Do I drink too much?
I seem to drink more than my friends, by quite a margin. I don't swing from the chandeliers after dinner or take my clothes off in public but I commonly drink two glasses to their one. Does this make me look like a lush?
You bet it does. Your first - and I suspect least palatable - option is to cut back. Should you decide to seek medical advice, select your practitioner with care: after all, one much-quoted definition of an alcoholic is any man who drinks more than his doctor.
If you cut back according to medical advice and still drink twice as much as your friends, I surmise you are hanging out with commendably healthy folk who like to talk about how knackered they felt after last weekend's ultra-marathon as opposed to last weekend's pub crawl. Maybe your mates are nursing mothers, in which case they have little choice. Or maybe you've fallen in with a latter-day temperance league and somehow didn't notice - so your second option involves adding to your social circle.
How about befriending members of a wine enthusiasts' club? Not that I'm suggesting they're likely to be heavy drinkers. They only drink wine for its flavour and history and poetry-in-a-glass properties, not because it makes them feel - ahem - refreshed. They're connoisseurs, not boozers, so you will understand that the sensation of being suddenly scintillating or needing to say ''mate, I really love you'' is entirely coincidental.
The third option is to take the Winston Churchill approach, which is to not give a flying cigar about being regarded as a drunkard. There are several versions of the following story, in which a fellow MP is said to have accosted the great man one night with the words: ''Winston, you are drunk!''
His reply was along the lines of: ''Yes, madam - but tomorrow you will still be ugly and I will be sober.''
I can't in conscience recommend this. For one thing, the story may not be entirely true, although Churchill was a prodigious drinker, known to sip Scotch and water through the day before really hitting the bottle at meal times. And although many of us are capable of being this offensive when in our cups, few are as quick-witted. You risk being left with no friends - and how much fun would that be?
- Good Food