Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Masked Drinker's Guide to Drinking Alone

Few things in life have more potential for enjoyment than going out and having a few with your friends. Conversations blossom into epic riffs, wonderful stories, and fart jokes of majestic quality. But if you’re anything like me (and if you are, HIGH FIVE YOU RULE) then from time to time you want to be more or less alone. More or less in that, while sometimes you just want to be totally isolated in your apartment watching a M*A*S*H marathon for 14 hours straight (just, you know, for example), other times you want to get out of the apartment, be around people, but not with people.

And that’s where the beauty of drinking alone comes in. See, drinking alone needn’t be some bullshit Hollywood cliché of an unkempt man, down on his luck, sobbing into a dirty tumbler, all wrinkled faded suit, all tie with a stain on it, all remembering on what his ex-wife done to him. It can actually be a beautiful, chill way to spend an hour or eight. So here are some tips for you to read, enjoy, memorize, quote until they become tired, be ashamed of for a while, but then come to enjoy again at a later time.

Nerd Out! “Alone time” even when it’s in public, is often a time to indulge in your geekier, solitary pursuits. Drinking alone is a great time to catch up on some reading. This can be anything from finishing that damn trashy novel you just can’t put down (you know, the one with the mustachioed fellow with a large gun, and the cleavage-bearer holding onto his leg) to muddling your way through some sort of boring but necessary reading assignment (if you have to read something lame, at least you get to drink). Of course, some novels work better than others with booze. A nice glass of whisky makes Chandler even more hardboiled, but I wouldn’t suggest 5 Harvey Wallbangers while trying to get through Ulysses.

I’ve also found that a beer and a crossword puzzle can be a fine way to relax while not totally abandoning your cerebral cortex. Sure, maybe the old guy with the Bud in the corner might look at you askance but two words, fifteen letters for rolling with Will Shortz is “FUCKINGPARTYING” and don’t you forget it.

I like to write when drinking alone, too. You definitely have to walk a careful line, lest your handwriting turn to hieroglyphic and your content turn to “ha ha ha fart that is cool,” but it’s a good way to reward creative work done. “Hey, I finished an article for the blog, I get to finish my beer now, too!” Other creative pursuits might similarly benefit; I know after acquiring that perfect buzz, I find way more things to photograph. It just seems to flow more naturally.

Another good tip is almost cheating. Be friendly with bartenders. If you’re drinking alone and you know the bartender, you can get your alone time as you need it and chat him or her up when you feel like it. This, unless you’re some freak with the social skills of a five year old asshole (you know you’ve met or at least seen one, fucking whining about how he didn’t get the retarded piece of crap he wanted), will a) help you get in good with the bartender (never a bad thing) and b) maybe make you a new friend (shockingly hard in this city sometimes). So drink alone, but feel free to make friends while you do it.

Drinking alone can be used for reconnaissance as well. Maybe you’re wanting to have a party or a date (“Why You Don’t Bring Dates to Your Bar” is an article forthcoming from your truly here I BET YOU CANNOT WAIT TO FIND OUT THE SECRET REASONS WHY!) and you want to try somewhere new, but don’t necessarily want to walk in cold and have the place turn out to be a real shitshow. You should note that this is more fun if you refer to yourself by a code-name, write in a cipher, and wear fatigues or some sort of black ops outfit. Now’s the time to break out those night-vision goggles that uncle you used to think was cool but now scares you bought you for Christmas!

Drinking alone gets a bad rep sometimes, but if you think about it, it’s just the lame-os saying that. You know, the people that made toy guns become neon colored; the ones that don’t like it when you make gentle love to their furniture; the ones that go by their full name even when “Jimbo” is totally fun to say. Those guys can go fuck themselves. Treat yourself to a nice time and as my great-great-great-great-great grandfather the Lone Drinker always said, “Hi Ho Silver, another round!”

photo by the Masked Drinker


  1. I agree about the careful line of writing while drinking (or drinking while writing?), especially when writing in a journal. It can be hilarious or hilariously awful later. Why does everything I'm writing right now sound like a riddle or limerick?

  2. I like reading comic books while I'm drunk and alone, which is like two levels of sad combined into one tasty flavor.