September 08, 2012
I want to teach my daughter how to drink.
No, seriously. Based on my life's experiences, there are too many pitfalls for her if I don't step up with some instruction.
So here are the rules:
1) Don't drink with the boys.
This should be obvious, but either it isn't common-wisdom enough or it's too easily forgotten. Nothing good happens when a girl drinks with the boys, not even with one of them. She will either find her inhibitions loosened wide enough for the big ugly monster called Regret to waddle in for an extended stay, or she'll throw up.
Which brings up the second rule.
2) Don't drink with the girls.
I'm thinking mostly of college-age girls with this one. The get-together starts as a hen party at someone's abode, then as the blender winds up the third batch, somebody has the brilliant idea to go clubbing.
I picture my daughter as the one dragging anchor, glaring at every popped-collar operator trying to single out one of her wobbly friends for whatever passes for dancing in 2020 AD.
If she's lucky, the good times will peak as she's holding the hair of her girlfriend kneeling over the toilet. Then she gets to drive the survivors home. (Note to self for 2019: Stow barf bags in the glove box of daughter's car before she leaves for college.)
3) Don't "not drink."
When the host asks what you'd like, have an answer. "I don't drink" sounds like a put-up, which is the same as a put-down because it's meant to make you look better at someone else's expense. If you really don't enjoy alcohol, ask for ice water with lime, and if anyone overhears that, say you have another day's antibiotics to finish off from your sinus infection. Otherwise, choose according to the decor, and make that one drink last as long as possible.
4) Drink your age.
Nobody over 30 should drink a margarita, except on Jimmy Buffett's yacht. Gin-and-tonic is for retirees. Beer is never wrong; also red wine, particularly if you ask for it by grape, as in "merlot" or "cabernet." Requesting a "Chilean white unless it's the 2011 vintage" is another put-up.
5) Drink pretty drinks.
No, not the foofy Day-Glo frozen thingies served in a vase with a toucan's feather. Drink what looks right on you. If you're in jeans at the rodeo, have a bottle of beer. (Make it a dark bottle so no one can see how much is left.)
At an office party, order a martini with tonic only; no gin, or just a splash. It'll taste just as bad, and no one will be the wiser.
Most other socializing calls for a glass of red wine. White's only good until it warms up, which means ordering another, which means too many. And too many is only for experienced professionals like your father.
Brown liquor is never OK. I learned that from television. It's for alcoholics and people who are just about to confess something horrible.
At home, I recommend port. On ice, with a twist of lime. Because your mother likes that, too, and she's pretty much the only other person on Earth you should ever drink with besides me and your eventual husband.
See also Last Call, or, I'm Kind of a Big Deal in the Martini-Drinking World
Posted by: Michael Rittenhouse at
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