Why I Don’t Do Shots and other Pearls of Drinking Wisdom

I am Irish, and as such I am genetically built to drink.

It’s true.

If evolution and national stereotypes have taught us anything, it’s that the Irish drink.

But then so do the Germans. The French aren’t exactly tea-total with that grand cafe culture of theirs. And as for the UK, you lot have built up a reputation as the global equivalent of a frat house Jock who turns up, chugs a keg, starts a fight and throws up all over Spanish culture. Kudos.

We’ve all got our national crosses to bear when it comes to drinking, and as such I am quite used to the ‘I thought you were supposed to be Irish’ remark every time I decline a shot or surprise, surprise, I’m the last to finish a pint.

Yes, you’re right, I am an incredibly slow drinker.

No, bizarre as it may sound, I do not do shots.

This is where the national stereotype and evolution differ.

In Ireland, we go for a pint in the afternoon no matter the weather, if we can have it in the beer garden, bonus. We congregate in the bar midweek, without any particular reason to celebrate. We go out on Friday nights, Saturday nights, and most of Sunday.

The English are acclaimed for cramming the recommended weekly unit intake into one night; in Ireland it’s just assumed that you drink the recommended unit intake every night.

I don’t speak the language, but I’m pretty sure there is no word for ‘binge drinking’ in Irish. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t condone it.

It’s not healthy, but it’s not bloody binge drinking either.

And, traditionally at least, it’s not in our culture.

There is no ‘aim’ to drinking in Ireland. You go to the pub, you have a few pints and a bitta craic, you might watch a match or listen to some live music, there may be a quiz. What you don’t do is go out with the sole purpose and determination to get so drunk that you throw up your stomach lining in the taxi and can’t remember your name the next morning. When these eventualities occur, as they so often do, they kind of happen… by accident.

They’re simply a by-product, rather than the goal, of a night out.

So yes, I may be a slow drinker, but I am built for endurance, not speed!

And I’m not stupid either. Chris O’Dowd puts it well in The IT Crowd – the English drink like they don’t want to live. I live and drink by a reliable rule – if it sounds like it’s going to hurt, it fucking will.

Shots – my prime example. In no other situation in life does the prospect of receiving a shot fill people with such zealous and excitement. I can assure you there was no pushing in the queue to get the BCG injection at school. And as for bullets, well that’s suicide.

So are shots or shooters on a night out. The names should give it away:

B52s?

Kamikazes?

Alabama Slammers?

Dr. Pepper – What’s the Worst that Could Happen?!

Irish Car Bombs?

Call me over-sensitive, but come on?!

(I will allow that the Slippery Nipple and the Blowjob are possible exceptions to this rule.)

And this doesn’t just apply to shots, think of the concoctions you willingly pour into your internal organs:

Snakebite?

Blue Wicked?

Black and Tan? They weren’t exactly known for their love and affection…

So, no people, I do not do shots.

Next time you see me at the bar, don’t offer to buy me anything that threatens to explode in my stomach or brutally murder me and dump my body in a bog. Just buy me a pint and give me an hour to drink it.

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