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Sunday, November 22, 2009

And Now, A Brief Word on The Drink-Acknowledged Agreement

I spend a lot of time thinking about social norms, about the fact that the expected behavior in one place is considered unacceptable in another.

Consider the act of taking your shoes off when you enter someone’s home, for example. When I was young, this was done at the front door of the trailer automatically. When I did it at the neighbor’s trailer, however, I was ridiculed for being, and I quote, “La-dee-dah”.

After that, they called me “Princess”.

Human behavior fascinates me – which is not to say that I am not just as critical as the folks with the filthy carpeting. While I may be scornful of the folks, say, at the Famous Dave’s in Roseville, out for lunch on Saturday, hair matted and in what was clearly their pajamas, their behavior serves me well: I get to feel good about the fact that this will not happen to me in my lifetime (insert judgmentally shaking head here) but I get to make up little stories about why they couldn’t brush their hair (the directions on the tick-removal shampoo suggested that they not) or get dressed (plans to eat a whole pie in the parking lot following lunch, perhaps, requiring something with expansion potential).

But there is one thing I’ve noticed recently, something that tears at the fabric of human commonalities, something that must be nipped in the bud immediately.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but I enjoy a beer now and then. This is something I do while out with friends, a social thing. I don’t care to drink by myself; and you’ll never stop in and find me having a beer while watching TV or weeding my garden; but if you’re going up to The Spring later, I’ll have three, thank you very much.

I tend to run a little hot sometimes, and a couple of beers help me put things in perspective.

Which brings me to a most important point.

If you’re out, sitting with friends and acquaintances, and someone raises their beer and you raise yours as well, clinking the glasses in recognition that yes, we are in wild agreement, you and I, then the next step to this social dance is the drinking of the contents of said glasses.

You wouldn’t think I’d have to say that, would you? And yet I am surprised, every time it happens, by the number of people who will clink but then do not drink.

How can you clink and then set your drink down?

If you do not drink, following the clink, you have made a mockery of the system; and without the system, we have chaos.

Without the system of clink, then drink, how will we know whether you truly agree that so-and-so is a jolly good fellow or if you are going through the motions in the hopes that my own repeated agreement will allow you to, say, swipe onion rings from me later?

You see? It all falls apart.

People, we need a system.


Jimmy Bastard said...

Tis bad manners indeed to 'clink' and then not drink. I suggest a system of sending these philistines to the bar with wallets in hand until they learn the ropes.

IB said...

I see that happening with disturbing regularity too. What has become of etiquette? Are we no longer superior to the common beast?

When you get to my place, Pearl, there will be many an opportunity for the clinking, which will be immediately followed, without hesitation, by the drinking.

Remove your shoes if you like, but leave your hat on.

ellen abbott said...

Rudeness, just plain rudeness. I'm with Jimmy Bastard, send them to the bar to pay for the next round.

otin said...

I don't think that the drink clink will put us on the brink of being extinct if the drink drinker is just a clinker and doesn't think about the link between the drinking and the clinking! LOL!

Jules said...

No drinking after the clink? Sacrilege!

CatLadyLarew said...

I'm shocked and appalled at the thought of cretins who would dare clink and not drink!

@eloh said...

Drinking was a huge part of the Army, way way back in my day.....we always knew one thing...
if we were out drinking... and "someone" was drinking "mixed drinks"... and not the golden calf of beer.... one of us would get that drink... and without fail it was nothing but soda pop.

No alcohol = VD

Fragrant Liar said...

Yeah the clink no-drink practice borders on the heretical. Hang them by their entrails and I'll betcha next time they drink after the clink.


Under the Influence said...

Oh dear, I just went to a local drive-thru in my pj's. Seriously. Then when I got there, the drive-thru was PACKED and I was forced to sit in the line because I could NOT go inside to place my order with my pj's on. However, after reading your post, it seems maybe I could have, but with a lot of people around me shaking their heads.

Under the Influence said...

Oh, and I ALWAYS drink after a clink. Only neanderthals don't follow that little bit of etiquette! :)

mapstew said...

Can't see that happening around here! (Like we need the excuse of 'clinkin' to be drinkin'!)
But yes, if you clink, then you MUST drink!



Elliott said...

wait...this happens? Never in my company, I'm glad to say. Even when I make friends drink my favorite clinky things, being Jagermeister ice cold and solitary, or the darker varieties of sweet sweet liquor, being anejo tequila and any fine whisk(e)y.

They can go back to their umbrella drinks later.

Smart Mouth Broad said...

I completely agree with you. It's like saying, "I WON'T drink to that."

Courtney said...

I think I'm going to need pants with expansion potential over Thanksgiving.

rakkasa said...

That clinking custom is based on the old, old custom of tipping some of your drink into your compadre's, who returns the favor; both then drink with the expectation that their drinks have not been poisoned. To not drink after tippling into each other's glass implies mistrust and probable asassination (sp?). Hence, -now- the not-drinking-after-clinking is merely rude, not potentially deadly.

Jayne Martin said...

How funny... I've never really thought about that or noticed. But now that you bring it up, a clink without a drink is at the very least bizarre, and even bordering on hostile. I'm going to be all over the ass of the next person I see do it.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I've noticed that before-- the not drinking after clinking. That's just wrong. I thought people learned to click and drink in high school, er, um I mean college.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Not The Rockefellers said...

clink flunkers...that's what I call them
clink and drink...always

some folks got no home trainin'
and it's bad y'know?

Peace ~ Rene

Gregory said...

well of course you drink after you clink, are you nuts crazy, totally gone... oh wait you're not the guilty one here,
Houston to Pearl... all systems are go...

Kavi said...

Glass will clink. People will drink. In pajamas or whatever.

Sometimes glasses may not clink. And people may not click. But drinking still happens.

Cheers to human behaviour. Clink !

ladyfi said...

Clink and drink - yes! And even if you don't drink alcohol, you can drink and clink with juice or soda, right?

The Jules said...

Clinking and not drinking is just wrong. I also hate it when you haven't got a drink and someone raises a toast, then you have to join in with some hastily grabbed flowers in a vase or an old curdled cup of coffee.

As an addendum, a friend of mine warned me that if you didn't make eye contact with your clinkee whilst clinking you would suffer bad sex for five years afterwards.

Although, it's sex, and that's the main thing.

savannah said...

cheers! here's to drinking, i mean, clinking AND drinking, sugar! xoxox

Jess said...

MY GOD WOMAN! YOU ARE SOOOO RIGHT! The solution is obvious. We must start taking down the ones that clink and don't drink. I mean TAKE...THEM...DOWWWN. Chances are we will be in a bar when it happens and we can then kill two birds with one stone! Bar fights are AWESOME to add to ones accomplishments in life and doing it for the Clink-But-Not-Drink Association (CBNDA) is completely acceptable!

Pere Callahan said...

I have to say if wiki says drinking is part of the "toast" then it would be egregious violation of said honoring or toast. Hence send them to the bar to buy the next round like Jimmy Bastard said, it would be the least they can do.