Uncle Jamie – Paddy’s Day Paranoia

As St. Patrick’s Day looms large one visiting student is frought with drinking nerves – how can he make past two pints without causing extreme embarrasment? Unfortunately Uncle Jamie is currently away with Aunty Jamie (Venice if you must know) so the equally sage Cousin Will steps into the breach.

Dear Uncle Jamie,

I am an American visiting student and I’m petrified about what might happen on St. Patricks Day. In essence my problem is that I am a catastrophic ‘lightweight’. Indeed, such is the low level of my alcohol tolerance that among friends I have come to be known as “Two Pints Pete” which, if I’m being honest, is a pretty generous.

The problem is that, if my conversation with that bloke from ‘Ents’ early today is to be believed, come Saturday afternoon I will be a red-faced, vomit-flecked mess (most probably in tears). How, oh how, can I make it through the planned pub crawl with both my ‘lad credentials’ and clean criminal record intact?




Dearest Peter,

The first thing to say is that you are not alone. You belong to a group of around one billion people that suffer from low alcohol tolerance levels and what’s more your American heritage places you in an even higher ‘risk’ bracket than us people of Ireland.

The second thing to say, however, is that even if two pints might be a normal night-out where you come from, here in Ireland that is simply not going to be good enough. Despair not, however, for your friendly (but crucially not pervy) Uncle Jamie is on hand to give you some top Paddy’s day tips.

First off, like all of the best celebrations, it is essential to begin your Paddy’s day with a hearty breakfast and when I say ‘hearty’ I do not mean ‘heart healthy’. I’m talking bacon, eggs, both colours of pudding, beans, mushrooms, fried bread, the lot. Chow it down with a good cup of sugary tea and already, with your stomach nicely lined with glorious saturated fats, you’ll be well on the way.

Now to the pub. In accordance with the Irish constitution, by law your first drink on the big day must be a pint of Guinness but that needn’t be the undoing of you – take small sips and try to avoid inhaling air whilst drinking (less oxygen = less pissed).

Once that pint’s done and dusted be the one to get the next round in – this way you can subtly switch to low alcohol lager where you will remain for the rest of the day. If someone says to you “why aren’t you drinking Guinness you big American fairy?”, don’t panic and simply respond “I find I can tuck-away a few more of these – if I drink Guinness I’m full after 8 pints”.

Drink slowly to create the impression of large gulps, whilst actually consuming very little and wait for your mates to get wrecked. Once they’re at a suitable level of inebriation you can stop drinking entirely if you so wish – who cares? They’re not going to remember after all.

So there you have it: my one stop shop/guide for a sobre-enough Paddy’s day. If you are seriously concerned about your level of alcohol tolerance you might visit your local doctor; or you might grow a pair of balls you big American fairy – the choice is yours.

That is all,

Cousin Will

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