my two little girlies and long suffering husband. Co-author of hilarious parenting book Cocktails at Naptime www.cocktailsatnaptime.com
My mom's an Austrian, my dad's a Brit, which makes me a Britaustrian, or possibly an Austrish?