Don Draper drinks an old fashioned. James Bond shakes his Martini. Carrie Bradshaw and co. clink their Cosmos. The Dude swigs a White Russian. Even Harry Potter has been known to indulge in a (naturally non-alcoholic) butterbeer, while Hannibal Lecter pops the cork on a nice Chianti. Alcohol is embedded across pop culture. Whether your bar of choice is best characterised as cocktail or dive, you are participating in a tradition bolstered by millennia of mass media. A simple drink order can be used to denote an entire personality.
Let us take the case of a young City professional. After-work drinks are an expected part of the early career networking process. They are typically held in polite company on a weekday evening, and consequently would not result in the overindulgence reserved for Friday and Saturday nights. The young professional must nonetheless bear in mind that a few G&Ts or a couple of pints still results in decreased cognitive function and performance the next day. The very act of drinking reduces the body’s ability to reach REM sleep, better known as the reason you feel rested in the morning. In order to make the opening bell at 8:15, a savvy professional would seek to remedy any ill effects of alcohol in advance of his slumber.
Not every job begins at daybreak. Legions of bartenders begin work when the sun sets, catering to the party people until the small hours of the morning. Alcohol flows on both sides of the bar. At some Coyote Ugly-inspired establishments, the bar staff might match you shot for shot. At others, they may simply relax with an afterwork aperitif. Meanwhile, their satisfied customers have staggered home, already prepared to write off the following day. Their incoming headaches call to mind the oft-quoted proverb: ‘Drinking today is stealing happiness from tomorrow.’
Booze is not reserved for the responsibility-free jet set. As a sedative and a depressant, alcohol’s perceived effects have been compared to some anti-anxiety medications. The parent demographic experiences all the stressors of the young professionals, with the added worry of providing for their family. The term ‘wine mom’ is an affectionate term to describe a more mature style of drinking. Wine moms (or beer dads) have a drink to relax, as opposed to drinking to get drunk. The downward shift in booze consumption frequency is met with an upward shift in alcohol’s effectiveness. The older you get, the more it affects you.
As seen in our article on the history of booze, alcohol transcends age, class, and location. Regardless of the amount drunk or the reasons behind it, every Survivor should drink responsibly – without having to steal happiness from tomorrow.