People are often surprised to hear that I don’t drink coffee. Then, their shock turns to true alarm when they find out that I don’t drink alcohol, either. You can’t imagine how rare it is to meet someone like me, who doesn’t drink either of those two incredibly popular things. (The last time I met someone who didn’t drink alcohol or coffee, I married him.)
It’s not for any complex, well thought out reason. It’s actually pretty simple and juvenile. You know how when something tastes bad, people call it an acquired taste? Well, I’ve never been good at acquiring tastes.
I could choose to look at this as a shortcoming in myself, but I don’t – in fact, I actually think it might be a superpower.
Seriously. Why DO people work at acquiring a taste for something that tastes bad?
Think back to the first time you took a sip of black coffee. Your reaction was likely similar to mine: “YUCK!” So why did you keep drinking the stuff until you actually grew to like or even love the taste?
For me, alcohol was much the same way. I never liked how it tasted. People would say “oh, try a fruity drink, you’ll like that.” But I could almost always taste the alcohol in it. I didn’t like the taste – plus I didn’t like how it made me feel.
I’m not particularly virtuous, and I’m certainly not straight edge. I just don’t like things that taste bad – and I’m not about to keep eating or drinking things that taste bad just to get some kind of “buzz.” Now, if cupcakes were an illegal substance that resulted in some kind of high, I’d be in trouble – because cupcakes taste good. Oh heck, who am I kidding, cupcakes do result in a high and I am in trouble! Ahem.
Little kids are so innocent and pure – they are so quick to turn up their noses if something doesn’t taste good. At what point in our lives do we start forcing ourselves to eat or drink things that taste bad just for a “buzz” or coolness points or whatever? I am glad I never did that, even if it means I’m an odd bird who doesn’t partake in our country’s two favorite national pastimes (coffee drinking by day, alcohol drinking by night).
I try not to ever pressure Zoe to eat or drink anything she doesn’t like (I was surprised and gladdened to find this is actually a nutritional best practice). I hope to always encourage and empower her to listen to her body and not eat or drink things that taste bad to her – even if everyone around her is eating or drinking those things. I try to keep her from eating too many sweets, but other than doing that and providing healthy foods for her to choose from, I try to stay out of her way when it comes to food so that she can develop good habits free of interference and influence.
If you think about it, there are other things that taste yucky at first that we should definitely never let become habits, like smoking. I don’t know anyone who loved smoking when they first tried it – most of us shuddered, coughed, even vomited! If only more people would stick with that first impression and never let smoking become an addiction.
What do you think – do you like the taste of coffee and alcohol? If so, have you always liked it or did you develop a taste for it over time? And if it’s the latter… how and why did you acquire that taste? I’d love to hear in the comments below!