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Thursday, December 1, 2011

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, lest you raise the hackles of my mother, who just finished vacuuming/raking the shag. When I did it at the neighbor’s trailer, however, I was ridiculed for being, and I quote, “La-di-dah”.

After that, they called me “Princess”.

Human behavior fascinates me. 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: not only do 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, and a quick nap in the back of the van).

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; 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.

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 in the hopes that my own repeated and eventually drunken agreement will allow you to, say, swipe onion rings from me later?

You see? It all falls apart.

People, we need a system.

39 comments:

Simply Suthern said...

When traveling for work here there is protcol for dinner. We order our drinks and you dont touch that drink until everyone is ready to clink. Someone will make a toast for a successful and safe project then you clink and drink. When I was a newbie I grabbed and drank prior. Oh you should have heard the moans of disapproval.

We have a system and you best abide by it.

Kate Mohler said...

Very funny!

Pearl said...

Simply, No one errs like the newbie.

Kate, thank you! :-)

Amy said...

Why isn't this being tought in Home Ec? I was one of those who didn't know until later in my drinking career. Makes one feel like an idiot. Isn't Home Ec supposed to prepare us for such social situations? I mean, who really needs to know how to sew a duffle bag?

Douglas said...

I know people who report that they only drink "when alone or with someone." As a non-imbiber, I find the "clinking" an awkward ritual? Is it legit if I clink my glass of iced tea? Or is that less sincere? There are so many questions involved. Back when I drank, it was de rigueur to upend the glass after a clink, thereby emptying the entire contents of the glass (sans ice cubes... most of the time) down one's throat. This resulted in many lost hours and nights when the clinks came hot and heavy and each drinker tried to top the previous toaster.

Pearl said...

Amy, EXACTLY! First "X is for Xmas", next we're not teaching the kids proper drinking etiquette! Our schools are failing us, people! (and btw, Amy, very funny!!)

Douglas, no matter what you raise, the clink must to be followed by the drink. As for draining the glass, that's only if the drink you raised was in a shot glass. :-)

Simply Suthern said...

Douglas, I've never had anyone complain on the Iced Tea Clink especially if I was going to be dragging their ragged behinds back to the hotel.

Ach du lieber said...

Without a system, we're left with anarchy and chaos. Especially when drinking is involved. Obviously these people were raised by wolves.

I'm embarrassed for them.

Pearl said...

Simply, :-)

Ach du lieber! :-) Rules are often necessary. We must find a way to educate the public...

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

No drinking and no clinking at our house...until the wee man came along and for some reason every time he wants a sip he insists on a clink..even if all you have is a fork. What's up with that?

Vicus Scurra said...

Many years ago I gave up the practice of imbibing alcohol. I consequently no longer am faced with such dilemmas. Do you clean up only your own vomit, for example. How many months need to pass before you can face the person to whom you were so rude when inebriated.
I give my counsel freely and without obligation.

haphazardlife said...

You're right. Without the drink in the clink and drink live as we know it would devolve into chaos to horrible to contemplate.

Drink people! Drink when you clink!

Lazarus said...

Pearl, this is why I come here, to dicuss pressing matters of national concern like this. Thank you! And not one presidential candidate has addressed this problem to date, other than maybe Herman Cain in the privacy of a brothel. I propose a simple motto "When you clink, no matter what you think, you must drink or we'll think you a dink." Thank you.

Eva Gallant said...

Oh, Pearl, you are priceless! Love your posts!

R. Jacob said...

Now I am confused if I offer a preposition or a proposition. In any event a clinking of the glass and a beer or three!

jenny_o said...

Having never personally encountered the clink/drink situation, I must comment instead on raking the shag. We had shag but no rake, just a vacuum. I feel cheated somehow.

Daisy said...

I'll drink to this.
"clink"

Daisy said...

I think I got the "clink" and "drink" actions wrong...which just shows to go yah that too much "clinking" followed by the "drinking" can lead to chaos, with or without rules!

Craver Vii said...

I'll drink to that!

Princess Pearl, I get a charge out of your wit, and you handle hyperbole rather skillfully.

Yes, you're absolutely right. It is never appropriate to clink and not drink, though etiquette allows raising the glass towards the center without clinking. Imbibing the communal drink is the main point, not an optional add-on. It comes from the days when the group would each drink from the same loving cup. So let it be written... so let it be done.

Leenie said...

Oh here I sit all uneducated and an idiot. Not a drinker of anything stronger than diet coke I am so appreciative to gain yet another valuable lesson of life from The Pearl. Cheers! (clink, drink).

Shelly said...

I often defy social norms. Heck, I often defy any norms.

Belle said...

I agree. Clinking without drinking will lead to total anarchy. It must be stopped.

Oilfield Trash said...

Hilarious.

mrwriteon said...

I hate people that screw with protocols because they leave you not knowing what to expect. Are the people with the matted hair and jammies allowed to spawn? They must be or there wouldn't be so many of them. Somehow that's not right.

Gigi said...

Lifting my glass to you, Pearl. *clink* & *drink*

Really, people! You should know better!

Dianne said...

oh dear lord! I have often clinked and then not drinked
or is it clunk but not drunk?
gotta go, I have so many apologies to make!

Amber Star said...

Now that the spectre of anarchy has come up, Pearl, do you think maybe that is what happened to the occupy people? Maybe that is what got them all twisted up and cranky.

I think there is some hangover from yesterday, too. I see some X talk and the prepostition vs. propostition issue has reared its head again. My word for today is "tackle". I love saying it and when there is a box involved, well, that is just gravy.

I gotta go now. The durn d key is sticking and there have been a lot of them in this post.

Douglas said...

When I drank, Pearl, tumblers were often used. Shot glasses were for wimps.

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Way back in the day, clinking, and sloshing wine from one glass to another, showed that you and your buddy hadn't put poison in the vino....so, if a buddy didn't drink...he probably was out to do you in with arsenic. Pearl, watch out!
Rosemary

HermanTurnip said...

I grew up in a household where *nobody* wore their shoes in the house. I've carried that tradition over to my home. In fact, whenever I'm invited to a social gathering at other peoples homes I feel guilty when they ask me to keep me shoes on. It takes a bit of fortitude to force myself *not* to remove my shoes.

IndigoWrath said...

Hey Pearl! I may be missing the point, but I entirely agree: clink, drink, honour is satisfied. A tiny sip is fine, a wetting of the lips, if you will. But click-and-release? Rudeness! A pox on them all! Indigo x

looby said...

That would be considered so odd here in NW England that it would be taken as a sign that you don't really want to be part of that group.

Anyway, as I have a glass of Italian red wine in my hand (yes, I know it's a bit early but I've declared the weekend) I will raise it in a westward direction, pin g it with my fingernail and say Cheers Pearl!. And then drink the bloody thing!

Suldog said...

Without the drink end of it, it is a hollow gesture. It is like cracking a fortune cookie, but not eating said cookie. If you don't eat the cookie, the fortune will not come true!

(You didn't know this? Well, I'm glad I stopped by and saved you from wondering why you weren't rich and famous - yet. With your talent, it will happen, but it's best to take advantage of all possibilities!)

Nessa Roo said...

In our group, it's clink, tap, guzzle. I have no idea why we must tap the bottom of the glass on the table before we raise it to our mouths, but that it how it is done, and who am I to question what seems to work for everyone? Bottoms up.

Brian Miller said...

you are far more refined than i...if you spill any its a party foul, that is all...and drink too much and you will end up in the clink...

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I never heard of people who clink and don't drink. WTF?

Jo said...

I found myself watching a scene in a bar on a television episode last night and when they clinked I leaned forward....waiting....YES, they DRANK!

Good thing. I would've reported 'em.

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

Clinking and not drinking is blasphemy.

Steve said...

I've not noticed this before, but will be keeping an eye out for it from now on.