I don’t really know when the thought “drinking alone is very bad” was implanted in my brain. For sure it was my mother – responsible for my ever-present, guilty-catholic-apostolic-roman moral compass – who planted that sinful idea in my young mind, together with those related to virginity, drug abuse, hard studies, having a house before my 40’s and all the other usual clichés you can expect.
I remember in my early age, watching Jack Nicholson drinking alone at the bar of the hotel in “The Shining” and thinking how depressing that was, how bad and crazy he must have been. Drinking alone, in my perspective, was not only morally repugnant but also nearer to dementia, a symptom of a biblical plague.
But times change and everyone, including me and what I once thought as sinful, now has become something delightful and even sometimes pure ecstasy! Of course I’m not talking about drinking from a tetra pack, sitting in a parking lot during winter in Europe (a 19-year old me has been there, done that). I’m talking about the real act of drinking alone, or a better phrase would be “Drinking Solo”, removing ‘alone’s’ negative connotations. Drinking Solo, according to many intellectuals around the world, when done the right, should be considered an art form.
Of course, we are talking about drinking alone when it is not some act of rebellion, revenge, alcoholism or depression (like that time you drank alone with the lights off, crying, wondering why he or she left you, and for your best friend!).
Drinking Solo involves can be in public or private, you could be sad or happy, well or badly dressed, never beer – that’s too cheap – only wine or spirits (in proper glasses), any time of day after 11AM and any day of the week. Yes, even Mondays. If it is in a restaurant or bar, never at the bar sitting on high stools, always at a table, showing the rest of the public the empty chairs in front of you.
When it comes to wine, never order by the glass. A bottle must be placed and displayed over the table. Pour for yourself, determining the speed in which you drink and the quantity found in your glass. Don’t pretend to be busy, or to be waiting for somebody else. Do not look your watch. Do not check your phone. And definitely don’t take a selfie. If you have a book, you may read it. If you have a notebook, write something in it. Something intellectual of course, like “to be or not to be”. Enjoy each single sip, don’t rush, nobody is waiting for you. Ignore those looking at you, make as if they don’t exist. Cross your legs, hold the glass, look at the colour, breathe it in, but if you don’t want to look like a snob, don’t give it a swirl. Then drink again.
Finish that bottle. If you can’t, leave it for the sake and education of the waitress. Never order a doggy bag! Pay your bill. Stand up slowly, put your coat if it’s cold outside. If you are in the tropics like us, just walk and leave the place in silence. Slow and cool, like you’re in the Matrix. Embrace the summit of your “wine solo” journey, feel like an artist, a rock star, a superior being on the top of the evolutive scale of drinkers. You have made it. Congratulate yourself. You are now one of only a small group of those able to drink ‘alone’ and look good doing it.