Don’t Be A Holiday Jerk
So you made it through Thanksgiving. Congratulations, I’m sure it wasn’t easy. I’m sure there were moments where for a split second, you contemplated abandoning ship and instead displaying how thankful you were for the tequila bottle at the closest watering hole.
Unfortunately, your duty is not yet complete. In fact, it’s far from it. If the holiday season was a marathon of terrible movies, know this: you have successfully survived Mariah Carey’s “Glitter” but still have to sit through “From Justin to Kelly.”
Unlike the Thanksgiving holiday, the Christmas holiday season is days, sometimes in excess of a week long. This notion may not seem so bad when you’re thinking about it from a present and gift certificate point of view but when you factor in the number of hours spent with family members in order to get your hands no those gifts, it’s enough to make any of us want to bungee jump straight down the chimney while using as much protection as your average Kardashian.
And just like any other minuscule problem that we as a society come face to face with in our everyday lives, we turn to alcohol to be our saving grace. For some reason, a bar is a safe haven during times like these.
For the next few hours, this bar is your palace. Don’t fret, Mario. Your princess isn’t in another castle. She’s right here by your side in the form of a holiday cocktail that tastes like Christmas is having wild sex inside your mouth.
In America, we have a saying. When the going get tough, the tough start consuming the nearest abusive substance. Because of this, there is one thing you need to keep in mind during the holiday season that has absolutely nothing to do with Santa Claus:
Every bar in this city is going to be packed to the brim.
Last week, I sat down with Matthew Butler, a regular bartender at Barcode. During our two-hour conversation in which he successfully fed me more martinis than a soccer mom on her lunch break, Matthew talked to me about being in bars during the holiday season and how you can avoid being that holly jolly asshole (my words, not his) that nobody wants to be caught under the mistletoe with.
1. Use your manners.
“I find that a little bit of consideration can go a long way, especially this time of year when it is busier and there is a lot more stuff to be done,” Matthew says. “A please and a thank you are wonderful gifts to the people bringing you food and drinks, especially when they’re in a hurry.”
While this may be common sense to some of us, we’ve all seen that guy act like the star of MTV’s Sweet Sixteen every time he interacts with anybody but himself. The extra effort to use common courtesy begins as soon as you start ordering your first drink. In other words, introductions like “get me a beer” aren’t going to go over well.
“I have arms and I have legs,” Butler says. “And I’ve got plenty of damn beer. I’m well aware I can get you a beer. How about ‘would you mind?’ or ‘Can I get a Bud Light?’ A simply re-phrasing of the desire you have to consume a bottled item can be the difference between waiting 10 seconds and waiting 10 minutes for your next drink.
2. How you tip is even more important than usual.
If you’re lucky enough to have a Mr. (or Mrs!) Claus that wants to come home and stuff your stocking, don’t even think about going light on the tip.
“I have declined second dates because I felt the person I was out with didn’t tip enough,” Butler states.
And for those of you who lack productive judgement even when you’re sober, the “dollar a drink” rule is a pretty good one to follow. For every cocktail that a bartender or waitress brings you, mentally leave a dollar. That way, when it comes time to pay the bill at the end of the night, you won’t be wasting everybody’s time with whatever “tip calculator” app you have on your iPhone.
The people bringing you the beverages that slur your speech have bills to pay and presents to buy, too; so if you appreciate the service they’re providing, let them know with some extra dollars.
And most importantly, for those of you who think your bulge is big enough to leave your number for the bartender, keep this quote from Matthew in mind: “If you’re going to leave your number, make sure you leave some money along with it; otherwise, I am probably just going to think you’re an asshole.”
3. Be aware of the newbies
Whether you like it or not, you are going to experience a little bit different crowd during the holidays than you would on a normal basis. You are going to be ordering drinks next to what I call the “Christmas Eve Christian;” that is, someone who only finds themselves in a church on Christmas Eve because they feel self-obligated. Replace Jesus with your bartender, the collection plate with a bottle of Jager and you’ve got the bar patron that nobody wants to identify with.
Unfortunately, these people feel the need to consume beverages in public during the holidays, too and because of this, you may find that they enjoy the same nightlife spots as you.
Don’t be alarmed – while their bar habits may be embarrassing, they probably won’t interact with you unless they’re in heat. Just treat them with the same love and respect that you would give to the extremely attractive patron they’re standing behind. Because knowing your luck, that cutie with a booty is the newbie’s younger brother.
4. Know your limits. No, really.
I don’t care whether you’re being introduced to your first sex on the beach or you piss bourbon for a living; everybody needs to know their limits. And by “know your limits,” I don’t mean making a mental note of where the nearest bathroom is for when it comes time to puke and rally.
“The last thing I want to do for the holidays is clean up your puke,” Butler says.
The reality is that in the month of December, your favorite bar will probably be more packed than usual. Because of this, the bartender who normally takes care of you may pay slightly less attention to how much liquor is going in those drinks; which could prove to be dreadful for those who don’t quite know how to drink. Simple rules such as drinking a glass of water in-between cocktails or remembering to eat dinner may seem juvenile, but everybody looks like a child if they’re curled up in the fetal position when last call rolls around.
“It’s not a race,” Butler reminds me. ”And if it is, remember the age old saying that slow and steady wins that race.”
For the most part, these rules do not just exist during the holiday season but are things you should keep in mind every time you set foot in an establishment with the intention of consuming alcohol.
The men and women that make the bar experience so desirable work extremely hard and the last thing they want is somebody, no matter who they are, waltzing in and ruining that experience for those around them.
So if you want to go out with your Santa hat on and give your hard earned money to local slingers who deserve it, the wonderful Richmond bar scene welcomes you with open arms. But if you want to go out and try to mimic the behavior that you see on Jersey Shore every week, please, for the sake of the rest of us, just stay home and watch the re-runs instead.
The eggnog will taste a lot better without you.
Chad Brown is a straight male living in Richmond. He enjoys bourbon on the rocks and appreciates a firm ass. Male or female.
Next Thursday, Sept. 1, marks the start of Virginia Pride month, celebrating and honoring the entire LGBTQ community. You can kick yours off right at VA Pride and OutRVA‘s celebration at Quirk Hotel. At the party, guests will have the opportunity to taste two craft beers exclusively made for VA Pride and OutRVA, a collaboration with Ardent [...]August 22, 2016
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