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#1 Posted by Theassman (27 posts) -

Hi. This is about as offtopic as it gets, but I have a burning question! First, a bit of setup: I'm 20 years old, I'm from sweden and right now I'm skibumming in Whistler, BC Canada. I've been here about 2 months now and I love everything about this place, the people, the mountain, except one extremely annoying thing.

American collegekids. Now this is not some high-and-mighty european put down of american culture, I like american culture and I've tried my absolute best to embrace it! But every goddamn american holiday, that forms a long weekend, such as this weekend during martin-luther king day seriously thousands of collegekids come here (ages 19-20) to drink legally. Which is fine, I am not adverse to partying and I personally think 21 is a ridicolous drinking age, but around here it is just insane!

My problem with it, more specifically, is that people that are 20 should be able to hold their liqour! I literally saw a couple of 20 year old girls throw up in the street, at about 3 PM. At the same time, a hundred assholes would yell WOOOOOOO every chance they got! I work as a server and today I had a 12 hour shift, and had 2 guys take a swing at me for not serving them anymore when they could barely talk. I couldn't even count the amount of people throwing up, before 9. Which is really weird, and I dont understand it at all. Well and I also hate it because my job becomes soo much more harder when some preppy asshole demands another glass of horribly pronounced cabernet sauvignon when he cant stand upright.

But anyway, my point is that in Sweden, the drinking age at bars is 18. But I have NEVER met anyone at a bar who had their first drinking experience there. Personally, I was 15 when I got drunk the first time. It sucked, I didnt know what I was doing and it led to a shitty night. This progressed, and when I was 17 I completely knew my drinking limit. I was 16 the last time I threw up from drinking, and I dont see it happening anytime soon either. Now, all this drinking was abviously done at house-parties, and stuff like that. Now from movies and television, I thought I knew american underage drinking culture. Houseparties, highschool kids getting together drinking watery beer out of red plastic cups and playing beerpong. So, if television didnt lie to me, how come a bunch of 20 year olds are acting like they just had their first beer?

I seriously cannot wrap my head around it! Is it some cultural thing, that people dont drink more than 2-3 beers per highschool party and they cant handle strong liqour? Are these just a particular brand of collegekid, who never went drinking before? They dont seem the type..

I really need some of you americans to explain this phenomenon to me. Thoroughly!

Also, if any of you feel targeted, stop dressing like your in Miami. Its the mountains and it's 12- C, wear a skirt longer than your vagina next time. And DONT go to the park if you can't make it down a blue trail!!

Well, thats my rant. Thank you, and have a great night!

#2 Posted by TheManiacsGnome (279 posts) -

Yeah, the short skirts always made me wonder why people were complaining about female video game attire. Shit is getting short, like can't sit down short.

Your description of American kids drinking is a pretty decent description of a lot of younger "adults" drinking regardless of where they come from. It's just that extreme, that people in the 18-2X (It has no limit really) age group take things, the extreme is just extreme and I am a person who hates when people take those kinds of extremes to the extreme.

#3 Posted by Junkerman (279 posts) -

@Theassman: I dont think it has anything to do with people people not being able to hold their liquor and even though the legal drinking age is 21 in the states I'm pretty sure the average teenager starts drinking at around 14. Its just that getting shit-faced any chance you get seems to be an acceptable practice for a lot of people and until someone dies in a car accident or something extreme like that happens in a social circle people keeping doing it with no shame.

#4 Posted by Raven10 (1926 posts) -

Drinking is different here than in Europe in that it is much more strictly controlled. Remember that this is the country that banned drinking entirely at one point. Because of that culture, drinking for many college age kids here is a form of rebelling and growing up. I'm Jewish and because of my religious background I've been drinking on a weekly basis since before I became a teenager. We weren't allowed to get drunk in our family but no one would deny anyone a beer or glass of wine. Because of that, drinking for my family, and for Jews in the US in general is quite a different experience and closer to that of Europe. Parents here absolutely do not let their kids drink. In Europe the laws are more lax and drinking at family dinners is common even among young teenagers. Because drinking isn't against the rules to you guys then teens don't have nearly as much interest in getting wasted. Teens as a rule like to do exactly what they are not supposed to do. And do that thing not in moderation. So teens and young adults drink because they feel like they are more adult because they do. It makes them feel cool to get entirely wasted. In my culture and in many European cultures drinking isn't seen as a "fuck the man" type of activity. It is here. College kids want to prove they are adults and such so they drink. Frat culture also is often based around drinking and drinking a lot. It is part of the college experience for many people here. Drink until you black out or puke. Feel like a grown up by ruining your health. You know normal kid stuff.

#5 Posted by skooks (85 posts) -

Sounds like every bar-street in England. I've seen enough people in their thirties and up do the things you described. I don't think it has anything to do with younger people not being able to tolerate strong drinks, just more to do with a culture where getting absolutely shit-faced is not only accepted, but encouraged.

#6 Posted by Animasta (14731 posts) -

I didn't read your post because it's late, but goddamn

nice user name

#7 Posted by Giantstalker (1730 posts) -

I've lived in BC a long time now, and I try to stay far away from Whistler for similar reasons.

Regarding drinking; for some people, it's not about knowing your limit, but rather exceeding it. That - for some - is the inherent 'joy' of getting wasted.

Being posted for several years to Army bases has made me keenly aware of this fact, both as an observer and participant. Nothing to be proud of, but the truth, regardless.

#8 Posted by BraveToaster (12588 posts) -

Insert less than witty Swedish stereotype regarding Ricola.

But seriously, I've seen some obnoxious drunks in Europe and America.

#9 Posted by CatsAkimbo (645 posts) -

@skooks said:

Sounds like every bar-street in England. I've seen enough people in their thirties and up do the things you described. I don't think it has anything to do with younger people not being able to tolerate strong drinks, just more to do with a culture where getting absolutely shit-faced is not only accepted, but encouraged.

Yeah, was about to post that I've heard England can get pretty bad. Like "I don't need to eat dinner because I'll drink enough beer to be full" bad.

#10 Posted by Patman99 (1620 posts) -

As a Canadian, I want to mention that Canada apologizes for any stress or discomfort that we, or our ski resorts, may have caused you. We will try to do better. Sorry, for not specifically addressing your question. Sorry.

#11 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4504 posts) -

@Animasta said:

I didn't read your post because it's late, but goddamn

nice user name

#12 Posted by TruthTellah (9489 posts) -

@Theassman: Unfortunately, that kind of absurdity is an -intended- result of their excessive drinking. So, those young women probably do know their limit, but since they're in an environment of "letting loose" and "getting crazy", they knowingly drink more and act more foolish. The same certainly applies to the young men. As a result of both peer pressure and personal, intentional recklessness, they will drink in excess and align themselves to those acting like immature tools.

The recklessness and resulting sickness or acts of stupidity are rarely the result of someone genuinely not knowing their limit; they tend to result from an intentional bucking of personal limits in the interests of having popularly-accepted types of fun and inclusion in what they see as unrestricted frivolity.

#13 Posted by MyNiceIceLife (635 posts) -

I live in a city (well I live in the town portion of it away from most of it thankfully) that has a college, a technical college, the EAA Air Convention, and Country USA which means that seeing drunk people is a normal thing here. People do it because that's "what you do" at those events or at that part of your life. I've seen plenty of my friends just drink a few beers and be complete idiots in no time. Setting the drink age at 21 makes it a milestone for people to finally just drink and not have to get in trouble, and those younger than that do it because they're not supposed to. If it was a normal thing and didn't have the restrictions as it does in other parts of the world, it probably wouldn't be the same problem as it is now, but there will always be idiots no matter where you are. (note I am 26 and have never drank at all, so I could care less what the drinking age is anyways)

#14 Posted by frankfartmouth (1018 posts) -

Part of it is that you live in a border town. Kids who cross the border to drink are usually aiming to get pretty fucked up, not just have a dry martini or two with dinner. They're going to be pretty likely to do things like throw up in a trash can.

I've lived in and around Detroit for a long time, and the kids from Farmington Hills who go to Windsor for the strip clubs are usually intent on making quite a night out of it. That's just the way that is. It's not the average American drinker by any means. Most American drinkers are just sitting in a sports bar watching a game. Or sitting at home, watching a game.

#15 Posted by clumsyninja1 (816 posts) -

People at 20 are barely teenagers, even if the law says your an adult at 18. No every college kid out there is a drunken frat guy/sorority girl; there are actually people that want to get a degree and enjoy their college experience.

#16 Posted by BaconGames (3582 posts) -

You know, this thread kinda hits all the points, bravo GB team.

As a current college student in the Northeast, I can say that it's definitely a social atmosphere element to it, and that sadly a lot of this stuff is par for the course. Luckily, or however you choose to interpret it, a college town also comes with college police and generally speaking puking on the street will very very quickly get you in trouble. Unfortunately that leads to a lot of covert drinking and then all of a sudden someone has to be the one to bite and call the ambulance because they're afraid their friend has alcohol poisoning.

I can't but agree with the thread if only because most people are fucking amateurs when it comes to their booze and don't realize that there's such a thing as getting better at it.

@TruthTellah said:

@Theassman: Unfortunately, that kind of absurdity is an -intended- result of their excessive drinking. So, those young women probably do know their limit, but since they're in an environment of "letting loose" and "getting crazy", they knowingly drink more and act more foolish. The same certainly applies to the young men. As a result of both peer pressure and personal, intentional recklessness, they will drink in excess and align themselves to those acting like immature tools.

The recklessness and resulting sickness or acts of stupidity are rarely the result of someone genuinely not knowing their limit; they tend to result from an intentional bucking of personal limits in the interests of having popularly-accepted types of fun and inclusion in what they see as unrestricted frivolity.

One thing stuck out at me while reading this and that's also the root of a lot of sexual assault on college campuses. When liquor is involved and there's a general assumption of anomie, then it creates situations in which attractive women in skimpy clothes are generally more vulnerable and men more inclined to say fuck it and give it a shot. Without maybe even realizing it, they've committed a crime and are now in the middle of a soul-sucking shit storm of a problem. Anyway, just wanted to comment on that.

@MyNiceIceLife said:

I live in a city (well I live in the town portion of it away from most of it thankfully) that has a college, a technical college, the EAA Air Convention, and Country USA which means that seeing drunk people is a normal thing here. People do it because that's "what you do" at those events or at that part of your life. I've seen plenty of my friends just drink a few beers and be complete idiots in no time. Setting the drink age at 21 makes it a milestone for people to finally just drink and not have to get in trouble, and those younger than that do it because they're not supposed to. If it was a normal thing and didn't have the restrictions as it does in other parts of the world, it probably wouldn't be the same problem as it is now, but there will always be idiots no matter where you are. (note I am 26 and have never drank at all, so I could care less what the drinking age is anyways)

This reminds me of a research article on analyzing the communication dynamics of safe driver designations. Basically there's an implicit "one who takes a hit for the team" that underlies a larger cultural assumption that drinking is such a norm in those situations that even those who voluntarily choose not to drink without much issue are later encouraged by their friends lest they become a "buzzkill." Fascinating stuff.

Online
#17 Edited by MyNiceIceLife (635 posts) -

@BaconGames said:

@MyNiceIceLife said:

I live in a city (well I live in the town portion of it away from most of it thankfully) that has a college, a technical college, the EAA Air Convention, and Country USA which means that seeing drunk people is a normal thing here. People do it because that's "what you do" at those events or at that part of your life. I've seen plenty of my friends just drink a few beers and be complete idiots in no time. Setting the drink age at 21 makes it a milestone for people to finally just drink and not have to get in trouble, and those younger than that do it because they're not supposed to. If it was a normal thing and didn't have the restrictions as it does in other parts of the world, it probably wouldn't be the same problem as it is now, but there will always be idiots no matter where you are. (note I am 26 and have never drank at all, so I could care less what the drinking age is anyways)

This reminds me of a research article on analyzing the communication dynamics of safe driver designations. Basically there's an implicit "one who takes a hit for the team" that underlies a larger cultural assumption that drinking is such a norm in those situations that even those who voluntarily choose not to drink without much issue are later encouraged by their friends lest they become a "buzzkill." Fascinating stuff.

And you know that has happened a fair amount when I first became friends with most of the people that I am friends with now. They weren't forceful, but they did try to encourage me, although I always refused until they no longer bothered anymore. It's always been a choice of mine that's not even based on any religious or parental pressure (my parents drink a little here and there), I've just never seen the point in it. And the point on becoming a buzzkill does ring true. Most of the places my friends go to hang out are bars, which for me have very little positives (at least people can't smoke anymore in bars here) beyond maybe getting into a conversation when someone is not drinking, other then that I tend to just get ignored and spend most of my time watching sports on the TVs. It's a downside to the age range and culture, but nothing that changes my mind about my choice.

#18 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -
@Animasta said:

I didn't read your post because it's late, but goddamn

nice user name


#19 Posted by ajamafalous (12166 posts) -

Since everyone else in the thread already handled all the other misconceptions in your post, I'll just add that your suggestion of "drink underage/illegally in private before you become legal so that when you go out to a bar for the first time you know your limit" is completely fucking laughable.

#20 Posted by JonathanAshleyMoore (283 posts) -

@skooks said:

Sounds like every bar-street in England. I've seen enough people in their thirties and up do the things you described. I don't think it has anything to do with younger people not being able to tolerate strong drinks, just more to do with a culture where getting absolutely shit-faced is not only accepted, but encouraged.

This.

#21 Posted by Ksaw (353 posts) -

Eh, most people have to learn how to drink the hard way. I know I did. I haven't gone out drinking in too many places outside of the states, so I can't speak to whether or not inexperienced drinking habits are a uniquely American thing.

#22 Posted by J12088 (462 posts) -

There beers pretty shitty too you'd think that would be enough to put them off.

#23 Posted by SlashDance (1843 posts) -

@JonathanAshleyMoore said:

@skooks said:

Sounds like every bar-street in England. I've seen enough people in their thirties and up do the things you described. I don't think it has anything to do with younger people not being able to tolerate strong drinks, just more to do with a culture where getting absolutely shit-faced is not only accepted, but encouraged.

This.

Yup.

In my neck of the woods not getting smashed at least once a week is almost frowned upon by some incredibly idiotic people, and I'm not in America.

#24 Posted by DystopiaX (5364 posts) -

@SlashDance said:

@JonathanAshleyMoore said:

@skooks said:

Sounds like every bar-street in England. I've seen enough people in their thirties and up do the things you described. I don't think it has anything to do with younger people not being able to tolerate strong drinks, just more to do with a culture where getting absolutely shit-faced is not only accepted, but encouraged.

This.

Yup.

In my neck of the woods not getting smashed at least once a week is almost frowned upon by some incredibly idiotic people, and I'm not in America.

I'm also not sure the OP knows exactly how much people are drinking here. He seems to assume it's like 2-3 beers (which may be normal in Sweden, idk) but all the dudes I know who drink in college, especially who go to Canada to do it legally, are all about getting shitfaced. So it's all about drinking until you're shitfaced, or past that.

Some of the colleges my former highschool classmates go to drink so often that it's weird if you haven't thrown up 5+ times. Not because people can't hold their liquor or don't know their limits, but because they know their limits and drink more anyway. Throwing up is a (stupid) part of the drinking culture there.

#25 Edited by SomeJerk (3403 posts) -

Sounds like many parties of douchebags in Sweden, but then again the popular thing here is being America Jr. I've evicted a few repeat offenders from my neighbourhood for doing it way too long into the morning hours on a workday.
 
Parties in Sweden have since the 90's been chugging and being unable to hear yourself think. It wasn't my style in my teenage years, not in my 20s, in my 30s I still don't see what's so fun about it. (Parties in the 80's were knullkalas. No joke. Might explain why my city is the chlamydia capital.)
 
Glass of whiskey and a good round-table talk, vinyl on the deck. That's how I party.
 
Usually alone..
 
 
 
e: Pre-party, pre-drink, after-party, after-drink, this happens in Sweden also and ugh. Then the way alcohol works in most peoples brains, either they turn into crybabies or monsters who snap at anything. Now if alcohol was pot, and pot was alcohol, we would all be too chilled out to do anything like being a crybaby or picking fights like alcohol does.. besides the people finding out that pot triggered a latent psychosis..

#26 Posted by dropabombonit (1492 posts) -

Northern Ireland is the worst for this. I'm 21 and a lot of my friends can hold their drinks but other people you see out are the worst. A lot of people in Irish culture like to pre drink before they go out and therefore they are already tipsy before they go out. That is fine if you can hold your drink but a lot of younger people don't know their limits and they are the ones usually starting trouble

#27 Posted by Vonocourt (2168 posts) -

Yeah, in America it's kind of competition on who can imbibe more alcohol. My old manager's threshold for being "drunk" was when he couldn't walk, everything before was buzzed. Or when it comes to girls, the tall list of the drinks they say they can handle before they even "start" to fell buzz...if they're not pissing constantly, they'd be throwing up. Or dead.

So going into drinking with that kind of mentality, can see why it doesn't usually end well.

#28 Posted by Gunner612 (4338 posts) -

In america, when you're 18-20 years old, drinking is sort of taboo. People (especially Americans) like to do things they know they aren't supposed to be doing so when they actually do drink, they go crazy with it. I know as soon as i turned 21 I slowed down a lot and drinking became more of a "im going to have a few beers and mellow out" type of thing and less of a "TONIGHT I'M GOING TO DRINK A FIFTH OF VODKA AND GET FUBAR!" like i did when i was 20.

Its amazing how much more mature people become in a few years.

#29 Posted by TooWalrus (13258 posts) -

Kids overdoing it with liquor isn't exclusively American. I saw it quite a bit when I lived in New Zealand.

Though Americans love to binge. The silly "go big or go home" mentality is strong here, and a lot of idiots don't know when to quit.

#30 Posted by Undeadpool (5003 posts) -

It's been said plenty: but drinking with the sense of rebellion gives it a sort of "ALL-OR-NOTHING! WOOOOOO!" mentality. Cause if you're going to break the law/your parents' rules, you're not gonna do it with two or three drinks, you're gonna get WRECKED.

@TheManiacsGnome said:

Yeah, the short skirts always made me wonder why people were complaining about female video game attire. Shit is getting short, like can't sit down short.

Look up "false equivalency," I think you'll find it enlightening.

#31 Edited by HerbieBug (4208 posts) -

The US drinking age causes more trouble than it helps. That is mostly due to the issue of having post secondary student populations be a mix of those above and those below 21 years old. Whole bunch of hassle for police and campus security right there with no upside.

It is 18 where I live and that seems to work out just fine.

#32 Posted by mellotronrules (1257 posts) -

@HerbieBug said:

The US drinking age causes more trouble than it helps.

for sure. i've never understood the logic behind being legally able to drive, vote, and enlist (and thereby die for one's country) before consuming alcohol. it's strange as hell to me.

#33 Posted by beeftothetaco (426 posts) -

@ajamafalous: Why?

#34 Posted by medacris (674 posts) -

I think when people start drinking should all be left up to personal judgement. Some 18-year-olds can hold their liquor, some people in their 40's can't.

#35 Posted by Bourbon_Warrior (4523 posts) -

@ajamafalous said:

Since everyone else in the thread already handled all the other misconceptions in your post, I'll just add that your suggestion of "drink underage/illegally in private before you become legal so that when you go out to a bar for the first time you know your limit" is completely fucking laughable.

Lol thats so true, I couldn't imagine if I waited till I was 18 to have my 1st drink. I would of been a mess on the town.

#36 Posted by Canteu (2821 posts) -

I read your OP because I'm not a prick, and thus am engaging in the entire point of forum discussion.

I think the 3 year age gap has an impact. I don't drink anymore but, when I did I did my fair share, and man what you're describing seems similar to a lot of "youths" in England. Up north people can generally hold their liquor, but even still your description would hold true for a lot of natives.

It's both a biological and mental/physical conditioning type of thing.

I didn't drink until i was 18 (legal age) but I can't understand these kind of people who have clearly drank before, not understanding their own bodily limits.

Perhaps they enjoy being incredibly sick the next day?

#37 Posted by LTSmash (659 posts) -
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#38 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

I don't remember posting in this thread. Must have been pretty drunk.

#39 Posted by believer258 (12216 posts) -

Because, well

@Raven10 said:

Drinking is different here than in Europe in that it is much more strictly controlled. Remember that this is the country that banned drinking entirely at one point. Because of that culture, drinking for many college age kids here is a form of rebelling and growing up. I'm Jewish and because of my religious background I've been drinking on a weekly basis since before I became a teenager. We weren't allowed to get drunk in our family but no one would deny anyone a beer or glass of wine. Because of that, drinking for my family, and for Jews in the US in general is quite a different experience and closer to that of Europe. Parents here absolutely do not let their kids drink. In Europe the laws are more lax and drinking at family dinners is common even among young teenagers. Because drinking isn't against the rules to you guys then teens don't have nearly as much interest in getting wasted. Teens as a rule like to do exactly what they are not supposed to do. And do that thing not in moderation. So teens and young adults drink because they feel like they are more adult because they do. It makes them feel cool to get entirely wasted. In my culture and in many European cultures drinking isn't seen as a "fuck the man" type of activity. It is here. College kids want to prove they are adults and such so they drink. Frat culture also is often based around drinking and drinking a lot. It is part of the college experience for many people here. Drink until you black out or puke. Feel like a grown up by ruining your health. You know normal kid stuff.

this.

Also:

Are these just a particular brand of collegekid, who never went drinking before? They dont seem the type..

Have you played Far Cry 3? You know how a lot people fucking hate those characters in the introduction? Well, now you know. What you're dealing with here is a brand of spoiled rich kid who came from a culture that doesn't expect him to drink at all until a certain age, and then tells him he can go nuts. But of course he wants to go nuts beforehand and does so, it's a rebellion thing. That's what a huge amount of the people who go to college expect to do all the time - drink, fuck, recover, and do it again. You're just dealing with the well-off ones who can afford to go to a different country every weekend.

...I say you can keep them.

Online
#40 Posted by Zomgfruitbunnies (889 posts) -

You guys think North America's bad? Come on over to Asian and you'll know real bad.

It sucks so bad.

#41 Posted by fiberpay (282 posts) -

Ladies do not listen to him! Keep wearing skirt that don't cover your vagina!

#42 Posted by coakroach (2492 posts) -

Australia has a shit drinking culture too.

Going out here you spend twice as much money on drinks of half the strength and quality that you'd get in Europe, then you get to see dickheads beat the crap out of each and just generally behave like assholes.

#43 Posted by TheManiacsGnome (279 posts) -

@Undeadpool: I meant the ire that was dragged up over the Cyberpunk 2077 trailer, he's talking about night life and in that realm it's pretty common to see the skirts/dresses that just barely cover the cheeks/pelvic region. Perhaps I should have been a bit more clear with what I was saying, I apologize.

Has anyone witnessed or taken part in the joy that is playing Dance Central after having one to many? It's probably/possibly the best thing ever.

#44 Posted by Undeadpool (5003 posts) -

@TheManiacsGnome: Fair dues, and apologies accepted and extended as well. I actually found that trailer to be pretty spectacular, so it IS a little disheartening to see that come up.

And no, I've been mostly into drunk Rock Band. And according to Youtube, it's Tricky's thing too...

#45 Posted by stryker1121 (1592 posts) -

@Theassman: In America we have "Whoooo Girls" more than guys. Like if you're at a club and a song they like comes on, it's all "Whoooo!"

To answer your question, a lot of U.S. kids don't have their first drinking experience until college. Combine the freedom of being away from home for the first time with the "fun" of getting shit-faced, and you have a ton of kids who are testing their limits and often going beyond. I know I fit that description when I was in college.

#46 Posted by Vinny_Says (5721 posts) -

None of that sounds like an american problem. Kids is kids.

#47 Posted by Hunter5024 (5982 posts) -

Honestly I don't think our legal drinking age has any effect on what age kids start drinking, my friends all had their first drink at like 14, and they've seemed to handle their liquor pretty well for the past few years, except this one guy, but he's like a psycho alcoholic so whatever. Maybe you're just being exposed to the worst of it because of the environment you're in. Then again I don't really know what I'm talking about, the most alcohol I ever had was a third of a Corona at a friends funeral, and I actively avoid parties.

#48 Posted by EpicSteve (6499 posts) -

American College girls as a rule cannot handle alcohol for the most part.

#49 Posted by fox01313 (5089 posts) -

Most of the people I know here in the states where I'm at tended to get a better handle on drinking & not being jerks or having less than zero common sense about drinking until late 20s or more. Some people just don't learn what they should when they get hammered early on near high school age to have fun with booze (in the future) without just being stupid about it.

#50 Posted by pakalolobro420 (42 posts) -

kind of long culdnt read man