For many, May 19 sounds like a countdown to the first drink on the terrace.
But not just any glass: wine, beer… As long as it is alcohol to “celebrate” this long-awaited date.
Even if it means excluding, under cover of humor, the others from this reunion with zinc.
"Thank you for making room for professionals", we can read on social networks.
Behind the joke, the injunction to drink tires, even makes people feel guilty about what we call “sober” people.
“Ah, but you don't drink. Why ? Pierre-François knows this question will not escape it on May 19. “We arm ourselves as we go. You learn to protect yourself without justifying yourself, ”he says. A former alcoholic, he too will find the pleasure of a moment on the terrace. “Before, I couldn't, it would have bothered me because there is always the mourning to see friends drink a good cold beer. But I have passed a certain stage, when I go out with friends I have no frustration, ”he confides, aware that this temptation will exist for other abstainers.
He will therefore order his syrup.
And, assures him, will have as much fun as his intoxicated neighbors.
“A man who drinks, even if he's violent, let's say he's funny.
And if he doesn't drink, it's because he doesn't know how to have fun.
It is a pressure that we put on people.
I know how to party without having drunk.
I'm having so much fun, it's my pride, ”smiles the 50-year-old.
Isabelle * has sometimes stuck this label on the foreheads of those close to her.
“I was guilty of this, I used to tell my friends who didn't drink that they were boring.
We are so involved in this idea that partying is automatically drinking ”, regrets the young woman of 27 years.
"We put a kind of shame on sobriety"
A very French evil?
“The association between celebration and product taking is very old.
The party is also synonymous with lower controls, letting go, it is not surprising that there is an association with alcohol ", answers Ludovic Gaussot, lecturer in sociology at the University of Poitiers, which nevertheless points to the cultural, economic and fiscal weight of wine in France.
“We associate it with drinking and eating together,” notes the researcher.
Read alsoBeers, wines ... alcohol sales on the rise, home consumption is soaring
Originally from Brittany, Isabelle has always lived in this culture of alcohol. “I started drinking very young. I drank a lot and in a way that was not really reasonable, ”she says. Aware of the damage that drink can cause, she is now careful. And, for a few weeks, she has seen this little music coming up, worried, around May 19.
"I wonder what it's going to be […] There is going to be a collective thing of excessive alcohol, and the more it goes, the more uncomfortable it makes me. As a woman, that worries me too. And when I see that people who don't drink are being asked not to come, I find it awful. We put a kind of shame on sobriety, ”is annoyed Isabelle, who will not go on the terrace on May 19, just like Marine *. “People just want to drink on the terrace and that doesn't interest me,” continues the young woman. I don't necessarily want to find myself with drunk people, ”she says, also worried about the transmission of the virus.
Charline * has prepared three kinds of justification to explain her sobriety, according to the degree of proximity with the people who question her.
“It's unfortunate,” she breathes.
"Even within groups of friends, when we say that we do not drink, we are looked at like extraterrestrials", assures the young woman, who keeps away from bars.
The few times she walked into a bistro to order a soft drink didn't change her mind.
“We feel excluded, even if it is not said.
We are seen as not funny people.
So I'm not going anymore, I don't want to be forced.
This will annoy me, ”regrets Charline.
Make way for "big consumers"
“This pressure wants those who don't drink, don't take the risk of losing self-control and are frowned upon. This is all the more true for men: there is an association between virility and consumption. Among the youngest, especially students, we also expect girls to drink, because otherwise they are seen as saintes-nitouches, ”continues Ludovic Gaussot. Conversely, "abstinence is almost militancy".
After months of closure, and the fear of financial losses, this “activism” is all the more frowned upon by certain professionals in the sector. "Many people around me living in the restaurant and nightlife industry have made it clear to me that it is already financially complicated to open half the gauge or to replenish the crates, and that they prefer to have heavy consumers in need of alcohol rather than people who come to drink a coffee or a syrup in 2 hours… And I agree a little with them ”, concedes Marion *, who lives in the North.
Party girl and never against a glass of alcohol, for two years, she has had to reduce her consumption following a major surgery. “When I announced it to my friends and party mates, they all had different reactions, but causing the same end result: I found myself with a glass of alcohol in front of me when I didn't have one. 'want to sit on the terrace,' says Marion.
“The fact of not drinking alcohol before the Covid was already complicated, but here I have the feeling that the excuse:
Enjoy life, we have just spent months locked up!
will be present and heavy all the time, ”predicts the young woman, who will therefore stay at home.
“Of course, I have as much right as anyone to go socialize on the terrace.
But indeed, for the good of the majority, I will perhaps step aside from the party-loving world for a while, until everyone comes out of their euphoria phase… ”
* First names have been changed