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Why is the UK obsessed with drinking?


johnnyp

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Having lived here in London for my whole life, I went through the usual British routine of going to the pub and getting wasted every weekend right through my teens and twenties, but since I turned 30 I've found no enjoyment in getting drunk anymore and never really drink alcohol anymore, other than very rare occasions when the mood takes me.

 

However, whenever I go on a date these days and order an orange juice or whatever, my date always asks me why I'm not drinking alcohol (as if it's against the law to stay sober in England) and when I tell them I don't really drink anymore and don't enjoy getting drunk, they look at me as if I've just turned up on our first date and asked them if they're into threesomes and S&M

 

What's the big deal UK ladies? Is it really a deal breaker for you when a guy doesn't drink or do you see it as a red-flag that a man living in such a booze-culture is tee-total and assume he must be a recovering alcoholic or a devout religious nut? Even when I continued dating my last date for over a year, she still would be on my case all the time about "Why don't you drink?"

 

Is it like this in America too?

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It's the same way in the US. At least the part of it that I'm from. All my friends still drink all the time. Which is why I don't hang out with them much these days. It's kid's stuff. I'm over it. It's my opinion that anyone who drinks on a regular basis past their twenties has a problem with it.

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It's the same way in the US. At least the part of it that I'm from. All my friends still drink all the time. Which is why I don't hang out with them much these days. It's kid's stuff. I'm over it. It's my opinion that anyone who drinks on a regular basis past their twenties has a problem with it.

 

I am in my 30s... I still drink. I also balance that with tons of exercise, and working out, and outdoors stuff. Drinking brings people together sometimes, and as long as it's a prop and not a crutch, it's not a problem. Some people drink all their lives, and if you're not obsessive then there's certainly nothing wrong with it.

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I think this must vary with age -- I know that in general drinking is an ingrained part of socializing in Britain, but I'm guessing that for people over the age of 30, alcohol isn't seen as necessary, just common.

 

Here in the US in general I think people tend to be much more understanding about personal preferences. Such is my experience, at least.

 

One thing to consider is that gender norms are such that a woman might feel uncomfortable drinking in the company of a guy who's abstaining ... so that even though there's no actual rule about it, and you're not suggesting that they don't drink just because you aren't, the women you encounter feel that they can't drink alcohol if you're having a soda. That might be why they're giving you grief, although they might not be fully aware of why they're making such a big deal about your choice. Perhaps if you said something very non-defensive (and non-judgmental) like, "Nah, not drinking tonight I've had enough in the last couple of days so I'm taking it easy. But you go on and enjoy yourself!" you'd make them feel better about drinking while you're not?

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I am in my 30s... I still drink. I also balance that with tons of exercise, and working out, and outdoors stuff. Drinking brings people together sometimes, and as long as it's a prop and not a crutch, it's not a problem. Some people drink all their lives, and if you're not obsessive then there's certainly nothing wrong with it.

 

That's great that you take care of yourself, but all the healthy behavior in the world won't make alcohol any better for you. If a person drinks all of their lives, that would qualify them as an alcoholic, functional or not. Prop, crutch, call it what you will, same difference, no?

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@ uhohlala - That's what I almost always do aim to do, but they still seem to think it's weird. I think you're right about them feeling bad about being the only one drinking though. I think they might also (sensibly I guess) think twice about getting wasted when they're out with a guy they don't know who is staying totally sober. As a guy I'd never really though of that before but it's a smart move with all the weird guys out there.

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I live in L.A. and if you want to find drinkers, you can. More people out here are health conscious, though, and there are almost as many Jamba Juices as bars where I live. I don't drink, I don't date drinkers, and none of my friends or family drink. It's a stupid thing to do. If you're in pain, get counseling. When you drink, you are destroying your health and making your loved ones very sad. Also, you can kill someone if you drive drunk. I don't know about the UK, but when I lived in Canada, it seemed that everyone drank but me. Oh well, I survived and two of the people I knew then are dead, drunk driving.

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Well watching 'Coronation Street' one would get the idea folks in the UK drink ALL the time. And hang out at the local nightly. lol The pub culture isn't so big here in the US. Here it seems to be more a binge (anonymously in a bar) on the weekends kinda thing. Very different mind set I think.

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It's the culture, 100%. My parents are from Scotland and they drink quite often, but they're somewhat responsible about it. Well, at least my mum is, but she likes opening up a couple bottles of wine still on a Saturday night or having a shandy and she has a drink every night. My dad on the other hand, will have about 5 pints of whatever a day, usually imported beer or larger. He likes going up to his local bar and getting a drink. He's only recently started going to the gym because of his waist line and I've informed them both about heart disease and the association with their ever growing bellies... it's concerning. It's full of calories. But, of course - he still drinks.

 

Funnily enough, I do not drink, period. I maybe have a bottle of wine to myself once every two months but that's as far as I feel like drinking. My brother, because of how he grew up with my parents.. drinks every day when he gets home from work and see's nothing wrong with sitting in on a Saturday watching Celtic. When there's an old firm match on (Celtic vs. Rangers) they have the matches on earlier in the day so people can't drink because of the massive amounts of violence that's associated with football. My family is littered with alcoholics and they all live over in the UK. I remember flying into Glasgow last year and seeing tons of young kids drinking bottles of Buckfast on street corners. The violence in that city is astronomical and it's all related to poverty, lack of education and I find people who usually have no post secondary education or their high school drop outs... they drink more, they smoke more. Oh, and by the way... you have the option of finishing high school there at 16. There's a huge surplus of teen pregnancy over there, and you know what they government does for young mums? They supply them with apartments! And food! So some of them deliberately get pregnant so they can get their own place... man, oh man.

 

The government has tried informing the public about the amount the average person consumes - and they have the zero tolerance for alcohol when you're driving... I'm not sure it that helps.

 

My dad has argued that it's because there's not much to do over there either and believe it or not, it's full of poverty. Shops close at 5 (well, excuse me.. that was on Sundays, it stays open till 5.30 weekdays and Saturdays... Ooo), in the winter the sun doesn't come up till after you're in work at 8am, and the sun starts to set around 3pm, so when you get home it's already dark and the shops aren't really open after a certain time so there's not much else to do... and my god it RAINS all the bloody time. But you know what is open? The pubs. Maybe it's enough to drive you to drink.

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That's great that you take care of yourself, but all the healthy behavior in the world won't make alcohol any better for you. If a person drinks all of their lives, that would qualify them as an alcoholic, functional or not. Prop, crutch, call it what you will, same difference, no?

 

No, it's not the same. People have whole careers dedicated to alcohol for example. I know several winemakers, and sometimes we've made weekends out of visiting their wineries. Alcohol will kill you. So will breathing. So will life. It's never so whack and blite. Vilifying alcohol so uniformly is the stuff of prohibitionists and contains a level of projection on the vilifier's behalf. I could argue that the internet is more addictive and more harmful. It's just patently untrue that "alcohol is bad", and that that's just the end of the story.

 

If I read that there were 13 auto accidents this morning in my local area during rush hour, does that mean I should give up driving automobiles? After all, they're dangerous right?

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Um, I don't know about you guys, but let's all meet at the Winchester tonight!

 

I'm up for that.

 

I love London pubs. Laid back, great music scene blooming out of it, very comfy.

 

I'm not a big drinker. But, I'd nurse a cranberry and vodka all night just for the environment. You don't need to be drunk or even tipsy to enjoy the atmosphere.

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Psshh, The Lyceum for the win!

 

I was hanging there and was approached by some sloshed English dude, full suit and all, and the man just starts to sing in this beautiful tenor. He went on and on. That was unspeakable awesome.

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No, it's not the same. People have whole careers dedicated to alcohol for example. I know several winemakers, and sometimes we've made weekends out of visiting their wineries. Alcohol will kill you. So will breathing. So will life. It's never so whack and blite. Vilifying alcohol so uniformly is the stuff of prohibitionists and contains a level of projection on the vilifier's behalf. I could argue that the internet is more addictive and more harmful. It's just patently untrue that "alcohol is bad", and that that's just the end of the story.

 

If I read that there were 13 auto accidents this morning in my local area during rush hour, does that mean I should give up driving automobiles? After all, they're dangerous right?

 

The other side of that coin would be; defending alcohol consumption is to make rationalizations for addictive or unhealthy behavior. To say alcohol has no detrimental effects is to constuct a defense on the behalf of the drinker. I have friends whose entire lives have been changed by their consumption of alcohol and it wasn't all pretty scenery and beautiful artistry. It was far from it. To say "alchohol is not bad" is patently untrue. Lots of things are unhealthy. Eating junk, being lazy, negative, destructive etc. won't kill me, so what's the big deal? It's a justification for irresponsibility.

 

But that's not the end of the story.

 

The truth lies somewhere in the middle. Some people can have a drink on occasion, meaning once in awhile, and not have it effect their lives or their health. Others drink because they live under the delusion that it makes thier lives in someway richer and so they do it on a regular basis. Once the honeymoon is over the bloom comes off the rose and a person realizes they have chosen a most unsavory accomplice. Anyone who thinks alcohol is somehow enriching their life is buried deep in delusion. That's the reality.

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Why is your position inviolate while the contrary is unquestionably wrong?

 

It's not. As I said, some people can drink in moderation without detriment. But for every one person who drinks only a little, there are manyfold more who do it more than what could be considered harmless. It is a scourge. If a person likes scourges, that's their business. I'm just not going to sugarcoat it because I've experienced the underbelly of alcoholism first hand and it is nothing to take lightly.

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I'm British, Although I identify more with English, and I'm not and have never been a heavy drinker. I do however think there has always been an after work drink culture here steming from our traditions of a production industry (steel & coal mines etc)

 

I do think it's beginning to change in recent years, there ad campaigns frequenly. But changes in atitude takes time.

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I'm in the UK and drink moderately. My boyfriend doesn't drink, has never drunk alcohol and never been drunk. (He led a somewhat sheltered life...)

His non drinking didn't stop me from wanting to date him. It is a bit weird when we go out to restaurants and the waiter hands him the drinks menu! So sexist not to mention presumptuous. I'm not a big drinker but I do like wine, so I usually just order a glass of wine with the meal. The choice is usually lousy by the glass, I prefer better quality wine and this usually comes in whole bottles and I don't bother as I can't drink a whole bottle on my own and it's too expensive to justify spending that sort of money on wine when he has a coke.

 

On my visits to America (east coast) I've found attitudes to drinking appear quite conservative. Even in my 30s I've been asked for id in restaurants. I've also been to places where the waiting staff have never opened a bottle of wine before (in Virginia)!!! Beer and cocktails seem a more usual tipple in America than wine.

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It's not. As I said, some people can drink in moderation without detriment. But for every one person who drinks only a little, there are manyfold more who do it more than what could be considered harmless. It is a scourge. If a person likes scourges, that's their business. I'm just not going to sugarcoat it because I've experienced the underbelly of alcoholism first hand and it is nothing to take lightly.

 

I think most people can drink without problem while some it is a detriment. Otherwise most of the population has a problem with alcohol.

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I think most people can drink without problem while some it is a detriment. Otherwise most of the population has a problem with alcohol.

 

Many more do than you might (or sometimes even they themselves) realize. Some folks are (or can appear to be) perfectly functional but still can't go without a drink.

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Personally I would say we have more of a binge culture than a pub culture now - a lot of pubs are closing, in fact, cos they can't compete with supermarket prices. My daughters (in their twenties) were always the ones in the group who didn't drink to excess (usually) and often had to get friends into taxis or, on occasion, get them out of the road where they'd been vomiting.

 

I'm appalled tbh. When we lived in France this didn't happen. Drinking seems to be a sport over here. My daughters have both moved to mainland Europe and love the way drink isn't the be-all-and-end-all (though it's changing).

 

My daughter lives in Rome and feels perfectly safe using public transport at any time of the day or night. She says you simply don't see drunken young people around in the same way as here.

 

FWIW there is a HUGE increase in liver disease in our young people.

 

I drink, but I've always drunk cos I like the taste, not because I think it will 'do something for me'. Most people think I've had a drink when I haven't, being a life and soul type. I genuinely didn't realise till I was about 45 that people drink because they think they need to in order to enjoy themselves. Until then it had been a complete mystery to me! It still is, tbh...

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