Drinking – A Part of Male Bonding

Drinking - A part of male bondingI wish I had a regular drinking partner. I missed the good old days when me and a Navy buddy would go to the pubs or visit either one’s residence and just be guys; shooting the shit, laughing, play a few games of chess, listen to blues and jazz and share some serious things on our minds and … drink. And drink. And do shots of schnapps.
And drink again.

Many men often used drinking with good friends to share, discuss and sometimes help resolve various issues which bother them or which have long plagued their souls. Drinking alcohol has been a form of male bonding since men first created beer, wine and other hard drinks to be a beverage many thousands of years ago. I say it is an honorable male rite of passage for many young teen boys – if properly guided by a responsible adult. I was introduced to alcohol at age 15. Drinking alcohol is an integral part of male bonding but is not necessary to be considered manly or masculine. Male bonding is often established and cemented through drinking alcoholic beverages. I’ve found this to be true and deeply appreciated and respected. Drinking buddy (3)

There are some downsides to drinking, true – but then anything done in excess or irresponsibly by humans can get out of hand or abused. I try not to think on that level but that doesn’t mean that I ignore or dismiss such instances. I simply don’t choose to live my life thinking how bad or dangerous certain pleasures in life can be. Fuck it. Call me a risk-takerBirthday celebration at JB Meinberg's _Saginaw, MI if you want; for in truth with certain vices such as drinking, recreational drugs, sex and just being a strong, confident Black man in America, I have in the past and here in the present, indeed taken many risks. In the nearly forty years that I’ve been drinking beer, wine, hard liquor and what-not, I’ve never once gotten in a fight or lost my kool while under the influence of alcohol… although I have helped break up a few fights. It’s sometimes what I do when people I know and love get mixed up in something like that. It’s the bro-code of old school. I don’t expect many reading this to understand.

In the military, I proudly confess to having “contributed to the delinquency of a minor”. Those “minors” would be the young men in my military command who worked for me but who were not legally “old enough” to drink. Yes, I bought them beers and other drinks but I alwaysDrinking buddy (1) looked out for those youngbloods because they were good people who worked hard and had my deepest admiration and respect – even if a few of them called me “asshole” behind my back or under their breath when I gave them an order they didn’t like or when I would deny them some requested privilege. The mantle of good leadership often means having to say No and/or impose discipline when and where necessary. My men understood that, even if they didn’t like it. I knew I had their respect and that’s truly all that a leader of others needs from his subordinates. Yeah, those guys honorably served this country with me too. Who would dare deny a 17, 18, 19 or 20 year-old serviceman a drink if he wanted it?

As for me, I have done some crazy wild shit Drinking buddy (7)under the influence of alcohol but everything I did – or that I can remember doing – or that I was told I did, was all done in fun and silliness but while in the company of trusted people.

This was a simple flashback to pleasant times I’ve had concerning drinking. I’m not advocating that people drink but I won’t ever tell someone to never start or stop drinking either. I was fortunate to be taught how to drink. Yes; in some cultures – or in my case, beer mugsin the hoods of Philly, responsible people who drink can and do often teach the art of drinking. For example, one can learn the differences in something as common as beer. Everything that looks like beer on TV or on the shelf in the neighborhood package store isn’t exactly beer. One can learn how to tell – almost by taste, the difference between a stout, a lager or ale. But I digress.

At this point, I ask that readers not share with me the negatives of drinking alcohol or their ugly experiences with the beverage. Just save me all of that. I don’t want or care to hear your stories of woe. If I see such comments on this blog I will delete them. Period. Not every pleasurable vice in this world has to be negative – even if you don’t partake or approve.
My humble little bar -2(01MAR2014)The picture above is of my humble little bar. Above it is the cabinet for my drinking and shot glasses and a few glasses for beers. Beer mugs, wine and champagne glasses are kept in the kitchen. The alcohol you see sits on top of a mini-fridge that’s larger or almost twice the size of those tiny college dorm cube refrigerators. The fridge is strictly for alcohol and soda. It’s usually – if not always, stocked with a few bottles of wine, wine coolers, soda, Red Bull, Jägermeister, vodka, coconut rum and maybe one or two other things. Jägermeister, Jägermeister Spice

There is always (always!) beer in that fridge for I was taught as a teen that a good, true man is to always keeps something drinkable that’s five percent (5%) alcohol or higher in his home for those times when another man makes a planned or unplanned visit; to serve as an “ice breaker” with male strangers; as a bargaining chip to get a small or unique favor I want or need done; and/or to offer as a token of appreciation for that special favor that was done. And regarding Red Bull: that shit is expensive for it to come in such a thin can. It does nothing for me by itself but I do keep it to make Jäger-bombs for myself.

If you drink – whether alone or with friends, do this one thing for yourself and for others: drink responsibly.

Keepin’ It…REAL!

6 thoughts on “Drinking – A Part of Male Bonding

  1. Yes, buddy, I remember many nights as an undergrad at university when all the problems of the world, the universe, the whole fucking solar system with solved, resolved and dissolved over beers. That was the beverage of choice (due to age restrictions) for myself and my partners-in-brew during those days. Many times, I composed my best papers while engaging in the fine art of “elbow-bending.”

    I think humankind invented the fermentation process in order to “break the ice” and to become more social and less guarded and distrustful of others. This custom has survived even to this day. Probably for the same reasons it was created centuries ago.

    Great advice on consuming responsibly. I appreciate that reminder that we are all accountable for ourselves, whether under the influence or not. Too many times, we forget that others remember us due to the choices that we make.

    Thanks, my naked brother, for posting this and helping to keep us all…real! Much love and naked hugs, Rob! 🙂

  2. Strange enough many business deals were sealed with a drink and is still done today. My boss told me that most of the major company decisions were made outside the board over a drink.

    My sons were taught to drink responsibly starting at 16yo. All the pros and cons were discussed with them. I was surprised at the number of their friends who feared their parents while they were drinking. One of the main things my sons respected me for was that I NEVER disciplined them when I was drinking.

    I never could understand how a young man could risk his life by serving in the military but were not of age to buy liquor. That just never sat right with me.

    Kudos to this article. Well written and for me drinking with a friend is still one of the best ways to bond. As I get older the amount of liquor I consume gets less and less each year but the “honorable male rite of passage” is still very much alive.

    (I don’t drink alone.)

    • Thank you for reading, Gerald – and for sharing your personal and positive experience on this issue!
      Kudos to you – from me, a fellow dad, for maintaining the honor in [one of] the male rite(s) of passage by teaching your sons the pros AND cons of consuming alcohol. I’ve done/am doing the same with my son. It’s simply good parenting, g! As parents, we ought to always raise our children to understand the REALITIES of life. We ought to teach them how to take appropriate action or refrain from action – as the case may be, to make their own decisions and how to take responsibility and be accountable for the decisions they make and/or actions they take/not take.

      Regarding our young military servicepeople:
      In my twenty years of service in the U.S. Navy, I have never supported the notion of restricting drinking to those men and women not of the civilian legal age of 21. While on deployments in the Navy, I learned certain laws regarding drinking weren’t applicable to many places we traveled on the globe. If there was an American military base posted there then every American was subject to American law (logical). As such, many underage guys simply went off base to get a drink – usually against “suggestive orders” of command not to do so! I don’t recall anyone ever getting in trouble for off-base drinking. I also would learn that at sea, certain exceptions were made to the U.S. underage drinking law. For example, if we were out at sea for a straight 2 to 3 months with no port of call, the captain of the ship could authorize the issuance of TWO beers per man on one of the ship’s Saturday or Sunday recreation days. Beer and only beer was the alcoholic beverage stored on the ship for that purpose. I should note here that no one was ever coerced to take “his share” of beer. During deployments – if were going to be out at sea for two, three or more weeks – and if the mission, and of course the weather permitted, cookouts might be held on a given Saturday or Sunday (or holiday) and we’d play games and the like – all on the flight deck on the ship.
      NOTE: Sundays and U.S. observed holidays in the Navy – shore or at sea, was a routine day of relaxation – but if Saturday could not be a day of relaxation then it was simply pushed to Sunday or Monday.
      Everyone who wanted a beer on that day – during the hours the cookout was happening, was issued a special beer ticket to turn-in to the guy assigned to issue beer in exchange for a ticket. The system was set up in such a way so that no one could ever cheat the system and try to get more than two beers issued. In the five or six deployments I’ve made in the Navy – with a couple on different ships, I can attest that particular fair and working system has always been the same – and appreciated. It simply was a morale booster! I’ve been retired from my beloved Navy for nearly fifteen years so I don’t know if that part of the Navy has changed. I sure hope it hasn’t!
      Again, thanks for reading, Gerald!

    • Hey Walter! Yes, brother… you hit the nail on the head with your comment. And it was always a pleasure serving with you in the Navy! Thank you for visiting and reading the blog! 🙂

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