Pub Etiquette (Black Eye Friday Special)

Black Eye Friday

Christmas time, mistletoe and wine; sounds like a recipe for disaster, not least on Black Eye Friday.

There are many sacred Christmas traditions, midnight mass, snoozing through the Queen’s speech, getting lashed up and fighting on the last Friday before Christmas.

Black Eye Friday

Black Eye Friday is a tradition that goes back decades and is the only day of the year when all cultures, office workers, factory workers, Christmas shoppers, teachers and the unemployed come together with a common purpose. To get as drunk as is humanly possible to try and to forget the shit year that has just gone, and blank out the torture of spending Christmas with family that is yet to come.

As my festive gift to you all, I will try and guide you through the minefield of how to behave on this, the most sacred day.

Pre Loading

Pre Loading is a term you may or may not be aware of. It may be something that you only associate with the younger generation, sneering at them as they sit at home drinking vodka until it is safe for them to leave for town once all the oldies have gone home.

It may be a new term but the practice has been going on forever, especially on Black Eye Friday.

I’ve discussed what to drink in a previous Christmas Party blog and the same rules apply for Black Eye Friday. You are out all day, you aren’t used to this amount of alcohol, you need to pace yourself. But nobody ever listens, they assume that anything that is drunk before leaving the office doesn’t count.

Glass of champagne, vodka jellies, little bottle of tequila you got in the Secret Santa, what are you doing Barbara, it’s ten in the morning?

The Early Finish

With Christmas Day falling on a Monday, this year’s Black Eye Friday is almost the perfect storm. In previous years, some people would finish on the Friday before Christmas where some wouldn’t break up until Christmas Eve.

With everyone finishing on the same day, the challenge is to get an early flyer and be first in the pub. Most companies will have a policy on what time you can finish, don’t abuse it.

If they say you can finish at one, don’t take your lunch at twelve and never return. If there are office drinks and a buffet, at least nibble on a sausage roll and a TUC cracker before buggering off down the pub.

Seattle_Engineering_Department_Christmas_party,_1957.gif

The sooner you start, the sooner you will crash and burn.

The All Day Session

Christmas is a season of novelties, the novelty hat, the novelty jumper, the novelty drinker.

Day time drinking is an art form. It requires years of training and refinement, you can’t enter into it lightly. Just because your partner is picking up the kids from school and you haven’t told them of your early finish doesn’t mean you can start necking cocktails at lunchtime. It isn’t a free pass to down pints and balance the empty glass on your head to impress the office junior in the hope that the mistletoe she is carrying will at some point head in your direction.

Remember, this is the age of the camera phone, live streaming and Daily Mail photographers, every action has a consequence.

The Graceful Departure

As important as knowing how to behave whilst out, is knowing when to drop your shoulder and leave the proceedings to those who don’t mind spending Christmas in a police cell.

The key here is not to make a fuss. If you make a big announcement, you will be encouraged to stop for another, and another, and another and next thing you know it will be 2018 and your wife has left you.

If you make a fuss and you aren’t encouraged to stay, you need to reevaluate your standing in society.

It’s far better to slope off whilst you can still negotiate public transport. Remember, you will be sharing your journey with regular commuters and shoppers, nobody wants to see your elephant impression.

Falling asleep on the train is a real risk so set an alarm on your phone, believe me, nobody wants to spend Christmas in Plymouth. And if you plan to get a taxi, statistically, a taxi  queue is where you are more likely to receive the traditional black eye.

You will no doubt visit a takeaway on the way home. You may think you are being thoughtful in choosing some food for your partner but trust me on this, if your wife is the type who appreciates a kebab with cheese and gravy, I think you’re going to have to do a lot more all day drinking.

640px-Wien_Bellaria_Kebab_Pizza_Dez2006.jpg

Final Word

This is something that will only have meaning to people of a certain vintage and from certain towns and cities but it if you know, it will fill you with the fear of how Black Eye Friday used to be.

Yellow gingham overalls trimmed with tinsel. I shall say no more on the subject.

Dewhirsts girls

I trust you have a pleasant Black Eye Friday and return home with all your eyes and marriage intact.

Merry Christmas.


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