How To Wrap a Present

Another Yuletide Adventure

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First, lay out all the gifts and cue up a good Christmas or Hanukkah movie. Gather snacks, scissors and wrapping paper. Look everywhere for the tape. Why is there no tape? You know you bought some, because last year you did this exact same thing and had to run out and buy it. Find the tape. It’s empty. Use every curse word you know. Contemplate using masking tape. You’re out of that too. Would duct tape be too obvious?

Get dressed up in coat, boots, mitts and make the precarious drive to the neighbourhood drugstore. Purchase tape.

Upon returning home, shed winter clothes and try to get back in “the spirit”. Start holiday movie.

Begin with the easiest packages, the nice, perfectly box-shaped ones. Cut way too much wrapping paper for the first one, an unmanageable, ridiculously sized square. Get half way through wrapping before admitting defeat and grabbing the scissors. Trim off the excess and feel bad about the too-small spools of waste littered around you.

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On the next gift, you don’t cut enough paper. Now you’re trying all the tricks, turning it this way and that (everyone knows putting it diagonally on the paper works wonders!), yanking the paper as taut as it will go, then a little tighter so it rips a little. No matter what you do, you still end up needing pieces from the useless end bits you cut from the last one. Not so useless now! Ahahahahahahaha! You are the mad scientist of gift wrapping! All will look upon your franken-present and tremble at your patchwork genius!

Keep wrapping. Lose your pre-cut piece of tape, the one you specifically cut so it’d be ready when you were in this compromised pose, trying to hold various folded edges together. Flail at your husband, who is wearing earbuds and doesn’t hear or notice you. Swear on your life that you will smash those earbuds the first chance you get. Give up, release the paper and your meticulous folding perfection and get a new piece of tape. Later, you find the missing tape stuck to your face. The universe is full of mysteries.

Now that you are nearing the end of your patience and gift wrapping has lost its magic, start trying to wrap the mishapen gifts, the various, soft, plushy items and impossibly angled kids toys. Announce to no one that next year everyone is getting books and boxes of macaroni.

Wrap presents until you run out of wrapping paper or tape, your knees give out, your back seizes, or all three. Look resentfully at the single present left waiting to be wrapped. Use all of your curse words. Tell yourself you’ll stop on your way home from work tomorrow for more wrapping paper/tape and wrap it then. Put it off for at least five days or until about an hour before you’re due to give it. Panic wrap it in a cold sweat before tearing out the door.

Congratulations! You have mastered gift wrapping.

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What Exactly Are We Celebrating?

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The holidays always make me feel like a hypocrite. Probably because I am one.

I don’t like to agree with sanctimonious religious people (they are the literal worst), but they are correct that I probably shouldn’t be celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, seeing as I don’t believe in God. And here I am, celebrating both.

How does an atheist end up celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah? Honestly, it sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but I didn’t walk into a bar and see a priest and a rabbi, if that’s what you’re wondering. The answer to all things holiday is – as with most people – family.

The simple answer to Christmas is that I was raised Catholic and grew up celebrating it and have continued to do so. Why not break up the bleakness of winter with an unhealthy dose of consumerism, am I right?

Luckily, my family is not religious, so there are no arguments over how I will not be attending mass, and my husband and I have managed to squash all hope of religious activity with my mother in law. (No long rambling prayers over an advent wreath for me, thank you very much.) She tried very hard, I’ll give her that.

As for Hanukkah, it came into my life when my sister converted. She fell in love with a Jewish man and found spiritual peace in the synagogue. It’s been around fifteen years since she made the switch and I’ve only just managed to learn how to spell it. (I’m lying. I still look it up every time. For some people it’s rhythm. For me it’s both.)

Every December since, we spend at least one night of Hanukkah with them and their faith and they join us for Christmas.

There are positives and negatives to this mish mash of holidays.

The obvious positive is the food. (Did you think I was going to say embracing multiple faiths and cultures in a loving circle of acceptance? Because… no. Food.) I will take any opportunity to enjoy a nice brisket, binge latkes and eat the appropriate amount of noodle kugel. (The key is to keep the portion small. A little bit? Delicious! A lot? Please no.) Give me blintzes, dumplings, turkey, mashed potatoes, rugelash and all the various Christmas cookies until I explode. Come one, come all!

The hard bit is navigating the various boring bits and inevitable awkwardness that comes with breaking various types of bread. For instance, my Jewish sister will only arrive on Christmas morning after Santa has come and gone. She is determined to keep her child from being wooed by the obvious temptation that is Santa and all his magic. She’s right too, because any child would be crazy not to go “Why the fuck aren’t we doing that?”

Nevermind that Santa has about as much to do with the Christian faith as he does with Judaism.

And before you give me the St. Nick garbage, first let me kindly invite you to jump off a cliff. I was raised Catholic, remember? I know the origin story. But Santa Claus is at best the alien cousin of St Nick, given that he is magic and rides in a sleigh with flying reindeer, when he’s not busy being the overlord over (again) magic elves.

There is also the yearly debate over whether I will attempt to find my nephew eight small gifts, in keeping with Hanukkah tradition, which makes spoiling him and buying his love while staying on budget difficult, or buy him 2 or 3 bigger presents, which feels like cheating. (It is cheating. And cheating wins. Cheating always wins. At least when he’s a teenager I can just split cash into eight envelopes and be done with it.)

When it comes to Christmas, my own Christmas spirit is mild at best and curmudgeon at worst. I don’t decorate. I don’t get a tree. I don’t love vacuuming up glitter for six full months after and wreaths and decorations make my house feel cluttered rather than magical. I enjoy other people’s lights but I’m not about to climb a ladder in sub-zero temperatures to put some up myself. My participation remains limited to buying gifts and baking treats.

Not to mention the addition of three birthdays in the month of December leaves me so frazzled by the end that I usually spend New Year’s Eve fast asleep by 8:30. And yet, there’s not a lot I would change. And what I would, I’m certainly not going to publish on the internet. (I’m sarcastic, not stupid.) This year more than ever, I’m looking forward to all the madness, if we’re able to manage it despite Covid. Because this grinch could use a little holiday magic. Or maybe just a long nap.

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The Book I’m Currently Obsessed With

There are certain books that come along once or twice a year that I get mildly obsessed with. Do you know what I mean? Those special, just so good books that turn into your number one recommendation for everyone? No matter who they are, you’re convinced they’ll love it because it’s simply so fabulous? And if they don’t, it’s kind of friendship off for a little while until you can get over it?

Lately, the book I’m obsessed with is Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia.

This book is amazing for a lot of reasons. First of all, it’s basically a love letter to The Westing Game, which already makes it a winner. Second, the writing is fantastic and did I mention it has everything? Don’t believe me? Okay. It has:

  • A loner main character who is funny, sarcastic, has some fab all-black witchy vibes and loves puzzles, especially the puzzle of figuring people out.
  • An eccentric billionaire who dies and leaves behind an epic treasure hunt that grants the winner a mysterious prize.
  • A ragtag crew of fellow weirdos that join Tuesday in the hunt for the treasure.
  • A muuuuuuuuurderrrrr
  • The ghost of a mysteriously disappeared childhood friend.

And just to be clear, whether or not it made me cry as I read it WELL into the early hours of the morning because I couldn’t put it down is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. (When you read it, you’re going to be all “Melanie, where? What part made you cry?” with a look of absolute incredulity, and to that I say, it made me feel things, okay? I empathize.)

If none of this convinces you to pick it up, I apologize for failing you. Because this is a book everyone should read. It’s masterful.

Now go to an actual, physical bookstore and purchase it (or order it for curbside pick up, depending on your city’s pandemic level). Bookstores need your love this time of year and Jeff Bezos certainly does not.

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My Favourite Skin Care Products for Winter

It’s that time of year again, where central heating ravages my skin and the constant nose blowing every time I come in from outside turns me into Rudolph. Cue the dry, itchy skin, am I right?

If you’re like me and winter turns you into a dried out husk, don’t worry. I’ve got your back. Well, mostly I have your face.

1. Pai Skincare – Rosehip Bioregenerate Facial Oil

This is a miracle oil. It tackles dryness, dullness, blemishes, redness, fine lines AND it’s good for all skin types. Pai prides themselves on formulating fabulous products specifically for sensitive skin, which is good news because mine definitely is.

Antipodes – Aura Manuka Honey Mask

Antipodes is a New Zealand based company that creates fabulous skin care products that are green, pollution free and science based. The Manuka Honey Mask uses sustainable wild Manuka honey and is deeply hydrating while also clearing away blemishes. It’s loaded with anti-oxidants and smells divine with vanilla pod and mandarin. I loooooove this mask!

Pai Skincare – Chamomile & Rosehip Day Cream

This lovely, light moisturizer soothes sensitive, eczema and rosacea prone skin while also delivering a good dose of hydration. It’s not oily and won’t make you feel greasy, just leaves skin glowing, calm and hydrated.

Dermalogica – Intensive Moisture Balance

Have I mentioned that my skin is VERY DRY? Because it is. And this is the only moisturizer I’ve found that can tackle the supreme dryness that comes with winter. It is ultra nourishing and helps repair your skin’s natural lipid barrier as well as rebalancing your skin’s microbiome. And yet, it doesn’t make your skin greasy. It’s one of the key weapons in my arsenal.

Dermalogica – Precleanse Balm

I’m a big fan of the double cleanse (if you haven’t tried it, HIGHLY recommend). For my first cleanse, this is my absolute favourite. I’ve tried a lot of oil cleansers (this is what you want to start with. It gets the make up and such off your face so your second cleanse can deep clean), and this by far is the best. The Precleanse Balm is specifically formulated for dry skin, so it nourishes and hydrates your skin while you cleanse. My skin always feels so soft and lovely after.

Thanks lovelies! May these products keep you young and dewy forever! Subscribe and share!

Five Funny Memoirs to Keep You In Stitches

Can I be honest? November is a bleak month. I don’t get in the holiday party mood until December, so it’s just a long month of cold, grey blah. I know I can’t be the only one, so I thought I’d do up a list of some of my favourite funny memoirs to keep you giggling like a demented lunatic until the sparkly lights can take over. Enjoy!

Bitter Is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

This is an oldie but a goodie. Jen writes about how she went from being a snotty, self indulgent former sorority girl with a household income of about a quarter million, to being evicted from a trash apartment in a terrible neighbourhood after the tech bubble burst in the early 2000’s. She is irrevent, judgmental and completely hilarious. I love this book.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

This is Mindy Kaling’s second memoir. I highly recommend her first as well, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, which is also excellent, but this was my favourite. Mindy talks about life in television and being a celebrity with wit and hilarity that had me laughing out loud and waking my husband up when he was trying to sleep.

How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

Okay, if you haven’t read this one yet, I don’t even know what to tell you. What have you been doing all this time? Sit your butt down and read this book and then follow it immediately with her next one, Moranifesto, which is also clever and hilarious and thoughtful. I adore this woman.

This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

I didn’t know much about Gabourey Sidibe when I picked up this book. I didn’t know her from Precious and I’d never seen Empire, but I loved the title so I went for it. I was not disappointed. Sidibe is sharp, funny and ruthless with her wit. I immediately fell in love with her and her story and to this day I would love to be her friend.

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby

I definitely have a strong love and appreciation for biting wit and sarcasm and Irby delivers in spades. Her memoirs are clever, funny, crude and she’s never afraid to shine a light on the parts of life that hurt with a humour that makes the medicine go down easy.

That’s it, kids. Stay in, stay safe and have fun reading these hilarious books!

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How to Do a Back Walkover According to the Tik Tok Video I Saw on Pinterest

Step 1: Do a Bridge

Do a bridge, preferably at a contortionist level. Your legs should be straight and your back bent in half. When people look at you, the angle of your spine should make them visibly uncomfortable.

Step 2: Walk Down a Wall

Now it’s time to walk down a wall into a bridge. Okay, sure. No problem. Just turn your back to a wall, reach behind you and walk your hands down towards the ground as if you won’t get stuck there. It’s easy! Just bend completely in half, backwards!

Step 3: “Fall” Into A Bridge

Do I even need to…? I mean, yeah, you know, just fall backwards as if you’re fainting, but catch yourself and push into a perfect bridge at the last second. GOD, WHY IS THAT SO HARD, BECKY???

Step 4: Do a Back Walkover

So easy!

How To Have A Killer Halloween

With the world on hold due to pandemic/apocalypse reasons, you might think there’s no way to have a great Halloween. Social distancing rules out a lot of the traditional Halloween activities (or deeply inhibits them). And sure, trick or treating, pumpkin carving and parties are fun, I mean, if you’re into that. But why not get back to more traditional Halloween roots with something more… authentic? The following list of activities is sure to guarantee a true Halloween experience.

Get ready to have some fun when you…

Open A Hellmouth

Decided to embrace the spirit of Halloween and open a hellmouth? Good for you! There are a number of ways to open a demonic portal and unleash terrifying monsters on Earth. The most straight forward method is to gather a few unholy relics and perform a ritual to open a gateway to hell. Too easy? A slightly more complicated approach is to locate a building owned by an ex-communicated priest guarding a hell opening. It might be a tad tricky to get him to let you open it, but I’m sure you’re up for the challenge. Or, if you’re good at puzzles, head to your local game store and pick up a demonic puzzle box. Solve that sucker and boom! You’ve got yourself an opening to hell!

Get Brutally Murdered

Nothing says Halloween like getting murdered by an un-killable serial killer. How do you find one? The easiest way is to babysit on Halloween, ideally on a farm or acreage outside of town. Make sure there’s terrible cell phone reception, or plan ahead and drain the battery! Otherwise, you and a few friends should definitely party at an abandoned theme park or head down to that lake where that group of teens were horribly murdered one hundred years ago tonight. Make sure you split up! Everyone wins when you take on a demented killer solo!

Resurrect The Dead

Why let the dead stay dead when they can come back and eat your flesh? If you’re eager for a thrilling game of tag with a hungry corpse, all you need to do is read from the book of the dead. Or, you can try developing a face cream or drug that makes people live forever. Make sure you get it horribly, horribly wrong. Don’t want to go through all that rigamorale? Perform a spell with a lock of a dead loved one’s hair. They’ll come back all kinds of wrong!

Activate A Witch’s Curse

Everyone knows if you’re dumb enough to execute a witch, she’s going to return to life a few hundred years later and enact her revenge. If you’re getting impatient, you can summon her any number of ways but I recommend lighting a black flame candle. No witches murdered in your town? Find a live one and fall in love with her. She’s sure to be cursed so that anyone she loves dies a terrible death.

Get Possessed

There are a couple of ways to get possessed. You can use a ouija board, which basically leaves your body open to possession like a wide open door on a hot summer night invites swarms of mosquitos. Holding a seance is always a classic as well, especially if someone gets freaked out and runs away before you can close the circle at the end. A personal favourite of mine is to move your family into a house or hotel where someone murdered their entire family. Their ghost is sure to possess you and drive you to do the same. Fun! However, if you prefer your possession to be demonic, stick with the ouija board. They’re drawn to those things like wasps to syrup.

Get Hunted By A Malevolent Ghost

Mirrors are your friend here. All you have to do is look in one and repeat a cursed phrase 3-5 times (Bloody Mary and Candyman are good ones), or you can look in a specific mirror that has itself been cursed. Ditto with cursed videos, which can often be found on the internet. If you’re particularly ambitious, you can build your house on an ancient burial site, but make sure you’re disrespectful to the remains if you do. Follow any of these steps and you and your family will be hunted down by an unstoppable spirit in no time!

Hopefully you’ve found something on this list to give you the truly horrifying Halloween you crave. And just remember, as a rule of thumb this Halloween, if Stephen King thinks his characters should do it, it’s probably a good idea.

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Hocus Pocus, Fairy Tales and The Wind in the Willows

There are three movies I need to watch every Halloween season. Hocus Pocus, Dracula Dead & Loving It, and to bridge the gap between Halloween and Christmas, The Nightmare Before Christmas. Hocus Pocus is an obvious choice. It’s funny, nostalgic and features a killer rendition of “I Put A Spell On You.” (Thank you Bette Midler, you magnificent queen.) But there’s more to everyone’s favourite Halloween movie than meets the eye.

Hocus Pocus is deeply satisfying on a number of levels, partly because it’s so atmospheric. It has the setting, taking place in Salem, Massachusetts (and although most of it was shot on sound stages in California, day time scenes were shot there, as well as in Marblehead, Massachusetts), with its gorgeous fall foliage and quaint historic town feel. It hits all the right buttons with its perfect mix of witches, black cats and zombies all taking place on Halloween night, which is basically the Halloween trifecta. And it has stunning costuming.

It’s not surprising that the costumes are so good, they were done by costume designer Mary Vogt, who also handled costuming for Crazy Rich Asians and Batman Returns. ( I mean, everything about Michelle Pfeiffer’s catwoman is on point. And her costume? Oh my God. So much yes.) She immediately decided the Sanderson Sisters couldn’t be in simple, black witchy costumes. I mean, one doesn’t put the fabulous Bette Midler in basic bitch black.

Knowing Bette would be a redhead for the movie, she went with green, because she thought it would look great against the red hair, and added purple because it looks great with green.

Sarah Jessica Parker’s costume was apparently Disney princess meets witch, specifically sleeping beauty (Hi! Yes please!). Kathy Najimy, being the more alchemist witch, was based more on a baker or cook. And Zombie Billy was inspired by Ichabod Crane from Sleepy Hollow. (Now that you’ve read it, you can’t miss it. Billy is 100% zombie Ichabod Crane and I love it.)

The most fascinating part of Mary Vogt’s costume designs? Where she found her inspiration. In the series Los Caprichos by Spanish artist Goya and the fairy tale illustrations of Arthur Rackham.

Arthur Rackham Illustration – Goblin Market

Now, chances are extremely good that you’ve seen an illustration by Arthur Rackham. He was an especially prolific illustrator, who gained recognition in 1893 and made art right up until his death on Sep 6, 1939. He did guidebooks, fairy tales and works by Shakespeare, among many others. His last published works were in The Wind in the Willows, which due to his failing health took him three years to complete.

Arthur Rackham Illustration – The Rhinegold and The Valkyrie

It never fails to leave me humbled, thinking about how art always inspires more art. Fairy tales inspired so many of Arthur Rackham’s illustrations. His illustrations inspired Mary Vogt. Hocus Pocus has inspired countless books, movies and the imaginations of countless children (and adults) over the years. What other art will those new works continue to inspire? Art is like a web, tying us all together. After all, who would have guessed that Hocus Pocus and The Wind in the WIllows were connected?

Every year, as I happily binge Hocus Pocus while shoveling mini Twix bars and M&Ms down my throat, I’m not just getting in the Halloween spirit, I’m connecting with layers of art. And art is its own kind of magic.

Arthur Rackham Illustration – The Wind in the Willows

I got my information on Mary Vogt’s costume designs for Hocus Pocus from a Glamour article, which you can find here. Want to learn a little more about Arthur Rackham? Go here.

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Five Cozy Mysteries to Curl Up With This Fall

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Cooler days, soft, wooly sweaters, various pumpkin flavoured beverages. What’s not to love about fall? I suppose that it’s immediately followed by frigid, endless winter, but let’s not think about that. Let’s think about the good things, like how it’s the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book. And what better book to read this fall than a cozy mystery? All the warmth of a nice cup of tea, but with murder. Ahh, perfection!

Below you’ll find five great cozy mysteries to add to your list and keep you curled up under a soft blanket with a hot beverage all through fall.

Murder in G Major by Alexia Gordon

This is the first in the Gethsemane Brown series. It takes place in Ireland, with a whip smart main character named, you guessed it, Gethsemane Brown. Gethsemane is a classical musician who finds herself stranded in the Irish countryside after a job opportunity disappears. One of the townspeople let her stay in their uncle’s cottage, belonging to a famous musician named Eamon said to have murdered his wife and then committed suicide. The only problem? His ghost is very much alive and haunting the place and he insists Gethsemane prove his innocence and find the real killer. Easy, right? Especially since the murder is twenty five years old. And although Eamon and his wife may be dead, the grudge that led to their murders isn’t.

Come Hell or Highball by Maia Chance

This 1920’s prohibition-era mystery stars Lola Woodby, a wealthy society matron whose husband dies and leaves her with nothing. She’s forced to take a job retrieving a stolen film reel for its rightful owner, but before she can snatch it, the man in possession of it ends up dead. Lola gets embroiled in the murder investigation and of course, high jinks ensue. (My favourite character is her sidekick, her Swedish cook, Berta, who insists on being her partner.) This one is cute and fun.

A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman

Set in Victorian England, wealthy young widow Frances Wynn has finally finished her one year of mourning for her late husband. She takes the opportunity to get out from under her in-laws and move into her own place in the city, just in time for her mother to send Frances her younger sister, Lily, to be brought out for her first London season. But her brother-in-law is not keen to let go of her money and there’s a thief on the loose, quietly robbing people of their jewelry at social gatherings. Then, when a servant claiming to have information about one of Lily’s suitors is murdered, Frances realizes that it all might be connected and begins investigating. This one is fun because there are multiple mysteries on the go at once, and of course I love to see a strong woman asserting her independence.

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

This might be my favourite of the lot. A group of retirees at a lovely, quiet little retirement village meet every Thursday for the Thursday Murder Club. Each of the four brings something special to the group and together, they investigate old case files and try to solve the murders. But when a murder happens close to home, obviously they can’t resist inserting themselves in the investigation and trying to solve it themselves.

This was SUCH a delight. It’s funny and clever and the characters? Well, suffice it to say, I love them all.

Ask Me No Questions by Shelley Noble

Another historical cozy mystery for you, this one takes place in 1907. Lady Dunbridge has just arrived in New York to visit a friend and make a start in American high society, when her friend’s husband is shot. The police seem to think her friend might be the culprit, and obviously Lady Dunbridge won’t allow that. So she begins investigating herself, and the investigation takes her through high society and into the underbelly of Belmont racing. Anyone could kill when money is on the line.

I hope you found something good here to curl up with. Happy reading!

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The Boring One At The Party

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I have a confession. I think I might be the most boring person at the party.

My suspicions started a few years ago, when I found myself watching a group of drunken revelers share the most heated and excited game of Jackass I’ve ever seen, while I sat quietly on the couch, reading the dictionary. Okay, I made that last bit up. But I was sitting there, not joining in, wondering how on earth they could enjoy a card game THAT much. And not only was I unable to understand their glee, I had NO desire to join them.

It happens from time to time, that a party or social gathering goes well, and I return home, sides aching from laughter, but these incidents seem to be getting more and more rare. Instead, I usually find myself wondering if I did a good job. Was I outgoing and friendly enough? Or was I boring? And if I’m being completely honest with myself, I usually land on boring.

It could be worse. I’m not the buzzkill. I don’t suck all the joy and life out of the room. And I’m not the obnoxious one (usually). You know who I mean, the loud one who only gets louder and unfortunately isn’t funny but sure seems to think they are. I’m more… like a piece of furniture. Furniture you can’t sit on or enjoy.

It’s not that I don’t try. It’s that I don’t drink. I’m that loser. The one on the chair in the corner nursing a glass of ice water, who might as well be wearing a shirt that says RESPONSIBILITY or DON’T YOU HAVE WORK TOMORROW?

I’m the one 9000 years ago who looks at the fermenting grapes or hops or barley or whatever and goes “Ew! These have clearly gone bad” and chucks them out without trying them. No buzzy fun times for me.

Travel back to the 1850s and I’m one of the casualties of the cholera epidemic in London, ignorantly drinking my befouled well water and shaking my head at the merry, beer drinking chaps, whose taste for hops would save their lives.

What makes it worse is that I can’t even relate to the coffee drinkers and their laments over needing caffeine or the tea drinkers and their blissful cuppas. I don’t like coffee or tea either.

It makes me an ideal dinner or cocktail party guest. Cough.

Not that I expect my host to invent some kind of mocktail for me. Between the vegans, gluten allergies, paleos, non-dairies and etc, I’m not counting on my host to also sit with a notebook in front of her, musing aloud, “hmm, but what if someone doesn’t like alcohol, coffee OR tea?” Nor am I going to make myself comfy on their couch, calling into the kitchen, “yeah, I’ll have a ginger beer, not too spicy, and if you could hit it with a splash of pineapple juice and bury it in limes, that’d be GREAT. Thanks.” Then sit back and wait for the invite to the next party that never comes.

So, I smile big and say, “water would excellent!”, as if I’m just so jazzed to get hydrated.

When people see you with a tall glass of water in your hands, they say one of two things. “Jesus, that’s a lot of vodka,” or “Is that all you’re having?”

Sometimes I take the easy way out, shrugging and saying “I’m the desi,” but at some point I have to explain that I don’t actually drink alcohol, followed immediately by the “but don’t worry! It’s not a moral thing, I just think it tastes gross, haha” speech, which of course leads to the “you just need to develop a taste for it” lecture. Which, yes, I’m sure is true but why? Especially when that road is lined with spit takes into the sink and currently my husband never has to rock, paper, scissors over who gets to enjoy themselves.

This conversation is usually followed by a polite exit line, something like “Oh is that Sharon? That bitch owes me money” or “Will excuse me? I need to go set a small fire.” Because let’s face it. You can’t play Never Have I Ever with a glass of water.

When you don’t drink, you don’t lose your inhibitions or the point of your sentences like everyone else. Winning Trivial Pursuit does not become all encompassing and you’re not all loosened up for that group death match of charades. You’re still your fully responsible and buttoned up self, wishing the person next to you would make it to the end of that joke they started and trying to think up a plausible excuse for why your turn at charades should never, ever come.

I’m the reminder of restraint and responsibilities, quietly pointing out that although streaking would be fun, it’s the dead of winter and I’m not particularly eager to have to go door to door, telling my neighbours that I’m now technically a sex offender. And yes, I’m sure you could do a backflip over that coffee table, but there’s really no need to show us.

So, yes. I’m boring. But I never have a wine hangover and all of my stories have endings. They’re not always good, but dammit! They’re there. And you know what, Mark? I might have spoiled your fun when I told you not to climb that tree in the backyard, and no, I didn’t give it my all at pictionary, but you woke up without any broken limbs this morning. You’re welcome.

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