By: Revanche

Drinking: a pondering on social convention and personal choices

June 13, 2012

With every successive job, the people I work with drink more than the last group.

Socially, generally.

Some, sportingly.

A few, competitively.

I long ago realized I was never going to evolve some genetic mutation that would enhance my alcohol tolerance. Since I never much cared what people thought, I generally order my favorite non alcoholic bevvy when out with friends. I’ll try a glass of wine on the company dime if I’m feeling experimental (if I pick badly, the wine tastes like regret) and call it a night. After two, I’d call it a night in the middle of the day.

But this week has been a week to end all weeks in drinking. Alcohol has happened every single day for business reasons, and I’m grateful that this isn’t my chosen vice. This could add up to some real money if I had a tipple of something every night.

Wine country: some tastings free, a bottle of wine to share: $30

Glass of wine: $10

Glass of sparkling wine: $5 (thanks, Happy Hour)

Cocktail: $13

That’s all before tax and tip, so we’re horking up nearly $70 on beverages mostly for one alone. Then again, I’ve watched those professional drinkers knock back a bottle and a half of wine each so I might be wildly underestimating a normal person’s drinking habits and expenses.

I took PiC out for a really nice dinner for that, and we could have done it on half if it weren’t a restaurant on the Embarcadero.

I’m not saying drinking is bad and therefore choosing to spend on drink is bad, mind. I choose to spend on other things, like ceviche, french fries and oysters, when I do splash out rather than drinking because it’s not something I enjoy nearly as much as food.. Or books.. Or having a few really nice things or trips or money in the bank.

I’d just never done the math on a drinking tab before. And lots of people I know very much enjoy sitting over a few glasses and whining their hearts out. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I sure am glad I can be happy with one drink, and don’t care when someone teases me for “not keeping up”.

Is it your norm to go out for drinks with friends or colleagues when you want to catch up or unwind?

Has it ever been or become a financial issue or does something/anything else get cut first?

15 Responses to “Drinking: a pondering on social convention and personal choices”

  1. The Quest says:

    Yes, I will go out for a social drink but I generally cap it at 2 drinks per session, frequently having just one alcoholic drink. I never get drunk and stupid. Drinking is not so much a financial problem for me anymore, though it has been in the past, but more of an addictive issue so I find myself drinking alcohol less and less. I often just stop at one drink, even at home.

    • Revanche says:

      It’s been a while since I had to worry about the addictive issue side of things, most people who were young enough to have that problem have grown past that now or aren’t around me anyway having moved away now.

  2. 444 says:

    I think part of this is restaurant prices, the same way restaurant food costs way more than home-cooked food.

    Then there is also the problem of needing “name” brands. I should know, since I’m a beer snob, but at least I keep it at home (a happy medium which probably still costs less than cheap beer away from home.) There is a quality difference, of course, so it isn’t just a “name” issue. In fact – quality is why I care – I don’t want to drink tangy colored water.

    I think cheap beer out is unwise and cheap beer at home is just inhumane.

    • Revanche says:

      “cheap beer at home is just inhumane.”

      I agree. 😉 And in fact, at home, I will treat PiC to the nicest beer possible at home. A four or six pack of really nice beer costs the same as two beers out.

  3. Allison says:

    I actually have a pretty high natural tolerance, but I stick to one drink when I’m out. Partly because of the cost, partly because I like to be able to drive home if need be, and because I generally don’t drink that much. If we’re staying in with friends, I might have 2 or 3 drinks over the course of an evening, but not to the point of drunkeness.

    I don’t understand my friends who complain about lack of spending money but routinely spend $100 on drinks in any given week. I guess everyone has different priorities.

    • Revanche says:

      I don’t know my tolerance anymore because I’m so cheap. 😉

      I agree about the different priorities thing, I don’t really get it either but I just don’t want to hear whining regardless of what your priorities are. You have the right to choose. I have the right to not listen to complaining.

  4. I do drink a fair amount. But I don’t often drink on the town.

    There’s one restaurant where my business partner and I meet now and again to celebrate some coup or commiserate over some fiasco, and we will have a glass or two of wine there.

    Otherwise I drink at home. My taste in beer is stupidly expensive, and so the only way to justify that habit is to buy the stuff at liquor warehouses or grocery stores. In this part of the country, you can buy a bottle of potable wine for $8 to $12 — less at Costco or Cost Plus, and so that makes my booze habit almost affordable.

  5. caitlin says:

    My friends and I are wine drinkers but we do that largely at each other’s homes.

    My company is big into drinking, to a point that you are peer pressured by the managing partner to drink. It is a nice gesture (not the peer pressure part, of course) but I do not feel comfortable drinking with my coworkers. It is tough when you are in that environment because you want to be seen as a team player but you also want to stay within your comfort level.

    • Revanche says:

      Ah yes, it’s a weird line isn’t it, having to be careful to drink socially because they’re providing the drink, but not enough so as to cross a line of being unprofessional!

  6. Karen says:

    You wouldn’t want to see my tabs. Hell, I don’t want to see them 🙂
    I recently went out with coworkers, so for the 4 it was $200+ (which in retrospect seems low). And there was only one appetizer included.
    For me, it’s not necessarily to catch up/unwind but to go out…be social, enjoy the atmosphere or dance (for me dance requires the alcohol!)
    I almost never drink at home.

    • Revanche says:

      Well, if I don’t have to pay them, no need for me to see them 😉

      Though I will agree, if someone is going to make me go dancing and wants me to be coordinated, alcohol is required 😀

      We do drink at home, but still, not very much and it’s so much cheaper that overall, the cost is very low.

  7. Zhu says:

    I don’t drink at all because I never developed the taste for alcohol. And yes, trust me, I did try, especially growing up in France where not drinking is a pretty much a sin!

    One thing I hate is having to justify myself. It doesn’t seem normal to not drink and sometimes restaurants make me feel cheap because I’m not ordering booze. Well, I’m sorry, I just want water because soft drink and whatever food doesn’t taste good, and I’m not going to get wine/beer just because!

    • Revanche says:

      I have a friend who doesn’t drink at all either, and I don’t even know why. I’ve never asked, and I don’t feel any need to ask. Doesn’t seem like there’s any reason he needs to provide a reason to me!

  8. Katie C. says:

    This is one of those times that I’m happy we don’t really socialize outside of work. The ages within our small 6-person office range widely. One has small children who are really into sports. One works remotely from Colorado. New Guy and I are the only young’ns, and I make it my policy to only drink about once a year, ha. I do it, get wasted, wind up sick, and can’t even think about alcohol for a year afterward. Then I forget about the sickness, get upset about something, grab the liquor, and on and on it goes. I had 5 cocktails in NYC with Mom before stumbling home and hugging the trash can for the rest of the night (while she hugged the toilet).

    David doesn’t drink at all because of his family history, and my best friend thinks alcohol is a sin. So I don’t have anyone (but Mom, ha) to drink with. 😉

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