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Drinking 101

Let’s preface this by saying this isn’t the end-all, be-all of drinking advice. Such information will probably never be established. But while we wait for never, let’s go ahead and take a stab at some simple rules to make sure that we don’t ever waking up thinking “What the hell was I thinking last night?” (Excluded, but blatantly obvious: Don’t drink and drive!)

Rule #1: Know Your Limits

Alcohol producers and beer distributors are legally required to tell you to drink responsibly. You’ve all heard it at the end of every “makes no sense” Smirnoff commercial, and even in Batman movies, but the truth of the matter is, it’s sage advice.

We here at the Hour of Power are all about having a good time and enjoying numerous beverages, but we also don’t ever like being “That Guy”. You know the guy I’m talking about, the one he stumbles on his way to the cooler, eyes glazed over, the zombie-look on his face. The most telling sign is following him into the bathroom after he just took five minutes to urinate and noticing that he decide to play Pablo Picasso with the toilet seat. Nobody likes That Guy.

A good rule of thumb to avoid this is if you start to feel drowsy, abort. Once that tiredness starts to come over you, your motor skills will severely diminish and your sound judgment goes out the window. During this stage you’re more likely to blackout and wake up with best friend’s sister (and not the hot one) than you are be the life of the party. Which brings me to my next rule…

Rule #2: Social Butterfly Good/Annoying Creeper Bad

One of alcohol’s many traits is bringing us out of our cocoon. For those of us with a normally shy nature, it may be even more so, as you let your wall down and explore around like a puppy in a new house. There’s nothing wrong with this…as long as it’s done with responsibility (there’s that damn word again).

If you’re the one throwing the party, feel free to meander around, greet the guests, exchange stories and pleasantries. That’s not only allowed, but usually expected. Just make sure to keep it within boundaries. Don’t go up to the new freshman in the short skirt and proposition her, because unless you were in one of those God-forsaken Twilight movies, it’s not going to work. Small-talk is the key. Save the seduction routine for a time when you’ll remember her name in the morning.

Now what about if you’re the guest at the party? Same rules mostly apply, with a few minor tweaks. Don’t engage in forced interaction. That means don’t walk into conversations where you don’t know anybody, don’t sit too close on the couch to somebody you don’t know, and for the love of all that is holy, please DO NOT tap a girl on the back to tell her you like that her jeans say “Spank Me” on the back. If you want to talk to her, approach her from the front and wait until your hands are actually “reading” for you before you drop that horrible line on her. At least at that point, you got something out of it.

Rule #3: Eat Beforehand

Nothing can take a good buzz and turn it into a night of emptiness quicker than an empty stomach. The food helps add an extra layer to dilute the alcohol before it enters your bloodstream. The lower the food, the quicker the dilution ends. According to a study on alcohol at Virginia Tech, “Food taken along with alcohol results in a lower, delayed blood alcohol concentration peak” with peak BACs being reached two to three times slower then those without food.

Enjoying a nice, pre-drinking meal will add longevity to your night (you may never know when you’ll need it), help you better adhere to Rule #1 and reduce the chances of you getting sick. Also, the closer to the time of your first beverage that you enjoy the drink, the lower peak BAC you’ll experience.

Rule #4: Pace Yourself

This rule ties in nicely to Rule #1, but is important enough that some elaboration is needed. A good pace allows you to stay on top of your game throughout the night, avoid blackouts and douche bagery-type moments, and keep your costs down if you’re out on the town on a budget, because to be caught without a drink while out at the bars makes you either look cheap, boring or the DD. None of which usually attract a lot of positive attention.

To set a good pace, you need to know a few things going into the night. First off, identify how long you plan to be out. If you’re going to a dinner party followed by a night out at the bars, your game plan will vary drastically from a three hour house party at your buddy’s place. Second, if you’re going to be paying for drinks, set a budget for what you are willing to spend. Factor in if you’re single and plan on buying girls drinks (not a recommended move by us, or Neil Strauss, author of The Game). This will help you decide whether you’re living by wells and drafts, or are able to venture to some other, classier drinks. The final factor you should consider when pacing yourself is who you are drinking with. Are they a social crowd that talks a lot but drinks little? Are they fans of shots? Do they like to play drinking games? All of these will help you determine what types of drinks you should be drinking, when to slow down and when you are able to indulge a little bit more.

Rule #5: Don’t use alcohol as Prozac

Allow me to be Captain Obvious and state that I’m a proponent of enjoying a few drinks on occasion. Drinking can create bonding moments because we let our guard down and let people see a deeper us. It can create a way for you to hang out with your friends. It can apparently even give you something to write about. But usually these things are only attained when you are happy prior to indulging.

If you’re unhappy when you start to drink, or even worse, start to drink because you’re unhappy, you’re usually on the path to amplifying or multiplying your current problems. Your bitter mood only becomes worse as you sulk in your problems, accuse innocent people and alienate friends. It also leads to even poorer decision making as you become more prone to fights, verbal arguments or driving while intoxicated. And according to www.DepressionCell.com, can even lead to clinical depression.

So just remember, nobody likes to be around an emotional, unhappy or grumpy drunk person, not your friends, not your spouse, not even your dog.

Keeping all these things in mind should help you have an entertaining night with minimal drama, sickness and regrettable moments while still maintaining all the enjoyment and quality times that are had when kicking back a few with your friends. Alcohol is available for us to have fun and kick back a little when used responsibly and with the right rules in place. It shouldn’t be used as a coping device or a way to forget things. In comic books, you often see the phrase “With great power comes great responsibility.” The same can be applied to alcohol. Its powers over the human brain and body can be quite severe at times, so remember to treat it respectfully.

Alcohol is a lady; you need to know when to go slow and caress her or when a fast pounding is in order. But don’t abuse her, don’t use her as an excuse, let her be your date for a night on the town…just don’t let her drive.

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