Drink It Up If You’re a Man

I had been helping a friend with his exercising franchise business for children for a few months because since it was new and classes are only held once a week, it was difficult to find people willing to commit just that few hours once a week. This friend, K, in his 50s, is the same guy who got the cancer misdiagnosis I wrote about in an earlier post. Recently, he finally managed to get a number of college students and a freeter, which is what the Japanese call someone who takes part-time jobs to get by, to help him on a regular basis, so I only have to help out when there are people who can’t turn up.

A couple of months ago, he invited his former Korean language teacher, a 32-year-old guy, to help at one of the lessons. Perhaps it was because of his status as a former teacher, his well-built body and clean appearance, he looked very mature to me.

After class, we went for a drink. Well, actually I don’t drink anymore.

Let’s side track for a bit: The background story is that I wasn’t able to drink in the first place due to my allergy to alcohol which was triggered in my early 20s when my friend made me drink Waterfall on an empty stomach. Since then, even a tiny sip of alcohol would give me reactions. But when I first started working in Japan, I felt compelled to have a glass of beer for the kanpai (cheers) session and gradually, either it was my body getting used to it, or my then-intake of hydrogen water restrained my reactions, I stopped getting reactions no matter how much I drink. Some time last year, I stopped taking hydrogen water and it might be a coincidence but reactions started coming back. Nevertheless, the thing is that the reactions happened because my liver was unable to break down the alcohol as quickly, so even if the reactions were restrained, I was hurting my liver. Last year, when I went for a voluntary full-body checkup, the doctor told me I’ve got fatty liver and asked me to stop drinking (and also to start exercising). So I decided to not take alcohol again.

So it was at the dinner that I ordered Oolong Tea while K and the Korean teacher had all kinds of alcohol. Toward the end, they ordered too much and there was still half a bottle of Korean soju left. K and the Korean guy were asking each other to finish it up. Then the Korean teacher poured a full glass and handed it to me. I told him, “No, I can’t drink.” And his response was, “Drink it up if you’re a man.”

For some reason, I burst out laughing at the comment, which sounded all too familiar. I realized it’s a comment used by people who have no other premises to push forth their argument, so they resort to demeaning the other party hoping they would relent if their ego were hurt. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work on me, because my ego is not so easily damaged by a comment by someone whom I have no respect for. And people who use this as a way to compel others usually lose my respect, because it sounds like an immature child trying all ways to hurt the other party when they are not getting their way. I told him straight, “I’m sorry but that doesn’t work on me. If I say I’m not going to drink it, then I’m not going to drink it.” He looked embarrassed and eventually drank it himself.

Maybe that’s why people think I’m not fun to hang out with.

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