It’s a strange thing to spend the summer in my college town. No longer burdened by classes or homework, I find that when 5:00 p.m. rolls around, I have more free time than I know what to do with. While most people my age would take advantage of this freedom by going to bars or house parties on Thursday or Friday nights, I find myself pouring a glass of wine around 7:30 or 8:00, slipping into my silk pajamas, and hitting the hay by 10:15. If I’m feeling particularly crazy I’ll squeeze in an episode of Gilmore Girls first.
It wasn’t until one of my friends visited me and my apartment over the weekend that I realized my evening behaviors weren’t entirely typical of a soon-to-be college senior. One look at the tomato plants on my balcony, the colorful sticky note on my fridge (“Thursday = Laundry Day!! Yay!”), and the stash of empty wine bottles on my kitchen counter and my friend looked at me with sad, pitying eyes and asked, “So…you’re sure you’re OK living alone?”
To my friend and any others who may question my hermit-like lifestyle, yes, I am OK. I’m better than OK. I am so OK that I’m here to tell the world just how OK I am by sharing the secret to my “OK-ness.” I might not be able to inspire you with my own passion for Thursday night’s laundry or the satisfaction with which I Lysol the trashcan after removing a full bag, but I can tell you how to drink alone without being pathetic. Master this and the rest is a cinch.
Find something to celebrate
If you’re going to drink alone, it’s best to have an occasion to do so (although often the taste of the beverage itself is reason enough). One of my favorite tactics for making solitary drinking less pathetic is to find something—anything—in my day that might give me a reason to celebrate. This might be getting to work 20 minutes early, flossing twice in one morning, remembering to start the dishwasher after breakfast, or opting for a rom com instead of Titanic as the night’s entertainment. Every lame adult victory deserves an adult beverage.
Drink something seasonal
And what better time to drink for the season than in summer? Let’s say you just spent eight or nine hours in the office. Your pale, overly air-conditioned skin needs to see the light of day (or early evening) and you couldn’t possibly soak up the summer sun without a drink worthy of a cheap plastic umbrella accessory, am I right? Whether you pop open a Mike’s Hard, concoct your own alcoholic smoothie, or get all fancy with instant Margarita mix, summon your inner Jimmy Buffet and raise a glass to summer.
Have a furry friend keep you company
You said you were drinking alone, but the wagging tail in the corner would beg to differ. Although they’re not exactly great conversationalists, your pets can help distill the awkward silence in between each trip to the refrigerator for a refill. Like entertaining a dinner guest, you’ve got to give your pet a little extra attention and if you find yourself talking to it, well, you’re not really alone are you?
Claim it’s for creative purposes
The last time I drank alone I turned what was an otherwise extremely pathetic evening—tears, self-pity, teenage angst, the works—into a creative triumph when I converted my overwhelmingly negative emotions into vindictive haikus. Sure, that’s a rather extreme example, but you don’t need heartbreak to necessitate creativity. Write a letter to an old friend, journal for the first time in months, or, hell, work on the puzzle your grandma sent you and you have yet to open. Every artist needs a little liquid inspiration to get the creative juices flowing and you are no different.
Pair it with food
This might seem like an obvious one, but there’s something to be said for washing down a good meal with a good drink. Don your chef’s hat and apron and cook up one of our wine-tastic suggestions. If half the red wine goes into the pan, did you really finish an entire bottle yourself? For those of you wanting a more casual meal—one better paired with a bottle of Heineken—make homemade mac and cheese, a pizza from scratch, or some other comfort food. And when your culinary masterpiece is complete, see item number one.
This is a fun one—and, no, you don’t need elbow length gloves (or any costume materials for that matter) to implement it. Pour a glass of wine or pop some bubbly and cozy up with the classic that’s been gathering dust on your shelf since you moved in. Not up to reading? Choose the first Netflix documentary that looks remotely interesting and take a sip each time the narrator recites a date in a dramatic tone. Not only will you feel educated AF, but you can also nonchalantly drop the fact that you spent the evening watching a “fascinating documentary” as many times as you’d like the next day.
Put on fancy earrings
Not entirely the same as acting intellectually sophisticated, wearing fancy earrings will make you feel especially classy, making the consumption of a glass or two of prosecco seem like the natural way to end an equally classy day. So what if you sat at a desk for eight hours and just walked the mile you swore you’d run after work? With the added bling you might just convince yourself that a cocktail party of one is in order.
Get sh*t done
It is Thursday night after all and those hand towels won’t wash themselves. Start a load of laundry, scrub the stove-top like you’ve been meaning to do for weeks, or sweep the dust out from behind your refrigerator. Choose a few things to do around your house or apartment and do them—drink in hand. A beer, hard cider, or glass of wine is the perfect way to ease the stress of housework any night of the week.
Drink in moderation…
Just because you have an entire bottle of wine at your disposal doesn’t mean you should finish it in one night. A couple glasses before bed is perfectly reasonable, but much more than that and you’ll wake up the next morning wondering who on earth persuaded you to get crunk on a Wednesday with work the next morning. And you can only blame yourself.
…In proper drinking vessels
Although you don’t necessarily have an audience, act like you do—none of this wine out of the bottle or margs in coffee mugs nonsense. If the size of your drinking vessel surpasses what’s considered an appropriate serving of your drink of choice, you inch closer and closer to the realm of pathetic with every sip. But that’s not always a bad thing.