Parents look away now.

(bet they don’t)

Meg admits to ‘learning about alcohol‘ when she was in her teens, and I thought it about time that I come clean as well.

My first illicit experience with alcohol — other than a shandy or two with my parents agreement — was at the tender age of 15. I was helping out at a Boys Brigade dance, looking after the cloakroom with two other boys, Scott and David. Now Scott was one of those boys who just seemed older and more mature than everyone. He smoked, he swore, he was pretty popular at the time. That night, as we sat in a tiny room cloakroom completely bored out of our minds, he revealed that he had managed to buy alcohol a couple of nights beforehand.

At first David and I didn’t believe him, so we dared him to buy some more, to prove to us that he wasn’t joking.

We searched our pockets and gave him what cash we had and he sneaked out of the window. The plan was that David and I would cover the cloakroom (the dance was underway already so there was literally nothing for us to do other than sit there) and when he got back we could take turns drinking.

I remember being rather nervous, not in case we got caught but in case I spluttered or choked or did anything remotely uncool! I hoped he’d buy something that I’d heard of, and that wasn’t like some of the harsh burning liquids I’d sipped from my father’s drinking cabinet. Some of that stuff was vile! How could people drink it, the way it burned the back of your throat, and coated your mouth, yuck.

So David and I sat there, talking about nothing and everything, babbling away to make sure there was no silence, no time for our thoughts and nerves to build, and when Scott chapped the window to be let back in we just about fell off our seats.

He had just finished clambering back in when one of the officers (Boys Brigade, remember?) wandered by to see how we were doing. We told him everything was fine, but we were a little bored seeing as how there wasn’t really much to do. He agreed, and fishing in his pockets he said he’d keep an eye on things here if we wanted to nip across the road and get ourselves some chips. Result!

I whisked the five pound note from his hand and we almost sprinted out of the door, all of us with the same thought in our minds. As we turned the corner we agreed that the alleyway to the back of the hall was best, as we’d get plenty of warning if someone was coming but it remained out of sight of the road.

As we turned into the alleyway Scott pulled out a bottle of clear liquid. Smirnoff vodka. Now, I knew enough about vodka that you were supposed to mix it with something. But Scott and David said we didn’t have enough time and next thing I know I’ve got the bottle in my hand and I’m being encouraged to “just take a big gulp and swallow it quick”.

So I did.

Now, you’ve all seen that comic moment where a guy takes a slug from a bottle and wheezes as it kicks the back of his throat. He maybes gives a little twitch of the head a la Jack in Easy Rider “Neh! Neh! Neh! Fuh! Fuh! Fuh! Indians”. You know what I mean.

Multiply that by 3 and you are close to what it felt like.

A million hot pokers slammed into the back of my throat, raced down my gullet and set fire to my belly. I felt my face flush, my eyes tear and I inhaled as much of the cool night air as fast as I could. WHOWZA!!!

In my minds eye, of course, I hid all this, I was hanging out with the cool kids after all.

A few more swigs each and we headed back inside to discuss the finer points of what we had just consumed. My head a little blurry, all of us a little giggly. That was my first brush with alcohol. And yes, I kept the fiver.

After that I moved onto beer — my first ever pint was a “pint of heavy”, ordered purely because it was my first time in the bar and that was what the guy next to me had ordered — although I wasn’t drinking regularly for another couple of years. I was reasonably sensible with it though, honest!

OK, so I’ve fessed up, you’re turn! How old were you and what did you drink?