My interest in straws started in college. All incoming freshmen had to take an online alcohol education course before enrolling, ostensibly to help the young minds of America make smarter, safer choices when it came to drinking. Most of my friends, however, took the warnings as semi-professional advice on how to get drunk as efficiently as possible. That’s how, “Don’t drink mixed drinks through a straw because you’ll get drunk faster,” quickly transformed into, “You should only drink mixed drinks through a straw because you’ll get drunk faster.”

So I started drinking mixed drinks with a straw, though I don’t know if it actually got me more drunk than I would’ve been otherwise since I was already drinking a lot. What I do know is that I kept up the habit, even when I wasn’t out drinking, and I soon realized that every drink—except hot coffee because drinking hot coffee with a straw is dangerous—tastes better when you drink it through a straw. It’s as true for water as it is for cheap cans of Natty Light stolen from frat houses. (The straw keeps you from tasting the full extent of the flat mediocrity.)

By the time I graduated, I was using plastic straws all of the time, for every drink that passed over my lips, alcoholic or not. That meant I needed to have a straw on me always, and I picked up the dubious habit of stealing straws from Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, the campus coffee shop, random diners, anywhere I could get my hands on them, like some kind of straw junkie.

Despite my oral fixation, I developed some issues with the design of the standard plastic straw. After a couple of days of use, the plastic would crack or I’d chew the tip down until it was unusable. Even though these plastic straws are made to be tossed into the trash, using a new plastic straw every single day feels wasteful, even when you’re stealing them. There’s also something about sitting in your office, nervously chomping on a chewed up plastic straw as you draft emails, that doesn’t exactly scream, “competent young adult.”

But straws, as I’ve outlined, are dope, and I refused to give up drinking from what’s essentially a grown-up toddler cup in order to appear more professional. Or whatever.

That’s why I’ve upgraded to stainless steel straws, and this four-pack is the best $6.50 I’ve ever spent on Amazon. (And that’s saying something, because I buy, like, everything on Amazon.) 

I am no longer the girl who’s stuffing her purse with plastic straws or mindlessly gnawing away at her desk or sipping bad beer in basements. Instead, I’m the woman who’s got her own selection of aesthetically pleasing stainless straws (that came with their own cleaning brush, for the record) that make any drink or can of soda look instantly Instagram-worthy. I no longer chew through the plastic until it’s mottled, which probably makes my dentist-slash-cousin very happy, but since they’re heavier than a traditional plastic straw, they’re even more pleasing to hold and play with. The multi-pack is crucial, too, because it means I always have a high-quality straw on hand, both at work and home. They’re also significantly more eco-friendly than regular, old plastic straws, since you’re not throwing them out all of the time, so really, you could argue I’m making the world a better place, one stainless steel straw at a time. 

But really, I’m the same old dirtbag I ever was—except with a nicer set of straws.

Epica Stainless Steel Drinking Straws, Set of 4, $6.50, amazon.com