THAT’S LIFE: Drink codes hard to swallow


Summary

TODAY I want to talk about beverage etiquette – the dos and don’ts of tipple time – on your turf, and out in the field.
Nanjing Night Net

It’s a complicated, nuanced situation, judging by the exuberant response when the topic came up over the water cooler.

We had a quorum (three dudes sharing war stories) and the ball was being batted. It started off with in-laws. ‘‘Don’t get me started’’, was the vibe.

It moved on to spouses – best not to go there, either – before devolving into wine tastes at the dinner table and sponging drinks at parties.

Hello, start your engines.

Seemed everyone had an opinion, an anecdote and a pet hate, often related to

in-laws and spouses – but we weren’t going there, remember?

Top of the list: the freeloaders who turn up thirsty with only a token offering, or worse, nothing at all, in exchange for what you suspect they know you have in the fridge.

It might well be your best friend from primary school, Uncle Barry, or some unsung Samaritan type who resolves to help you for the 14th time since Origin to deal with what they make you feel are your drinking issues, by matching you drink for drink. Nostrovia!

Houston, is there a problem?

Well, not really; it’s called being social, but it can depend on the situation, the invite and possibly a person’s upbringing.

For example, we all agreed if you’re gonna pop around to watch the footy, you bring a token six-pack of something to acknowledge your host’s hospitality. Or, at least, the fact he went to the trouble to get cable TV. There is nothing worthy about turning up dry, unless it’s Ocsober, and by then the finals are nearly over.

Then there is the dinner party scenario. You’ve invited friends or relos over – or, indeed, you’re visiting friends and relos, but you feel from experience their taste in wine is abysmal. Who knows when you became such a wine snob, but it’s happened and now diplomacy will be required.

What to do?

If you’re hosting, do you stash the primo and offer up the dregs from the last time you changed the engine coolant?

There seemed to be a utilitarian inclination not to waste the good stuff on unappreciative palates. Selfless selfishness.

One friend said that when visiting he always turns up with two bottles – one for laying down in the cellar (that is, the crap bottle) and the other for enjoying with dinner (the Grange). He emphasised that he made the distinction clear on arrival in a show of exaggerated graciousness that no doubt reinforced in his hosts that he had a drinking problem.

But at least he was locking in certainty. And, ask any economist, that’s what holds the market together.

It’s a considerate approach in that he anticipates the problems he wants to avoid and gives the innocent criminals an ‘‘out’’.

Savour the good wine with the food and later on we can pour the sump oil over our head when taste buds have gone to hell.

Yes, it’s a complicated neuro-sociological minefield.

And a miracle that people remain friends.

Sometimes you might happen to be the perpetrator.

Maybe not by design, maybe just circumstances conspiring against you.

Sometimes you just can’t get to the bottlo before you arrive.

Maybe someone’s been in your ear about how someone’s got to be the designated driver, leaving you in that corridor of uncertainty as you whistle past a beer barn, rendering you dry on arrival.

Then you discover on arrival that your would-be passenger has decided to drink tea, and maybe it would have been better, as usual, if you had something to with which to overcompensate.

No one wants to be the thirsty person who has nothing to contribute.

Or, worse still, the parasite who prefers instead as the party takes off to suggest to themselves kind of out loud, monologue-like, ‘‘I might have one of these’’, as they delve inquisitively into what suddenly appears to them to be the communal Esky and happen to discover someone else’s Trappist Monastery pale ales.

This has the potential to get ugly, we agreed.

Doesn’t take long in these moments before the communal Eskies become individual Eskies.

Social socialism has its limits, particularly when we’re talking fancy beer – not that anyone is keeping score or taking notice, comrade.

As one person recalled over the water cooler, without wanting to overstate the seriousness of the situation, ‘‘your Esky is your embassy’’.

And, as any international lawyer will tell you, embassies are sovereign areas.

And your beer is essentially Julian Assange.

Touch someone’s beer without a

United Nations mandate and basically you’re a threat to the free world.

Yeah, beverage etiquette is tricky.

You don’t need to drink to be social,

but it seems being social can drive some people to drink.


TODAY I want to talk about beverage etiquette – the dos and don’ts of tipple time – on your turf, and out in the field.
Nanjing Night Net

It’s a complicated, nuanced situation, judging by the exuberant response when the topic came up over the water cooler.

We had a quorum (three dudes sharing war stories) and the ball was being batted. It started off with in-laws. ‘‘Don’t get me started’’, was the vibe.

It moved on to spouses – best not to go there, either – before devolving into wine tastes at the dinner table and sponging drinks at parties.

Hello, start your engines.

Seemed everyone had an opinion, an anecdote and a pet hate, often related to

in-laws and spouses – but we weren’t going there, remember?

Top of the list: the freeloaders who turn up thirsty with only a token offering, or worse, nothing at all, in exchange for what you suspect they know you have in the fridge.

It might well be your best friend from primary school, Uncle Barry, or some unsung Samaritan type who resolves to help you for the 14th time since Origin to deal with what they make you feel are your drinking issues, by matching you drink for drink. Nostrovia!

Houston, is there a problem?

Well, not really; it’s called being social, but it can depend on the situation, the invite and possibly a person’s upbringing.

For example, we all agreed if you’re gonna pop around to watch the footy, you bring a token six-pack of something to acknowledge your host’s hospitality. Or, at least, the fact he went to the trouble to get cable TV. There is nothing worthy about turning up dry, unless it’s Ocsober, and by then the finals are nearly over.

Then there is the dinner party scenario. You’ve invited friends or relos over – or, indeed, you’re visiting friends and relos, but you feel from experience their taste in wine is abysmal. Who knows when you became such a wine snob, but it’s happened and now diplomacy will be required.

What to do?

If you’re hosting, do you stash the primo and offer up the dregs from the last time you changed the engine coolant?

There seemed to be a utilitarian inclination not to waste the good stuff on unappreciative palates. Selfless selfishness.

One friend said that when visiting he always turns up with two bottles – one for laying down in the cellar (that is, the crap bottle) and the other for enjoying with dinner (the Grange). He emphasised that he made the distinction clear on arrival in a show of exaggerated graciousness that no doubt reinforced in his hosts that he had a drinking problem.

But at least he was locking in certainty. And, ask any economist, that’s what holds the market together.

It’s a considerate approach in that he anticipates the problems he wants to avoid and gives the innocent criminals an ‘‘out’’.

Savour the good wine with the food and later on we can pour the sump oil over our head when taste buds have gone to hell.

Yes, it’s a complicated neuro-sociological minefield.

And a miracle that people remain friends.

Sometimes you might happen to be the perpetrator.

Maybe not by design, maybe just circumstances conspiring against you.

Sometimes you just can’t get to the bottlo before you arrive.

Maybe someone’s been in your ear about how someone’s got to be the designated driver, leaving you in that corridor of uncertainty as you whistle past a beer barn, rendering you dry on arrival.

Then you discover on arrival that your would-be passenger has decided to drink tea, and maybe it would have been better, as usual, if you had something to with which to overcompensate.

No one wants to be the thirsty person who has nothing to contribute.

Or, worse still, the parasite who prefers instead as the party takes off to suggest to themselves kind of out loud, monologue-like, ‘‘I might have one of these’’, as they delve inquisitively into what suddenly appears to them to be the communal Esky and happen to discover someone else’s Trappist Monastery pale ales.

This has the potential to get ugly, we agreed.

Doesn’t take long in these moments before the communal Eskies become individual Eskies.

Social socialism has its limits, particularly when we’re talking fancy beer – not that anyone is keeping score or taking notice, comrade.

As one person recalled over the water cooler, without wanting to overstate the seriousness of the situation, ‘‘your Esky is your embassy’’.

And, as any international lawyer will tell you, embassies are sovereign areas.

And your beer is essentially Julian Assange.

Touch someone’s beer without a

United Nations mandate and basically you’re a threat to the free world.

Yeah, beverage etiquette is tricky.

You don’t need to drink to be social,

but it seems being social can drive some people to drink.