Day 1,134: Enjoli

Does the phase “Enjoli lady” mean anything to you? If so, you can head straight on over to Medium to read my new essay about women and booze. If the Enjoli lady doesn’t ring a bell, watch this, imagine growing up with it embedded in your freaking brain, and then go read the essay.

80 thoughts on “Day 1,134: Enjoli

  1. I burnt my supper because I was reading this essay and I DIDN’T CARE.

    Awesome writing. This essay should be given out to every thirteen year old girl. Printed on wine bottle labels (only in my dreams). On teatowels. On framed posters on the Underground. Keep writing, you are doing great work here!

  2. That. Just. That. Sober and older, I find I have zero fucks to give about so much of what drives women to find solace in their “well-deserved” drinks. But I remember all that so well, reading it made me sad to realize how many of us lapped all those reasons up to keep drinking….thank you for such a well written piece.

  3. I’m embarrassed to say how often I’ve joined in on wine/margarita/pickyourpoison jokes, without once thinking what it implied or how insensitive it could be. 
    Thank you for opening my eyes — seriously. I plan on reading this a few more times to let it soak in.

    1. Don’t be embarrassed– I totally used to joke about this stuff too! It’s just one of those perspective shifts that’s hard to make until you’re actually in the other pair of shoes. But I’m glad it gave you something to think about.


  4. I read this and almost cried actual tears because it’s so fucking accurate. I am 3 weeks sober and it’s so eye-opening and terrifying, especially as a woman. I feel like everyone who drinks is in this dream and I’m finally awake. Sometimes the reality isn’t pretty. But I would rather be awake. Thank you for writing this.

    1. Congrats on 3 weeks! You are at maximum rawness right now. It’s going to get a lot easier. But yeah, the feeling that you left the Matrix will continue. 🙂 Take care–Kristi

  5. Ok so life story time- please bare with me. I’m a 29 year old woman who is struggling to come to terms with the unhealthiness of how much I drink. The sad thing is that I used to use it as a part of my personality. “I’m a drinker!” “The only way I can get through this wedding planning is beer!” ( I actually quoted that in my blog last week.) I’m not exactly sure where to go or what to do but I know I at least need to cut back, way back. This piece resonated with me profoundly. The line where you write, “I see that booze is the oil in our motors, the thing that keeps us purring when we should be making other kinds of noise” in particular, though everything was a wakeup call for my ego.

    Thank you for writing it. Thank you for indirectly making me feel less alone. I’m looking forward to learning how to be a woman only part of the time, and myself the rest of it. I’m looking forward to making other kinds of noise.

    1. I used it as a big part of my personality too. I thought it was the thing that made me cool. Trust me, that will change. It takes some time, but it does change.

  6. I absolutely love this. Sober 2 years: it’s not easy, it’s not for everyone – but it is one of the best decisions I made for myself in a very long time (and it is a lot more fun people watching from “this” end of the pool). 🙂 Thank you!!

  7. Fantastic article. I wanted to quote so much of it, but no one was around to listen, so instead I’ll comment here. I was an impressionable 8 (eight!) when that commercial came out. It was so glamorous to me that didn’t notice they had to clone her in order to do everything that was expected. Now, I joke about drinking with my mom friends (even though I don’t drink much) just so I don’t sound so angry about all the expectations, and the patriarchy, and raising kids in this world, and the men who say they understand but don’t, and career problems that go with it all. Dealing with all that, anywhere else, would make me say I need a drink, even though it’s 11 a.m. on a Monday and I won’t have a drink today anyway but who wants to admit that they just need a hug and to refocus their energies?

  8. So…I”m not a drinker anymore, I didn’t drink much to start with, but now that I’m in my 50’s drinking makes me feel like death for a week afterwards. Even just two. I’m feeling separated from my longtime friends (30+ years), because after a few hours of them getting more and more hammered I don’t have much fun anymore.

    It’s gotten much worse over the years. Our kids are grown, and the knowing that we have to take care of them/feed them/drive them places/ etc. is over. One woman,drank so much she should have gone to the hospital. I wasn’t there, but when the rest of the people told me this I knew it was time to back off. Now I’m getting rumblings of some resentment when I turn down invitations.

    All I see is the slurring, the reeking, the weaving and tripping. It’s very hard. We used to gather for daytime stuff, but now the first order of business is to decide what the “drink of the event” is going to be, with a special recipe and a name befitting the occasion. It’s a bummer. I’m never pressured, but I get odd looks when I mention I’ve lost my taste for alcohol.

    Anyway, even as a non-drinker, your posts help me keep my head straight and remember there’s a world for me outside of alcohol, and it’s better than the world in it. There’s sunshine, fresh air, hiking and dogs and the beach and the mountains and my other friends and family. So thanks.

  9. You had me at, “My jaw gently opens on its own.” And yes, I remember the commercials. And I’m confused about why we’re not best friends, you and I. But most of all, your essay (which I found on Facebook, and then Googled my way here in search of my new bestie) made me realize how much I’ve been glamorizing The Evening Cocktail. I mean, I rarely have one, because Lawd, at my post-20s age, even one of those bad boys knocks me on my toot with a quickness — but I find myself constantly buying pretty drinkware for the day when I come home every day, don my cashmere lounge pants, and expertly mix myself a cocktail to enjoy by the fire before dinner (oh, stop laughing, it could happen), without really stopping to think about why. So thanks for a little food for thought — and a hell of a lot of entertainment. Your writing is truly a pleasure to read.

  10. Thank you. This was so healing for me. As a daughter of a substance abuser I’ve never been a big drinker. All my life I’ve had to work damn hard to grin and bear it around drunkenness-act like the alarm bells weren’t going off every time I saw a man get that look in his eye. It’s unacceptable enough not to have a drink in your own hand. I mean, damn- The comments you get for trying to quietly drink a Coke and hope it’ll go unnoticed.
    Believe me, that side of the pool is extremely lonely in college and your twenties. And it’s hard to have the hard-won perspective of this essay when you’re young and the whole world is telling you you’re weird, no fun, too sensitive.
    Meanwhile here I am, 40 and still sensitive, dragged to a girls’ night to see Bad Moms where a woman gets over a huge betrayal and the end of her marriage with just a few nights of heavy drinking. How many women in that theater, like me, had been through a similar betrayal? Struggled through the collapse or near-collapse of a marriage by someone she genuinely loved. Endured a heartbreak so shocking it takes your breath away, guts you, leaves you curled fetal, sobbing in the closet so the kids won’t hear. Ah but the two *men* who wrote Bad Moms think a woman should get over that after a few nights of heavy drinking with the girls. Because infidelity is a punchline and booze is a cure.
    Meanwhile I’m white-knuckling it through the movie pretending it hasn’t gutted me all over again to see my story, told wrong. Pretend it’s funny and I’m still cool after all these years.
    While the women in the theater beside me hoot cheer laugh and order more drinks.

  11. I admire you so much for having the ability to articulate this issue so well. I stopped drinking a couple of years ago myself and am amazed at all I was allowing myself to miss. This form of self exploitation is as bad as all the other ways we have been marginalized by external forces. Time to take off the beer goggles, or wine goggles as it seems and start a real revolution. Remember, our daughters are watching us very closely and each choice we make will either propel them or chain them. Thank you for your smart and honest words. And continued luck with your sobriety.

  12. Read the version in Vox and found you here. I would love to give this to someone I know who truly enjoys her wine. Thanks for putting into words some of the challenges women face, sober or not.

  13. I don’t know if we were separated at birth, but the beauty of your writing is beyond measure. Next month I’ll hit 2 years sober. It’s been eye-opening to say the least, as I was the ringleader of the 2-bottles-of-Cavit-per-night clan. I’ve lost numerous relationships, but in the process have finally found the most important (and shockingly cantankerous) voice of all: my own. Thank you for putting the struggle in such a relatable voice, and congratulations on your sobriety. I’ve been trying to figure out why my (previous) circle of friends were drunk 24/7. You nailed it. I will be sharing this piece with anyone willing to listen. Thank you, thank you, thank you for validating the struggle so many of us face and for making our sobriety something to celebrate.

  14. This article hit home but not for the same reason as some others. Growing up I was and even to this day the girl who doesn’t drink much. I was always teased about not wanting to “party” and was considered a bitch. I felt subconscious because I couldn’t fit in with the “group” and came to think something was wrong with me. It would actually give me anxiety attacks before I went out with friends. Over time you learn to cope with these insecurities. It wasnt until I hit 40 did I start to appreciate my “younger self” and how proud I am that I was “different”. Now when I go out and get comments about not drinking I say…”please…I’m over 40..peer pressure doesn’t work on me anymore”. It usually shuts people up.

  15. Thanks for the article and the ad that illustrates societal expectations of women. Your is a great contribution to feminist writing.

    Here below are some emotional release techniques that therapists give people to help them to release emotional distress. These are what I do myself, instead of trying to drink away all the mansplaining, impossible expectations, put downs etc. that we women go through so often. Of course, no one has to do these. It just makes it easier and quicker– at least for me– to get through difficulties, find more clarity, and do my life in the way that I prefer to. I do them with the sound off, but some people prefer them with the sound on.

  16. A friend just shared this article with me – thank you. Thank you for saying all the things! I loved every word. I’m on Day 66 (but who’s counting?) and looking forward to more angry days ahead. And happy ones. And sad ones. Thank god I know how to swim.

    Can’t wait to read more!

  17. I’m sober for several years now, and I could whole-heartedly relate to your article, “Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink.” My skin isn’t as thick to sexism sober. I can’t head to a bar and drink the anger away with a group of girlfriends. Instead, I usually confront sexism and try to make changes in my organization and in society. My superiors (all male) looked at me as if they were honestly confused as to why it is inappropriate to introduce a new woman in our organization based on how attractive she looks or how she looks great in the t-shirt they have given us for the semester. They take the same damn sexual harassment training classes, but they can’t figure out that it is not appropriate to say, “I just hired a really attractive and smart new assistant????”. Sometimes, I wonder if men “play dumb” around these issues just to avoid change.

    I’m a community college professor, and I talk with my students about gender issues, our drinking culture, and more. After the Brock Turner case, I am motivated to talk more about binge drinking and laws surrounding rape cases. I require students to research topics like empathy, rape, recovery, domestic violence, and child abuse. Mostly, I focus on how to heal from these problems and how to prevent these problems. Still, I long for a format to reach more people than the students in my classroom. I have 270 students this semester, so that it not a small number. However, larger changes need to be made in our society.

    Recently, I wrote about my rape in a foreign country. As bad as things are in this country, South Korean women do not have the same protection we do. I warn my students about international work and travel, and get them to research laws in other countries which protect or do not protect other citizens.

    Rape is at the extreme end, but I believe that forcing women into boxes and thinking it is o.k. to publically talk about their attractiveness and reduce them to their appearance instead of giving their ideas as much weight as a man’s ideas is the beginning of a dangerous type of sexism. The men who spoke for you about how women are treated at that company are a perfect example of men who don’t know how to listen or empathize.

    I related to your article in so many different ways. I’m a big fan of Jackson Katz, especially how he helps reframe these discussions as male issues…not women’s issues. The men are the ones acting innappropriately in small and very large, illegal ways.

  18. I dug that video up precisely to offer a (very) relatable commentary on it a few months ago–and now I don’t have to swell up in that rant. I read your piece on Medium. TESTIFY, WOMAN!!!

  19. 12 years sober and this still resonates. great piece. i’m very often acutely aware of good it is on this side of the pool.

  20. What a whiny piece of work that ultimately feeds into the stereotype that today’s 3rd wave feminists are nothing more than fragile snowflakes who deny any sense of agency courtesy of your favorite scapegoat, you guessed it, patriarchy. Do women drink more than before? Possibly. But that’s most likely due to the fact that the patriarchy has welcomed women to join in libations after work. What you could just as easily have ascribed to the human condition, you packaged up into some strange and grotesque ideological gender screed. Your fallacious statistic of the wage gap (come on how willfully ignorant do you have to get) is all the proof the reader needs that you are un-serious.

  21. I had no idea people drink this much, it never occurred to me that wine could solve my problems, I always refused to take part when pressured. It’s a more lonesome road to travel, but I can see now that I didn’t miss out on anything! Great (and funny) article, this is what feminism is about, not being like men, being YOU, with the same rights as any person.

  22. I read your article three times. It is excellent & thank you. I had three kids and remember reading books about how to be a supermom (1980’s)– sheesh. Smarter now. Keep up this dialogue.

  23. I loved this essay. And, by rights, we are such different people that I shouldn’t have. I’m not used to seeing such a smart, unsentimental analysis in a mainstream space. (or anywhere really). Shared it and an earlier piece you wrote with my sober gf. Keep writing.

  24. I’m reading this with tears pouring down my face, it’s as if it’s woken me up to how much I drink, and the excuses I use. Thank you. Now to work out where I go from here.

  25. I’ve been sober for years, but this made me cry anyway. It’s beautifully written. Thank you for sharing it.

  26. This seemed very judgemental me. I empathize with a lot of it but who are you judge how women cope? Maybe we should ban together to organize for higher wages and working conditions instead of being smug and feeling “enlightened”?

  27. Holy shit…you put into words what I never could. I got into the boys club at my job by being the single malt scotch and the PBR girl, but ended up being laid off when I couldn’t maintain it. I just wanted to be me, not the drunk keeping-up-with-the-jones version of me.

    This is an amazing article. Thank you.

  28. Love what you have articulated here. My only fault with this article is that it wasn’t written sooner. Thank you.

  29. I found your article attached to some page that I subscribe to. I wanted to comment and followed a few threads to get here. Reading the comments above I fell that my comments are really a bit weak.

    I’m a male, I don’t live in the USA and I don’t drink, I never really have, To start with I didn’t think it was very healthy, but now more so for all the reasons you write about so well. The thoughts you express don’t solely relate to females, I hope that it is also possible to be male without alcohol.

    Kia kaha – keep writing and keep inspiring.

  30. Thanks so much for writing this – it is a fantastic essay. As a 32 year old woman who drinks, I genuinely had not considered some of these issues, or even really acknowledged how much drinking culture permeates what we do, specifically as women. Really insightful, biting, and funny writing that gave me a lot to think about. Thank you!

  31. I shared your article to Facebook. The first comment was from my sister “When did you give up alcohol ????”

  32. Your essay has many strong and sadly true points. It’s a struggle to be a woman in our culture, the one in which a divide between gender is so pervasive it is often not recognized by the masses.

    I will say I have never engaged in an activity because I felt compelled to be able to get as fucked up as anyone else, or in the absense feared having to care for such an individual. I don’t believe I’m unique in making this claim. Generalizing why women get drunk or the thinking that lies beneath it is too simple a stance: “For thinking that the right to get as trashed as a man means anything but the right to be as useless.” Women need to support each other. To permit humanity and offer compassion- not shame each other and draw another line between each other. I can congratulate you on your sobriety but I can’t imagine all women are drinking for the same reasons. Or getting as trashed as those you identify.

    It is difficult to be a 24 hour woman, and there are as many ways to struggle as there are women, and as many ways to meet the struggles and rise above. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  33. Can I tell you how blown away I am by this article? This is naked bravery and honesty at its best. I am both the perpetrator of pushing alcohol on my women friends and of pushing myself into the oblivion of all these different roles that I am supposed to master. I’m not having any fun with the current state of affairs. And the truth is, I barely drink anymore. I talk about it constantly because I’m uncomfortable with things as they are. Alcohol is an old dress to me that I don’t wear but can’t give away. Your article hit me right between the eyes. Thanks for writing it.

  34. How did you nail motherhood so well? You wrote the bittersweet truth of all that is now a compromise – career, body, freedom – and called me out on my micro-rebellions. I’ll see you at the pool.

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