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Of drinks and social norms

Holding your drink is more important than the act of drinking.

COCKTAIL PARTIES, social drinking and pub hopping have all become part of today's lifestyle. In fact, one has to be part of it if one wants to be considered hip and happening. This is all well, provided one knows how to behave, how and what to order, most importantly, what your limit is and how to hold your drink. No one would be impressed by your social savvy if you behave like a bungling amateur. Society looks down on people who cannot hold their drinks. And, getting labelled as a drunk is not what one would want.

Being aware of a few basics and by practicing some easy manoeuvring, you too can handle cocktails and canapés with great ease. Panache starts well before you arrive at any function and it begins with your attitude.

* Do whatever mental kickboxing it takes to put you in a positive frame of mind to mingle and socialise; or stay home.

* * Concentrate on greeting and meeting people much more than on appeasing your urge to get high.

* Remember to make eye contact while having a discussion. It is very disconcerting to talk with someone who appears to be scanning the room for a more important or interesting prospect. If you want to move on, exit the conversation gracefully.

* At the bar, or food station, get what you want and keep moving. Don't hold court directly in front of the bar; give others a chance to get something too.

* Savour your drink and keep your conversation light and clean. Avoid any sexual innuendoes or offensive jokes. Also, steer clear from taboo topics like dieting, health (yours or theirs), the cost of anything, malicious gossip (yes, you do know when it's malicious), religion and politics.

* Never ever, drink on an empty stomach. Alcohol is going to hit you much faster; so, you must make it a point to grab a snack before you leave. This will reduce the risk of you losing control or being indiscreet.

* Any cocktail with a carbonated beverage added to it gets into the bloodstream much faster than liquor with water or juice.

* Be sure to pace your alcoholic intake throughout the course of the evening so that you won't talk or behave in a way that embarrasses you and the people on whom it was imposed.

Have fun and drive back home safe.


(The writer is the director of ProEt Centre for International Protocol and Etiquette; Tel. Nos. 23556422 / 55503605; e- mail:; website:

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