Drinking with friends at a party is fun. Solitary sipping can be a religious experience. Imbibing with complete strangers is an unsustainable pastime that typically morphs into one or the other of the aforementioned activities, depending on your charisma level.
For most serious drinkers, however, two is the perfect number. Think Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, Homer and Barney. Finding a friend who shares your likes (drinking), your dislikes (being sober), and who shares your ambitions (to get drunk) is one of life’s little joys. Who doesn’t like to while away the semi-comatose hours on a barstool, a set of bleachers, or a busted living-room sofa; secure in the knowledge that the person next to you will not be judging your excess consumption? That he will, in fact, spur you on to even greater achievement in the alcoholic arts?
If you haven’t found your drinking buddy yet, the following tips will help you find that certain special someone. If you know this person already, good for you! Read the list and smile knowingly as you and your DB knock back a shot for each simpatico trait you share.
You and your fellow sauce-hound hang out a lot. Generally speaking, it’s customary for pals to alternate when buying rounds, but nobody’s nit-picking or keeping score. When your Buddy is flush, he’ll insist on buying more than his share, in fact. As will you. If either of you happens to fall into arrears, chalk it up to karma – the universe will make sure good things come to he who picks up a tab or two. And the pal who has fallen behind can always provide expert wingman services by way of payment.
A first-rate Drinking Buddy knows your proclivities*. Do you love blondes? He’ll point one out when she walks in the door. Have an Asian fetish? He’ll suggest a late-night dumpling run. Fancy a little person? He’ll know when the touring company of the Wizard of Oz is coming through your town. Your compadre de booze will also realize, late in the evening, that you’re putting on the beer goggles and coming in for a landing. He may feel duty-bound to try and talk you down, but if his warning is heard and rejected, he won’t cock-block you. He’s your buddy, not your babysitter.
A good Buddy will laugh at you. No, not with you. He’ll do that, too, but only if you’re actually saying something funny. Part of a DB’s appeal is that he knows when you are full of shit, or acting like a douchebag. He can take you down a peg when necessary, or extricate you from a sticky situation with a well-placed barb. If he’s holding up his end of the unwritten (until now) Drinking Buddy code, the situations explored in the next paragraph will be rare.
Let’s face it. We drinkers tend to get into arguments, which can turn into fights. The rule of thumb is, if you’re playing the asshole, your carousing companion should make a disarming joke and steer you away from trouble. But if it’s the other guy being a dickweed? When hot words and fisticuffs are on like Donkey Kong, your DB is no fair-weather friend. Win or lose, he’s got your back.
5. Safety Conscious:
Obviously, you’d never be so crass as to ask your DB to be the DD. It’s a clear violation of principles, and it’s no fun, to boot. But after a few hours of tippling, your Drinking Buddy relationship is still in force. After last call, you two modern-day Erroll Flynns have some choices to make. You can 1) repair to an all-night eatery to soak up a little of the devil juice; 2) split a cab, or 3) sing, stagger, and publicly urinate your way to the nearest domicile. Two heads are better than one, even when they’re swimming in spirits.
If you fancy a nightcap (and you undoubtedly will), your Buddy is prepared. He knows what you like to drink, and keeps a bottle or two handy for just such an occasion. Sure, you’d probably drink pine-sol to keep your buzz going at this point, but with a top-notch Drinking Buddy, you’ll never have to.
After the drinking is (finally) over, you don’t even have to ask. The couch is yours. Just clear off the dead soldiers and pizza boxes and pass out. You can stay up and watch championship bull-riding on ESPN4 if you want; you know where the remote is. The bathroom light is on for you, but it is considered courteous to keep a trashcan or large mixing bowl nearby to forestall any urgent regurgitational mishaps.
When two good friends declare war on the local pub scene, there’s bound to be collateral damage. When your girlfriend wants to know where the hell you were last night, he’ll cover for you. If you fall off your stool, he’ll tell the bartender he pushed you. If you hit on another man’s girl, he’ll buy him a drink and smooth things over with a tragic story about how your dog just died and you’re taking it pretty hard. He minimizes the damage whenever possible.
Drinking Buddy is no social climber. He doesn’t want to meet the missus or wrangle a dinner invite from your folks. Odds are, you guys hang out as an antidote to all of those hidebound social niceties. He’d rather have a bottle in front of him, than a frontal lobotomim. And so would you.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. That goes for Barstow, Gainesville, and French Lick, too. As the beer flows, so, too, do our mouths. Drunk talk is pretty much unfiltered, and can get into some dicey territory sometimes. The barstool is like a confessional – you can say anything at all and know that the juicy contents of your secret life are sanctified by divine right, civil law, and the code of the Drinking Buddy. Never to be revealed.
If you’ve read down this list and wondered why you don’t have such a sterling sidekick, try looking at the man in the mirror. Drinking Buddy-hood is a two-way street and a sacred trust. You’ll find you must meet all of these criteria yourself before a truly symbiotic hooch-guzzling relationship can be formed.
So step up to the plate, son. Your Significant Brother is out there.
*For the purposes of this article, let us assume that we are all raffishly handsome, a trifle dangerous, and completely unattached.