Alcohol Allergies and Other Things I Didn’t Know Existed

  Getting old sucks. You notice gray hairs and wrinkles and your knees ache and back starts to hurt. You realize dancing in public is frowned upon and that the Cabbage Patch and Dougie aren’t cool anymore. Fashion magazines don’t apply to you anymore because they’re all written for 25 year olds who are searching for their dream job and dream man. In New York. On a budget.

I still feel nineteen on the inside but on the outside I’m 46. I’m still getting guessed much younger than I am, but 35 is about the cutoff these days. Coffee is a requirement not an option. I’m entertaining the thought of reading glasses and understand why people falsify information to get handicapped placards (this isn’t OK, for the record).

Things happen to your body that you think are disgusting. Things that you watched happen to your mom are now happening to you and you’re in complete and total denial. Daily.

Recently I started having a “reaction” to alcohol. I ignored it at first, not realizing it was happening every time I drank, especially when it was wine. I carry an Epipen (nurses do this) at all times for other people, but never for myself. Like any normal person in the medical field, I don’t go to the doctor for anything unless it’s gangrenous or blocking an airway, so I handled this no differently. With a lovely glass of Merlot (full bodied, delicious Merlot) in hand I set out to Googling my symptoms and came across this:


Say what?!?!

Yes. There are people who are allergic to alcohol. Mind. Blown.

First, your body starts to flush. Your face turns red and you sweat. I mean REALLY sweat. Wet hair, wet face, boob sweat kind of sweating. At first I thought it was menopause. I was having hot flashes, feeling pretty crappy in general and would never, in a million years have suspected that wine, my longtime friend, would turn against me like that. I felt betrayed by a bottle of Cabernet. No man’s betrayal was as horrible as this. I unwind with a glass of wine when I have a hard day. I love margaritas (Tequila, it turns out, is the worst culprit of all) and having drinks with friends, but I love not feeling that way or blowing chunks much more than alcohol.

I don’t seem to have the same reaction to beer in small quantities, but wine and spirits I am apparently “allergic” to. I can add this to cats on my list of allergies that developed once I turned 40.

Sometimes I’ll still try to have a glass of wine and think I won’t react badly, but I do and it’s heartbreaking. Not Lifetime Movie heartbreaking, but still challenging nonetheless.

I wonder if all these years I’ve been allergic to alcohol and that’s why I was so sick the next day. What if hangovers are really allergic reactions and we all have “allergies” to alcohol? I know the 8 shots of tequila I had ten years ago probably had nothing to do with my scraping myself up off of the bathroom floor. I could’ve had a legitimate excuse for calling in sick to class or work for the past 25 years! The things we learn as we get older. 

If this is something that comes with age, I’d like to become a vampire. Stat. Then I can drink wine for eternity.

-THAT crazy girl 


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