Oct. 17 is National Edge Day, an under-the-radar holiday founded by those who refer to themselves as "straight edge." In honor of this day—and because my boyfriend is straight edge, while I love myself a good bottle of wine (yes, bottle!)—I thought it was important to share just how easy it really is, as one who drinks, to date and fall in love with a non-drinker.
While National Edge Day didn't come about until 1999, the straight edge movement began within the punk scene of the late '70s and early '80s. The original straight edgers didn't drink, do drugs, smoke, sleep around or partake in any of the other "hedonistic" elements that had come to define the music scene at the time. Since then, some have taken the straight edge lifestyle a step further, adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet, and also refraining from pre-marital sex and caffeine.
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Straight edge is my boyfriend's lifestyle. I am not straight edge, and quite enjoy a glass (or bottle) of white wine on the right occasion. So when I introduced AJ to my parents exactly a year ago, on last year's Edge Day (at a brewery, ironically) and he ordered a soda, was it awkward for me? Well ... yeah! Come on, an Italian family likes to drink. But I've gotten over it pretty quickly.
Dating AJ meant getting used to paying for my own drinks and seeing him as the sole non-drinker in a group of my friends. I always used to worry that he'd be irritated if I wanted to have a few beers while watching the football game—or have a few too many drinks while out with friends. But I was surprised at how accepting he was of my beliefs, as long as I was accepting of his. I am not judgmental or pushy about him not drinking alcohol, and he doesn't push his lifestyle onto me, either.
When I ask AJ why he's straight edge, he always says something to this effect: "In a world that's plagued by drug and alcohol addiction, where those substances are seen as an easy way out of day-to-day struggles, I want to keep my mind and body clean and clear, and rise above the easy crutches." Even though I'm a drinker, this makes crystal-clear sense to me.
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