Due to my other half suffering from a spectacular bout of food poisoning on valentine’s day (romantic I know), we went out last night for a belated celebration. With an exquisite lack of foresight we decided not to book (Friday night at 7pm – always a quiet time in city centre restaurants! duh). Optimistically, off we trotted to an independent Mexican in Leeds (Las Iguanas) and, unsurprisingly, we were met with a look of disdain and told to wait in the bar.
Now, I’ve been teetotal for nearly a year and three months (minus a three week booze-up over christmas) and I’ve celebrated all kinds during that time. Weddings, birthdays, New Year’s Eve, anniversaries, a new job, you name it. And there’s always been that nagging sense that celebration = alcohol. And so it was last night. We went through to the restaurant bar and were met with an array of spirits, beers, wine and cocktails. A sense of longing and deprivation surged up inside me. “It’s Valentine’s Day!” it said (well sort of). “I deserve a drink!” I didn’t want anything in particular. I just felt that as it was Valentine’s Day, I should have something alcoholic and a lemonade or J20 would be, well, a bit rubbish.
But then I found the ‘mocktail’ section of the menu – and somehow this felt different. Multiple ingredients, reassuringly expensive, served in a fancy glass and described using satisfyingly elegant language. I forked out three quid for what was basically dressed up fruit juice, and I was satisfied. It was Valentine’s Day; I had my fancy drink. One I didn’t usually drink and was something of a splurge. I no longer felt deprived.
Why is this? Is it just me? Are you reading this thinking ‘what a ridiculous story – there’s no way a mocktail is as good as a glass of wine’? Or is drinking really just an expression of our need to ‘treat’ ourselves after the stresses and strains of life? Let me know!
(By the way, if you’re interested, I totally pied out on four fajitas with extra cheese and a pudding – totally worth it!)