When I was growing up, my experience of alcohol was seeing my older brothers get completely shit-faced. This made a real impression on me, and it took me a while to rid myself of the idea that the purpose of drinking was to get blindingly drunk and pass out. I’d go out to parties at college and be really confused when people would look down at me for being drunk. “Of course I’m drunk! Isn’t that why we came to this stupid party?” was my attitude.
It took me about ten years to realize that real men don’t guzzle down huge quantities of cheap hooch or beer. Real men drink real booze. Slowly, like gentlemen. “It’s for sippin’, not for chuggin’ “, as my cousin Paul says.
When you get black-out drunk, your friends may have a laugh with you about it the next day, but please realize that though it may feel like they’re laughing with you, they’re really laughing at you. And I don’t think I need to tell you that getting black-out drunk greatly increases the odds that you’ll do something you’ll regret the next day. You might even do something you don’t remember. What’s the point of having an experience you can’t remember?
To drink slowly, it helps to drink something you respect enough to sip slowly, either because you respect the quality and/or price of the booze you’re drinking, or because you respect its power to make you do stupid things that you or someone else will regret tomorrow. Don’t assume beer will keep you safe. Beer tends to taste like water, and you can end up drinking a lot of it before you realize how drunk it’s made you.
Another good reason to avoid beer is that it doesn’t taste as good as wine or whiskey. And do you really need the extra calories?
A few more rules:
- Never drink on an empty stomach. Have some greasy protein, like a burger, before you start drinking. It will slow down the absorption of alcohol. You still need to drink slowly, but at least you won’t get drunk after two drinks and forget how to drink slowly.
- Drink a glass of water for every drink you have. Hopefully, this will slow down your drinking, but if not, it should at least reduce the potential hangover.
- Never drink alone. Drinking is a social activity. Take away the social aspect and you’re just a sad, lonely alcoholic. Not sexy.
- Don’t drink every day. Chronic drinking is one of the fastest ways to destroy your waistline and your health. If you have problems in your life that are driving you to drink, figure out what they are, and fix them. Alcohol doesn’t actually make you feel better, it just numbs you temporarily and leaves you feeling worse the next day.
- Don’t use alcohol to boost your confidence — Alcohol only lowers inhibition, it doesn’t make you interesting or charming. If you’re trying to talk to girls, having one drink might help you take the edge off, but anymore than that, and you’re not a sexy geek anymore, just a drunk guy like all the others. Your brain is one of your best assets. Keep it functional and your night will probably turn out better.
- Know when it’s time to quit. A little bit of alcohol makes you feel good, but there is a point at which it starts to make you feel worse. I know it’s hard to realize when you’re at this point, and this is all the more reason to drink slowly. Don’t let it sneak up on you. When you start to feel tipsy, stop or slow down. If it’s late and all your friends are drunk, say goodnight. They’ll plead with you to stay (’cause misery loves company), but they won’t remember the next day that you left early. That way, you get the best of both worlds: a satisfying social life and a good night’s sleep.
- Know when it’s time to quit. Alcohol is a powerful drug. If you can’t handle it, there’s no shame in that. If you’re gregarious and outgoing in social situations, no one will notice or care whether or not your glass has alcohol in it. It helps to have an amusing one-liner about why you don’t drink. One of the best I ever heard was: “Every time I start drinking I always seem to end up in handcuffs”. Or you can say what I say: “I don’t like the way it makes me feel”. If the people you’re with don’t respect this choice, chances are they’re not very nice people. They may be alcoholics, or just immature jerks with a penchant for peer-pressure. Find some more mature friends.
Drink like a man, not a teenager, and you’ll be more likely to enjoy yourself and have fond memories the next day.