Why we “goggle.” Crushing out when under the influence. And it’s not just because of beer.

I always liked the term “beer goggles,” since I heard it back in college. The notion that our perception of another person is enhanced due to alcoholic intake was not only interesting, but absolutely true. I tried those goggles on often. They were dispensed at the frat house like… other things… and they not only made the nerdy guy from my dorm more attractive, but it boosted his confidence too. Nothing wrong with that, right? But more importantly, these experiences taught me that context plays a role. The situation in which we meet someone, and the lens through which we view them (expectations and our surroundings), matters big time. 
Some examples of goggling:
1. Business class goggles:  the tan cheese-ball who can afford a business class seat is much hotter than he would be sitting in coach (which is where you’re headed).
2. Wedding goggles:  how many of you guys have tried to hook up with a bridesmaid at a wedding, or even the groom’s sister, when you would never glance at her at a local bar?
3. Writer in café goggles:  (tip: facial hair and a pocket Nietzsche in public view help.)
4. Forbidden fruit goggles: someone else’s boyfriend or husband, especially when they appear happy together.
5. Whole Foods goggles: there is something about the guy perusing aisle five, thoughtfully contemplating what to cook for dinner, with the emo soundtrack crooning over the speakers, that makes my heart flutter.
6. Guy in fancy car at traffic light goggles.
7. Office goggles:  when you’re around the same people for ten hours a day, even the short dude with the pencil neck starts to look good.
8. Dad with baby Bjorn while carrying groceries goggles:  the baby has to actually be in the Bjorn though, smiling back at dad as the sun dances along their flaxen hair.
9. Bat-mitzvah goggles:  no, no, no, not the tweens. I’m talking about the single parents attending.  
10. Carpenter hanging my shelves goggles  (toolbox not necessary).
There are also the more obvious ones like Bartender goggles, Weatherman goggles, and Memory goggles (high school crush you haven’t seen but he’s still hot in your head). And in my case, non-Jewish guy goggles, or, goygles.  Any other prescriptions?

My mother, the alcohol police.

My mother doesn’t drink. And she doesn’t understand why anybody would. Especially her own daughter.

Whenever I go out for dinner with my parents, I keep it to a two-drink minimum. Sometimes my father will order a bottle and embolden me. But most of the time, I figure it’s not worth the wrath. Or her sticking her nose in my mouth after dinner to smell how much I’ve actually drank. She almost always gets it right on the nose (pun intended).

So what better place for her to enforce her authority than at a wedding, where I’m locked in a banquet hall with her for six hours, and where the alcohol is free?
 
I knew what was coming. The last time I was at my cousin’s wedding in Israel, where everyone was drinking tequila, my mother kept appearing next to me, no matter who I was talking to, pretending to be interested in the conversation. But really she was interested in what I was holding in my hand. Sometimes she takes the glass from me and takes a sip, as if she enjoys the taste. She then holds the glass awkwardly for a moment and nods her head at who ever happens to be speaking, like she’s listening. And then in a flash, she’s gone. With my glass of wine.

So here we were yesterday, on our way to a wedding. My parents picked me up from the train station. They talked about what kind of food there would be and how hungry they were. But not me. I was thirsty.  My mom knew it. It was the elephant in the car we didn’t speak of. Instead she said, “Maybe you’ll meet someone at the wedding.”

Do you know anyone who’s met their spouse at a wedding? It’s been known to happen, although not to anyone I know. Or to me.

Especially not at a Jewish wedding. In New Jersey. Mom didn’t appreciate that comment. But I deemed it safer than saying I’d be more likely to have the energy to meet someone slightly inebriated, rather than cranky and hungover (I was both).

I wasn’t thinking clearly though. This wedding wasn’t a Jewish wedding. In fact, it was a unique mix of many rituals. It was lovely. The bride was Jewish and the groom Irish Catholic. In a sense, it was Jew-ish. Which meant plenty of interesting foods, eclectic music (ever danced a Jewish jig? It’s like the Horah with bagpipes), but more so, for this Cougel, it meant a vast buffet of attractive goys. Just the way I like em. And instead of a brisket and chopped liver station, we get a vodka station!

My mother was on my heels (should’ve worn my flats). She knows how to find me, no matter my attempts for evasion. This time it was under the guise of meeting her friends, all with Israeli names that blend together. “You remember Chava! From Josh and Rachel’s wedding ten years ago, right?” (The part she left out: “Or were you drunk?”)

No matter that my sister was drinking too, and that we were all having a blast. My sister is married with children. So unlike me, she’s “allowed.” The moral of the story is that once you’re the anointed F-up in your family, there is no getting out of it. So you might as well live up to it. I could have stuck to one glass of wine, and she still would have thought I was overdoing it. Because according to my parents, that’s my thing. Besides, what would they have to worry about otherwise? I’m doing a good deed. At least I’m giving them something to fix, and to bond over on the drive home down the turnpike.

Five hours into the wedding I met some interesting people, guys included. Some Jewish, some not. My parents and sisters were happy though. I wasn’t seated at their table, but rather at the “singles” table right beside them, where they got to watch the show with challah rolls in hand instead of popcorn. And mom got to keep her eye on me and my wine glass. This is akin to trying to make out in your basement when you’re 16 and your parents are upstairs. You can never relax because you’re waiting to get caught.

Mom – if you’re reading this – I am not a drunk. I’m over 21 and single, and that is what people do. I know we’ve had this conversation before, but I figured I’d disclaim it again here, in case your friends are reading this and will think your daughter has a problem. I have many, yes, but drinking is the least of them.

I got a ride home from the wedding with a very nice fellow, and the second I walked through the door, my mother called.
“How was it?”
“The wedding? I was there with you.”
“No, the ride with the guy.”
“It was nice mom. It beats the train.”
“Were you still drunk?”
( You’d think she’d be more concerned whether he was, since he was the one driving).
“No mom. Just tired.”
“You had six glasses, maybe seven. Didn’t you?”

Of course, she was right. As usual.

The upside? At least, with all this talk about drinking, she forgot to ask if I ate.