How Awkward Is Using MiO* in Public?

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Water "Enhancers".
*Or any artificially flavored liquid beverage enhancer.

I appreciate that many people prefer a little flavor in their water. As an adolescent girl in the 1990's, I was quite smitten with Crystal Light and infused my water bottles for softball with their potent powders. I've since kicked my Crystal Light habit and now try to use just cucumbers, limes and lemons to add a little spice to my H2O. And sometimes I do indulge in those one-liter bottles of sparkling water artificially flavored with "tangerine lime" and other nonsense.

But I can't get behind using MiO , Dasani Drops, Vitamin Squeeze or any of these other just-under-two ounces flasks of concentrated artificial flavor.

Especially not in public.

So you want to spike a glass of water at home with some pink lemonade MiO or maybe take a water bottle to go pre-mixed with pineapple coconut Dasani Drops. Fine.

But please tell me how it's not awkward to "turn water into the drink you need" while sitting down at a restaurant or bar? Let me count the ways it's not weird/vulgar/potentially incriminating.

First, let's presume you've requested a plain old glass of water from your server, perhaps alongside a glass of soda, juice, wine, etc. As you and your dining companion(s) begin to converse, you haul out this tiny plastic bottle thing and add a bit of "enhancer" to your water. Not only does this gesture distract your companion(s) (who are thinking but perhaps too polite to ask, "What the f*ck was that?"), but it also more often than not creates this odd squirting-farting noise.

Second, with the addition of "enhancer," your water changes in color as well as flavor. Your server is confused (didn't she say she wanted water?) because now you appear to be drinking something that's not water and/or double-fisting. And if your server is sufficiently confused, he may charge for an extra glass of juice, soda, etc., assuming that he imagined that glass of water in the first place.

But let's forget for a moment about using liquid enhancers in a quiet restaurant and shift to a louder, crowded atmosphere such as a bar or club. In an age of increased publicity about nefarious drink-spiking, why would you want to give the (mistaken) impression that you were altering a beverage? The random observer will not think, "Oh, that's probably just a water enhancer." He will assume you are up to no good and report you to the authorities. You will spend the rest of the night explaining to the police that you were spiking your own drink because you just can't bear the taste of plain water. Party over. And you look like a douche.

Okay, I might be slightly exaggerating the social dangers of water enhancers. Readers, I'm curious about your experiences. What do you think when someone pulls out the MiO/Dasani Drops/Vitamin Squeeze?

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I was about to say "really, you're concerned about using it in public?", and then saw the bit about using it at a restaurant or bar. 

REALLY? People have that little home-trainin' such that they'll do that? About the only restaurants I can imagine using that at would be McDonalds or Burger King. Water bottles (even in public), sure. But at a table or bar? Not even close to cool.

Elaine Mesker-Garcia
Elaine Mesker-Garcia

I confess to doing this in a restaurant a handful of times but I felt very self-conscious about it. I only did at restaurants that had colored glasses (like the red ones at Fajita Willie's) so you couldn't really tell & I wouldn't confuse the waiter. I don't use them anymore, sucralose has a nasty after-taste for me.


Blind item: Which current Houston Press employee has been known to ask for a bowl of lemons and a ton of sugar and proceed to make their own lemonade when dining out...


Mio in a restaurant? Tacky. Ask for a slice of lime.


@htownpuglife  That's called a Coctel Monterrey among Mexicans, drawing on the well-known stereotype that the folks from Monterrey push frugality beyond its civilized limits. But really a laughing matter more than an opportunity for a swipe.

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