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Saturday, February 12, 2011

And Now, I Doubt Your Sincerity

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 a particular neighbor’s home, 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 was not as critical as the folks with the filthy carpeting as they were of me and my shoe-removing ways.

Take the folks, say, at the Famous Dave’s in Roseville, out for lunch last 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) and 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 roomy enough to accommodate expansion).

There is one thing I’ve noticed recently, though, something that must be nipped in the bud immediately.

I don’t know if you know this or not, but I enjoy a beer now and then. This is something I do whilst out with friends, a social thing. I don’t care to drink by myself. You’ll never stop in, for instance, and find me having a beer while brushing a cat or watering my plants; 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 just going through the motions? Perhaps you have evidence to the contrary and don't have the heart to tell me? Perhaps you are swiping onion rings from me while my glass is lifted?

You see? It all falls apart.

People, we need a system.

38 comments:

laughingmom said...

We used "Clink then Drink" as a way to get our kids to down their milk when they wre fussy toddlers with sippy cups.We managed a few stares in restaurants with that one, but now as teens they know the protocol(hopefully not with beer!)

Pearl said...

laughingmom, the beer will come soon enough, but if you're clinking, then yes! The drink must follow!

Sausage Fingers said...

The cheek of some people eh. In Scotland that is considered an ofense so terrible that the 'No drink after clink' offender is often cast out from the group.

Gigi said...

You can't trust those that don't drink after the clink. You simply can't. Especially if there are onion rings on the table.

Pearl said...

SF, I'll drink to that!

Gigi, this is what I'm saying! How can you clink and not drink?!

Jhon Baker said...

I with you on this - clink then drink - make it a bumper sticker, I'll take 10.

Susan in the Boonies said...

There's a term for this. It's called being "hypoclinkacal". Never trust a hypoclink.

When they do drink, they probably drink out of both sides of the glass, if you know what I mean.

Belle said...

I agree, we must all drink after the clink!
It's like people at a football game who don't stand up when it's time to do the wave. If we don't all participate the wave is half-assed. It is more like a ripple.

mapstew said...

In my local we clink only on the first drink of the evening, which is always followed by the drink! But not only on one's own first drink of the evening. If another drinker arrives and joins the group then he or she will clink (and drink) with all. It there are a lot of people joining the group then we forego the clinking as it takes up too much time which would be better spent drinking. See? Sláinte! :¬)

xxx

Gary Baker said...

A drinkless clink is a nonverbal, 'whatever'. Carelessly rude. The offender should be made to buy the next three clinking-rounds.
Cheers.

Eva Gallant said...

He who doesn't clink then drink is a dink!

Mariliz said...

Who are these people that don't drink after they clink? Surely, they don't come from the land of the thirsty.

jenny_o said...

I smell a story behind the story. Who didn't participate? You can tell us.

Camille said...

and the clink is always followed by our favorite toast: "Here's to those who wish us well and all the rest can go to hell"; THEN drink - or else! Oh, and Eva...bwaaahahaha.

Kal said...

People who don't drink after clicking are barbarians who no longer have the right to live in the civilization we have so carefully constructed over the millenia. They and those who walk in the house with their shoes on don't deserve to be around decent folks. They are the reason we need a 'Thunderdome' to cull the heard. Their gruesome fates are reserved and shared with those who also don't believe in evolution or global climate change. Give me a few minutes and I will add to that ever growing list. They will never learn if we don't make examples of them.

Grant said...

Common courtesy demands that you call their insincerity by throwing your beer in their face.

Tracy said...

Pearl,
I couldn't agree with you more....about how human behavior fascinates me! I love to watch people and just make up stories or ask what about their past must have led them to certain 'odd' antics. So much entertainment out there nowadays!

Linda O'Connell said...

Pearl,
Why you little clinker you! You are always cracking me up with your fresh take on life. Thanks. Bottoms up! The beer that is, sit back down.
http://lindaoconnell.blosgpot.com/

Linda Myers said...

LOL. We recently traveled to Italy with a group of wine drinkers. We don't drink at all. Every night during the toast, we raised our glasses of sparkling water, clinked, and drank. We know the drill.

Red Herring Jeff said...

I went up to Green Bay last weekend (I'm from St Louis in particular, and The South in specific), and encountered the shoe taking off for the first time in a long time... It makes sense that you wouldn't want snow and dirt and salt all over your floor, just didn't occur to me before the fact. Also holding doors for people takes on a new meaning. Polite? Maybe, but you're also the jerk that's letting all the cold air in.

And clink and drink is also mandatory. Along the same lines as leaving a friend hanging on a high-five.

Roses said...

I must have a social life of gnat.

I've completely missed the people who go to bars with unbrushed hair and pyjamas.

Not to mention people who clink and don't drink.

Perhaps it's because I drink with people who like their drink.

Roses said...

Or I'm too busy clinking and drinking to notice the ones with unbrushed hair and pjs?

Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane said...

Clink and then drink, definitely. It got to be a bit of a problem for me in Armenia where the custom is to have many, many toasts before dinner, during dinner, after dinner when you are at a party, and with vodka or brandy in your glass, well, you know the end of the story. Fortunately sneaking water in the vodka glass was tolerated.

That said, Armenian dinner parties are great fun, with lots of dancing between the many courses and before and after the toasts.

a Broad said...

I cannot remember never drinking after clinking, but I will watch for it in others.
Good tip, you never know about people, do you ? Til you see if the drink after clinking

When we lived in Portland, our shoes came off the minute we walked in the door .. 1- we had wall to wall carpet 2- god only knows what was on that sidewalk and I do not intend to ever let it find its way into my home .. 3- in Paris, the apts often have un-carpeted wooden floors and the sound of a person clomping around in shoes, sounds like horses galloping around to the people downstairs.. this made an impression on me. Wherever I live , I take my shoes off at the door.
They will love me in Japan.

Cheeseboy said...

I am a Sociology major and I have no answer for you. Could be that I am a non-drinker. But I'd still clink my Coke bottle and drink, so no idea.

It seems as though the best kind of beer would be one enjoyed while brushing the cat.

The Elephant's Child said...

It seems that the non-clinkers fall into the category of sham friends: the relevant toast is along the lines of 'real pain to my/our sham friends, champage to my/our real friends'. Which I like. And I am not toffy but don't like beer, will wash my hair in it happily, but can't drink it. Probably makes me unAustralian.

Lazarus said...

I read once, long ago, that the French invented "clinking" because their wine satisfied all of their senses except hearing, so the clinking rounded out the fulfillment that the wine provides. Not sure if it's true, but sounds good. But it doesn't sound as good as a cold beer tastes!

24 Corners said...

Not drinking after clinking...what's the world coming to!??! =/
J~

SherilinR said...

i'm feeling rather like a barbarian here. i'm probably one of those clinker, no drinkers but only because i didn't know the rule! who's in charge of teaching this? my parents never drank or clinked & when i got to drinking age, we just slammed shots & then danced on tables. there was no one to teach me the ways, so i'm a failure in that regard. i apologize & i'll be sure to get drinking the next time i'm clinking.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I am utterly ashamed. Not only have I clinked but not then drank many times, I had no idea you would see me at Famous Dave's. I would've gotten dressed had I known. Sorry Pearl.
xoRobyn

Tempo said...

Its a sad world Pearl...glasses used to 'clink'..now they are made of lifeless plastic just in case you might want to ram one in the face of a friend.. so now theres a dull 'clunk' rather than the playful, righteous and happy 'clink' of years gone by. Women that drink beer are a rarity these days, it's those funny colored, pretentious and expensive lolly waters that are all the rage...you would a be very popular girl here in OZ.

Jon in France said...

Is Famous Dave's one of those 24/7 establishments I've heard about? If so, perhaps they were permanent residents.

Symdaddy said...

I completely agree with everything you've written!

Now go and order some more onion rings, will ya!

the walking man said...

I thought you lived in MN...We have a Famous Daves in Roseville MI. Did you come for a visit to Detroit to get away from winter? and yes I would be stealing onion rings and ribs from your plate while you waited for me to drink, it's called distraction for the set up of the one handed snatch and grab.

Maundering mutterer said...

Clinks and drinks. Oooh, I probably shouldn't clink my puter screen. Anyway, your health!

The Jules said...

Here's to people going out in their jammies without brushing their hair!

Clink.

HermanTurnip said...

"How can you clink and then set your drink down?"

Agreed! That's like cocking a gun then not shooting anyone, or making a batch of Jell-O then not making Jell-O shots. The next step is anarchy!

On My Soapbox said...

Even if someone doesn't want to drink right at that moment, they should at least pretend. That would be the polite thing to do.