Raising the bar: Drinking etiquette in detail

Steve Contorno

Steve Contorno

By Brittney Foreman

Whether to drink, dance, hang out, or hook up, students walk the lively Green Street to go to bars, perhaps to experience the highlights of University culture.

A low light might be someone being taken advantage of during an alcohol excursion. But some say it usually doesn’t happen in the bar.

“It’s … not the setting that causes this to occur, it’s the circumstances,” said Guillermo Massaccesi, junior in Engineering.

He said he knows people who have been taken advantage of and sometimes it’s easy for a guy to lure a girl away from a bar when she keeps drinking.

“My main concern is not what happens in a bar,” he said. “It’s when (the girl) goes home I’m worried about what’s going to happen to her.”

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    Assistant Chief of University Police Jeff Christensen said officers know that alcohol abuse is highly correlated to crimes on campus.

    “When you think about it, the number one date rape drug is probably alcohol,” Christensen said.

    This is apparent in police statistics.

    From Sept. 1 to May 13, there were 16 reported cases of criminal sexual assault on the University campus, according to the Crime Map Data Comparison on the Division of Public Safety Web site. In 11 of those cases, the victim had abused alcohol; in five, the suspect had.

    “I think we know that (with) sexual assaults, there’s a large amount of hidden or underreported sexual assaults and it’s been like that for a long time,” Christensen said.

    The most recent offense was a forcible fondling crime reported in June, according to the Clery Act report.

    Bar Do’s

    “If you stick with your friends and they’re not willing to leave you so you’re not alone at any point, you should be fine,” Massaccesi said.

    David Martinez, senior in LAS, said students should just be responsible.

    “All in moderation. There’s a difference between getting sloppy and having a good time,” Martinez said. “If you’re going to get sloppy, stay at home.”

    Martinez also said not to trust anyone you see.

    “If someone buys you a drink … be kind about it, but obviously you want to be suspicious as to why they’re doing it,” he said. “You really never know what people’s intentions are.”

    Bar Don’ts

    Mike, a manager at Brother’s, who wouldn’t give his last name because of his position, said that if a girl does not want to talk to a guy, she shouldn’t let him buy her a drink.

    “I see it all the time. I’ll get the look, the ‘help’ look from a girl, and then he offers to buy her a drink and she says ‘yes’,” Mike said.

    One girl admitted that even though girls may use guys to buy them drinks, guys have their shortcomings as well.

    Guys just come up and think it’s OK to start (dancing with) you,” said Emily Ward, senior in Communications.

    Ward said many times guys won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

    Aside from the battle of the sexes, what are some other bar don’ts?

    “Don’t cut in line,” said Joe Rybka, senior in LAS. “Don’t sit your drink down and leave it. Don’t drive to the bar. If you drive to the bar, don’t drink. Don’t drink alone in a bar. Drinking alone is alcoholism.”

    One visiting student from St. Louis, Rusty, can relate to the effects of alcoholism. Rusty said he doesn’t really go to bars and he doesn’t drink.

    “The general reason I don’t go to bars is because my real name is Warren,” he said.

    Rusty’s dad’s name is Warren. And he doesn’t know his father.

    “The reason I don’t know him is because he’s an alcoholic,” Rusty said. “I don’t even know what he looks like.”

    Because of his dad’s alcoholism, Rusty’s mother walked out on him when he was around 3-years-old.

    “Generally, when he came home drunk, he wouldn’t exactly treat her right,” he said.

    Rusty said, though, that he doesn’t have anything against people drinking in bars.

    “I have something against people coming to bars on a regular basis and deciding you’re going to spend your whole paycheck on beers instead of food for your kids,” he said.

    Rusty said he remembers when his mom would get done drinking and he would crush her beer cans and stack them for her.

    “When I think of people who are drinking and get belligerent, I think about their kids and what memories they’re going to have,” he said. “It’s not a good childhood memory, if you ask me.”

    As for memories of his dad, Rusty said he doesn’t think about him.

    “I don’t want my kids to grow up not thinking about me,” he said.

    Rusty believes that the problem of alcohol abuse extends to America and that the media play a role.

    “How many countless times do you see someone in a movie getting drunk, having the time of their lives without repercussions?” he said. “To me, that’s the media taking advantage of America.”

    Why they do it

    Mike said the only reason bars exist is because people want to have a good time.

    “You could drink cheaper at home,” Mike said. “It’s definitely a social scene … and the occasional hookups.”

    But is it just a social scene or is there a problem?

    “If a person doesn’t monitor their own intake and know their own limits, as far as what can safely be consumed, then certainly it can become a problem,” Mike said.

    Christensen said drinking and binge drinking are historical elements of this campus and there’s not just one solution. He said it’s not only a problem on this campus, but at universities throughout the country.

    So, is it the bar or the alcohol?

    “I think even if you took all the bars off campus, that’s not going to do away with all the alcohol issues,” Christensen said.

    Alison Perle, senior in AHS, said she doesn’t know if there is such a thing as bar etiquette.

    “People do whatever they want in these bars,” Perle said.

    Perle said she feels safe, though, in the bars.

    At Brother’s, Mike said all of his staff is trained to the highest level and that there are extra eyes and ears – especially security staff members – to monitor every corner of the bar.

    But sometimes, are the “extra eyes and ears” enough?

    “I had a friend who got roofied by the bartender,” said Kalee Ludeks, who did not know the location of the incident.

    Ludeks, a sophomore in LAS, said the man was fired immediately.

    Her friend doesn’t really remember anything.

    “She remembers going to the bar and having one drink,” she said.

    Ludeks said her friend got sick and had to be practically carried home.

    “I think that she was really shaken up by it,” she said.

    Ludeks said her friend is extremely cautious now when she goes to the bars.

    “She just keeps her eyes open and … makes sure she orders from a friend she trusts.”