Monday, September 24, 2007

Holding Your Liquor

There is plenty of advice available to teen-agers these days in terms of “drinking responsibly”. However, I find that none of it is as objective as it could be. Actually, most of it is rather confusing. No wonder most teen-agers pay little attention to advice regarding drinking, and the whole thing becomes a “you’ll have to learn on your own” kind of thing (which isn’t really very helpful, is it?).

To begin with, teen-agers notoriously aren’t very inclined to follow any kind of advice, specially the ones who call on them to “act responsibly”… They tend to think this kind of talk is lame, and it often has the exact opposite effect: teens will do precisely the opposite of what is being suggested, just to prove that they can feel independent and joyful when NOT acting responsibly, and that “acting responsibly” is for “squares” (I know that the expression “squares” went out of fashion a few decades ago, but bear with me.)

Therefore, let’s start by giving advice on how to “hold your liquor”, which is much more enticing than “acting responsibly”. “Holding your liquor” is about enjoying yourself, by drinking and not throwing up all over the place, spoiling the party not only for yourself but also for everyone around you. “Holding your liquor” means drinking smart, not acting like a bore. People who can hold their liquor are admired. People who can’t, are despised and pitied. People who “act responsibly” are considered boring party spoilers.

So let me be objective about it. Each person has to know their own limit, but usually you only find out what your limit is once you’ve crossed it (and made an ass of yourself). So here are some straightforward guidelines while you’re learning to test your own limits:

1. Don’t drink on an empty stomach, have something to eat before you start drinking.
2. Drink water or soft drinks alternating with alcohol.
3. Don’t mix your booze: if you start with beer, don’t change to whiskey, then to wine, then back to beer, etc. Stick with one kind for the evening, and respect the quantities below:
4. Respect these limits, if you’re male:
a) Two beers is OK; four beers is max (after that, you’re drunk)
b) One double whiskey is OK; two is max (after that, you can’t talk straight). This goes for all “strong” spirits like vodka, gin, rum
c) A glass of wine is fine; half a bottle is max (after that, you’re out)
d) Two glasses of champagne is OK; three is max (after that, your performance is affected)
5. For the ladies, the limits are smaller. It’s a plain fact that blokes tend to be able to drink more without it affecting them, as a general rule. There are exceptions, of course. Certain ladies will shame the lads in a drinking contest, but that is definitely not what you see in 90% of the cases. So ladies, look at half the amounts above to remain sober. If you go beyond half the prescription you are doing so at your own risk, and the consequences for drunken behaviour tend do be more severe for the ladies then for the men (right or wrong, it’s a fact in most cultures).
6. Speaking of drinking contests, don’t ever go into any kind of drinking game. These are truly stupid exercises which embarrass all participants, to the sadistic joy of the non-participating on-lookers, who cheer them on to their demise. You want people to have fun WITH you, not to make fun OF you. Plus, the game winners tend to wind up in hospital with a tube down their throats. Not worth it.
7. If you forgot how many drinks you’ve had, you’ve had too many. Stop and go home, while you can still remember where you live!
Learning something tends to be almost always enjoyable. Learning to hold your liquor can be enjoyable too. Just tread slowly and enjoy the scenery. If you go too fast you’re just spoiling your own journey.

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