Random bruises & accidental cuts, a bitter aftertaste, parched mouth, throbbing head, drunk dials on your recent calls and your handbag’s missing – along with your mind – black outs. You know how it gets. Like any hangovers, while your head is spinning and you’re slumped on the toilet bowl pissing away last night’s liver damage, your memory flows back, piecing itself into a puzzle, revealing a not so pretty image – not to mention, scent.
Woke up over the weekend on the living room couch with eye liner running down my cheeks and a whiff of vomit in the air - otherwise known as a hideous hangover. So imagine the mess I woke up to, in a state of unconsciousness, when the first breath inhaled (as the smell always hits you first), was spew. That would all be fine if not for the fact that the vomit wasn’t mine and the perpetrator fled the scene of the slime.
Somewhere between a bottle of Chardonnay and Prosecco, I had a memory lapse. It’s not unusual to have a “Dude where’s my car” moment within the first couple of hours of a hangover – you forget the sequence of events, conversations had, jokes told or how you managed to go through 3 bottles of wine and a Vodka between 4 (true story). In this case it was a “Dude who puked on my bed” moment. I’d like one of the 5 people I meet in heaven to be my sobriety.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always loved playing host to dinner parties and wine sessions and have dealt with mishaps from broken glasses to broken tooth. And as a host, I’ve witnessed some bad behavior and though alcohol helps deal with the frustration from time to time, there’s just some things that goes beyond the social yardstick of what’s acceptable and what’s not. So naturally, its high time I come up with a drinking etiquette guide – not just as a host but as an observant guest.
1. RSVP : When you’re invited via email, sms or verbally, it’s only polite to RSVP. Don’t throw out that “Oh yeah I meant to get back to you but I’ve been so busy” excuse. If you have time to check your Facebook, you sure as hell have time to return an email or sms and it doesn’t matter how close you are to the host, it’s basic common courtesy not to assume your attendance. If someone is taking the trouble to wine and dine you, the least you can do is respond.
2. Gesture: Bring something with you. Doesn’t matter if its cupcakes, a bottle of wine or a basket of fruits. It’s just a gesture that says “Gee thanks for slogging over the stove for the past 5 hours, tidying up the place and mopping the floor for tonight. Here’s a bottle of wine I picked up on the way that costs a fraction of what you’re spending. You’re welcome!”
3. Booze: Simple. Whatever booze you bring to the house, stays in the house. Don’t be a stinge and bring home a quarter of what’s left in your Vodka. It’s B.Y.O not B.Y.B (Bring yours back).
4. Waste: Remember your glass, don’t put it amongst a mass of drinks laying around and then take the liberty to pour a fresh one. Don’t waste your drinks, there’s sober kids in Africa!
5. Pinching: Freeloader alert. Don’t pinch your mate’s smokes. If you know you’re running low, grab a fresh packet before heading over. It’s rather annoying being the one who takes the initiative to do so, only to be giving them out all night. Oh and I don’t quite care if you’re a social smoker trying to kick the habit so you don’t buy anymore. If you have the tendency to smoke anything more than 4 sticks in one night, then get your own.
6. Puke: If you’re going to hurl your breakfast, lunch and dinner at a party, then have the courtesy to do it in the toilet, in a bucket, over a sink, outside in the bush – anywhere else but on the bed, sofa or cushioned seating. And even if you do, clean it up before you leave!
7. Ashing: The ashtray is right there. Seriously, stretch your arms out and ash your cigarette and stop flicking it all over the balcony, on the floor and into empty glasses. If you’re not going to clean up the mess, please don’t make it worse than it already is.
8. Guzzler: There’s always extra stash of alcohol. Just cos you’ve exhausted the ones delegated for the night, it doesn’t give you the right to rummage through the private stash to satiate your bottomless pit. Thy shalt respect thy host!
9. Music: If you don’t like the music being played, put on a set of earphones. Don’t put on your iPhone and play your tunes. Rudeness. Know your boundaries.
10. Socialize: Typing away on your Blackberry or iPhone (latest being the iPad, the mother of all social kill) throughout the night is a big no no.
11. Driving: Don’t put the host in a position to confiscate your keys, only to be at the receiving end of alcoholic aggression. If you can’t be responsible for yourself, then others have a right to. Heck, you should be so lucky you don’t end up on the 6 o’clock news!
12. Limit: There is nothing worse then getting drunk, rude and stupid while dancing to Bieber, pash-dashing and hiding your puke under a mat. Stick to one type of alcohol and if that bottle runs dry, best to have a glass of water on standby before you turn all Jekyll and Hyde.
13. Last: If there’s one last cigarette in the box or one can of beer left in the fridge – don’t. touch. it.
14. Curfew: If you’re the last guest left and the host is yawning, probably time to put down the wine and leave. By this time you’re already slurring and ranting off tangent, and quite frankly, making no sense.
15. Plus 1: If your host is alright with you bringing your friend along, the least you could do is bring your friend back with you. Not get drunk and leave your friend to the responsibility of someone else.
But of course, drinking rules apply in different social settings too. So here’s an additional 5 drinking etiquette that applies to out-of-home drinking:
1. Don’t embarrass your friends by being loud and obnoxious like a 30 year old sorority girl when you’re drunk. Like running behind the bar and kicking up your heels on the table. Side-note: randomly picking up guys as a comical gag can sometimes backfire, making it uncomfortable for your mates.
2. Buy a round of drinks from time to time, especially if your friends have been doing so for you. However, if you wish not to, (which brings me to #3)
3. DO NOT short-pay when the bill arrives. Or worse, dash off early and pay only a fraction of what you’ve had. Once or twice it’s easy to slip by but when it becomes a habit, your friend’s will give you the evil eye. By the way, we all drink from the same bottle, unless you’re Jho Low and you own the bar, I don’t see why you’re exempted from tax and service charges.
4. Do not commit to meeting up and then pulling out at the very last minute via sms. That’s equivalent to a social tease. I’m comingggggggg no wait, I’m not. That’s just plain are.you.dee.eee!
5. If you’re running late, please inform instead of rocking up after an hour as if nothing happened. Hello? Did you drop into the black hole of a different time zone?
There’s plenty where this came from but at the risk of coming across as a personal attack, I’m just stating the obvious and venting my frustrations. I draw all my posts from personal experience and I have had to deal with almost every single one listed above, which makes me question the quality of friendships I surround myself with. But hell, I’m not perfect either and god knows what alcohol can do and undo. I’ve had my fair share of drunken antics that has got me blacklisted from a bar, into a girl fight, peeing with kangaroos and the list rolls on. All I’m saying is, drink responsibly, be courteous and wipe up your own puke.
If you feel guilty, you are.