Congrats on your legality. Now don’t be a dick about it

by Chris Kirkland

Well just look at you, newbie student! You’re at a post-secondary institution, out on your own (unless you’re from the city and still living at home with your parents — in which case you’re in a situation that you probably think sucks, but that every other student super-envies for the cost savings) and ready to start making your mark on the world. Congrats!

And the best part? Well, duh: you’re either of age or just about to come of age when it comes to legally drinking in a pub / bar / restaurant / nightclub etc. Huzzah! No more heading to the back alley to chug beers stolen from dad’s basement fridge, no more worrying about when your friend’s parents will get home and bust you with that mickey of vodka somebody’s big sister bought (and probably seriously overcharged) you, and — if you’re from the country — no more skeevey bush parties where older kids (or even adults) think it’s cool to throw .22 shells into the fire or hit on 15-year-olds.

So like I said, sweet! Just one thing: don’t be a complete douchenozzle now that you’ve been handed the golden key to alcoholic beverage adulthood.

See, those of us who have been hitting drinking establishments for decades (guilty as charged) — at least, those of us who haven’t remained douchnozzles in arrested development right up to, and possibly through, our 40s — have learned a thing or two that you need to know. Hanging at the pub with friends is one of the most fun parts of being an adult, if you do it right. So here’s how:


Heading down to a live music show, pumpin’ dance club or packed sports bar showing the big game on tons of huge-screen TVs? Well, knock yourself out! Dance, cheer, applaud etc. until you’re exhausted. Super fun happy time!

On the other hand, if you’re going for drinks at a quiet (or even semi-quiet) bar or pub filled with a bunch of people trying to talk to each other, keep the volume to an appropriate level — and call out your friends if they don’t do the same. Think about it: do you really want to be the table that has everyone else in the place trying to get away from you? Nope, nope you don’t. And perhaps the even worse thing: you can be guaranteed that every server / bartender / door guy working in the place has marked you as a douchenozzle, and will be more than happy to pitch your ass out now or any time in the future if you push anything even an inch too far. That’s right: no benefit of the doubt for you.


When you think about it, the idea that there are people out there who will bring you whatever food and/or drinks you want, whenever you ask, is pretty cool, isn’t it? Damn straight — so please, don’t be one of those douchenozzles that treats serving staff as some sort of sub-human slave. These people are working very hard so that you can have an enjoyable time. The least you can do is: be polite, say please and thank you, and speak full sentences rather than surly grunts when making an order. Oh, and that waving / snapping fingers / insistent, whiny barks of “server, server!” or “can we have some service please?” that you might’ve seen in movies? Never, ever do that.


Yup, I get it: you’re a student, cash is damn tight and you really want to have a drink or two now and then. So maybe you’re thinking jeez, if I just don’t tip I could stretch these two beers into three!

Don’t do it — it’s a one-way trip to douchenozzleville. See, those servers are working just as hard at their jobs as you are at your studies (let’s be honest — probably a lot harder), and without tips they’re doing it for minimum wage. That’s the lowest amount anyone is allowed to be paid, by law.

Why are they working for minimum wage? Because in our screwed-up society, they depend on tips to make a half-decent living, rather than on increased food and drink prices which would give all of us a better idea of the cost of what we’re buying. Crazy — but that’s the way it is, so suck it up and realize that if you don’t have enough money to afford a decent tip, then your server will actually lose money to serve you. (That’s why high-flyers get great service: servers can smell that cash that’ll make it worth their while.) So if you can’t tip, you don’t have enough money to go for drinks or food.


Sorry to crush your dreams, but it’s exceedingly likely that the very nice server / bartender who smiled, had a good chat with you and maybe even touched your shoulder isn’t looking to have sex with you. Servers are nice to you mainly because it’s a big part of their jobs, making more money for both them and the establishment they work for — and hopefully because that establishment treats them well and they like their jobs.

Don’t get me wrong: if you follow all my advice, they’ll almost certainly be nice to you because you’re a good customer! Doesn’t that make you feel great about yourself? Absolutely! So don’t go and ruin it with some stupid sexist remark / terribly awkward come-on / etc. Oh, and I know that you’re not the type of person who would ever do this, but just sayin’: if you go as far to actually grope a server, prepare for a painful world of black eyes, bruises and police charges. And deservedly so.


There’s a lot more that could be said here, but I’m running out of room, so time for quick hits: public drinking establishments are for, well, the public! That means no one wants to hear racist, sexist or homophobic blathering — so if that’s you or someone you know (and if so, bummer), keep your hate quiet until you get home; bar fights are just plain a good way to get your ass kicked. Seriously, you look stupid, you’ll probably get hurt and there’s a good chance you’ll be talking to a cop when you really should be sleeping. Know your limits, and DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE! It should go without saying, but no one wants to see you barf in the pub washroom and no one wants to get killed by your drunk, car-driving ass.

Sound like a lot of stuff? Don’t stress too much — it really just boils down to “be a decent person,” which is exactly what you want to be, right? Cool. See you at the pub.