I don’t drink, but it’s not because of moral objections or religion or prudishness. Like many Asians, I’m allergic to alcohol.
Specifically, I get the familiar “Asian Flush” after just a few sips of even beer. I drank when I was younger, but I felt self-conscious about my face turning red, my eyes glowing in the dark and my body getting splotchy like I rolled around in poison ivy.
It’s not fair: My dad used to drink like a fish and he didn’t get the Asian flush. My younger brother Glenn is blessed with the same ability to drink without the outward sunburned display; my older brother Gary turns red but it’s never stopped him from drinking.
As a high school student (yes, it’s true, I may have done some under-aged drinking… I blame my jock friends), I could never hide the fact that I may have sipped a beer or two. Even if I came home at 1 in the morning, my mom would be inside the front door or at the top of the steps. “You be drinky? she’d ask. “Uh, no mom, I don’t drink. I was just driving around the mountains with Bubba and John.” “Heh? You sure? You look like you be drinky…”