There I was at the dentist on Saturday with my 2 children. Their check ups had proceeded without any freaking out or plundering of the sticker and balloon jar reserved for 'brave' children. Now it was my turn.
Settling into my chair the dentist did a quick update on my medical history.
'Anything changed since last here?'
'You're not a smoker are you?'
'No', I shook my head.
Then he leaned in a bit closer, adopted a conspiratorial look and lowered his voice.
'How many um, units, roughly, um, on average, would you say you umm, take each week? Just socially. Just need a number to tick the box. Doesn't have to be too accurate.'
The fake brightness and offhand manner did not work. He seemed awkward and embarrassed by the question, as if he felt rude even attempting to garner whether I drank too much or not and viewed the question as definitely not one to be overheard by children.
' I don't drink at all' I interrupted, keen to put him out of his misery.
There is a saying that as long as you drink less than your doctor then you'll be fine. I think this may extend to dentists too, as he proceeded to protest too much:
'None? None at all? Not that I think there's anything wrong with that. Not at all. Far from it in fact. It's marvellous. Truly admirable. Do you know some people feel they have to apologise for being tee total? No, I think it's truly something to be proud of. Choosing to avoid all alcohol, my my.'
He continued in the theme of alcohol and the absence of it, for the rest of the appointment, reminding me of an over anxious teenage boy on his first date who can't stop wittering away in a poor attempt at hiding his own dis-ease.
Perhaps he was too. Whatever.
What was most important was how strong, powerful and proud I felt saying aloud to him, in front of the nurse and my children, that I didn't drink at all. The un said implication being that I neither wanted to, needed to or had ever even considered, drinking alcohol, because, why would I?
And I don't. No matter what the consequences. And I'll tell you about some of those of late next time.