30 December 2017 · posted in thoughts


When I was younger, I always thought that when someone you know offers to buy you a drink, they are being kind, polite and gallant. But lately I've been noticing more often than I'd like to admit, that it's not always that kind of a gesture, and not always that kind of a drink. Let me explain.

A few weeks ago I was out with good company to celebrate Xmas holiday coming soon. Any reason for a celebration is a good reason so off we went after dinner together. We all ordered our favourite celebration drink and toasted on a good night. For me, that drink is a Virgin Mojito, for others a strong Belgian beer. Everyone in the room is happy and smily and laughing together and when the first round is empty, we look around and decide we're staying for a bit longer and get another drink. Some want to order the same, some want to order something new. Some started off with a beer but know they should switch to soda because they're driving and they were only drinking one for taste, in the beginning of the evening. Even though I get tingles everywhere thinking about drinking and driving, which is a whole other topic, one drink is generally accepted.

But then I hear it, before everyone has had a chance to order something new for themselves. "Let's get you another drink, my friend!" Some of my company having a good time, having a laugh, order another strong beer for another member of my company, patting him on the back while doing so. Said other member of my company already had some wine and one strong Belgian beer and was clearly intending on switching to soda as he still had a long drive home. But before he could object, a new beer was pushed into his hands, toasts were made and nobody batted another eyelash while the celebrations continued. Well that is not exactly how it happened, but to me, that's what it felt like.

Hearing them try to get another person more drunk, even when they know he's driving home, my stomach turned upside down. So I confronted them, asked them if they really thought that what they were doing was okay and acceptable and apparently to them it was because I was laughed away. "Oh come on, just one more, he's having fun!" I tried again, explaining that it should be nobody else's choice but his to drink or not and that knowingly giving someone more alcohol to get them more drunk when they're driving later is wrong on so many levels but I was shut down again. "Cheer up, Margot, you're too serious for this world!" By now, it seemed that the member of my company drinking the unintended second beer had already forgotten it hadn't been his choice and was enjoying himself very much, so I let it go and joined the fun.

Well, I tried to. Because no matter how hard I tried to ignore what had just happened before me I couldn't get it out of my head. Looking around at my company, all grown men and woman, I tried to understand how nobody but me seemed to find it disturbing that under the veil of gallantry choices were taken away from people who were already becoming impressionable after some alcohol but were still trying to make the right safe choices for themselves. My problem with this isn't really about safety though. Yes, in this situation drinking and driving was an added extra worry but even if nobody would be driving, would it be okay to force another drink on someone that clearly doesn't want it but is too polite to say no? You guessed it, it's not. And it shocks me how so many people don't even notice what is happening.

So my advice, if you want to be kind and gallant and you want to buy a friend a drink, ask what they would like and let them decide for themselves. And if you see it happen, at least try to talk some sense into your friends so they become aware of what they're doing, because it is just plain wrong.

Thank you, rant over.