American, and German Drinking.
First off often times when I compare the two, generally one comes out negative. It varies on the topic at hand however either way I get blasted by people going “How do you believe you’re so qualified to write, or speak of such topics” And here is my reason for this. I’m German/American. I’m straight down the middle I’ve seen the American way, the German way and the combo. I live in Germany at a time in my life where I can drink and can view at the same time Germans, and Americans drinking and their behaviors at the same time. On top of all of this I’m intelligent enough to make the comparison of my observations. So before anyone of either side questions my “capabilities” to review and discuss such topics remember I’ve seen both sides, more so then the other side has seen either side.
In the area I live there is roughly 55,000 Americans, and no true number on Germans but considering the vast amount of cities, and towns I’m bringing into scope here saying 1,000,000 Germans is not unthinkable. For one city has almost 400,000 people living in its limits alone. Now lets assume for the sake of argument the ratio for both going out are the same, which I’m sure it is and lets put that number at 10% so 5,500 Americans go out, and 100,000 Germans go out on the weekend to drink and party.
Now before we go on to other facts how about we first look at the cultures and their attitude towards the drinking. Which are vastly different? In Germany it is not uncommon to start drinking at age 13, by age 15 chances are your becoming a regular at it and 16 you’re officially of legal age to drink beer and wine. Although few people pay attention to that law and drink whatever they feel like at the time. In fact it is often side “Old enough to see across the bar, old enough for a beer” so the attiude towards drinking is extremely laid back. Now, generally even before 13 you’ve had your fair share of glasses of wine, a bottle or two of beer here and there. Maybe even some harder liquor as a shot after you finished a meal at a restaurant. By this time your already somewhat used to alcohol. Now you generally learn to drink (yes there is a way to do it) by someone you’ve known for a long time, someone who knows what they are doing. So you learn the ropes from them, such critical things of control the flow such as taking a shot and waiting a few minutes, maybe snipping on a beer for this time period or being active such as playing pool or darts. Then after this time period get another, and when you start getting tipsy slow down and enjoy yourself. Generally that is what the average German is going for being tipsy that is. However of course they are the times where you just plan want to go out and get drunk party and have a great time and not tipsy. Even then because you’ve been doing this for such a long time you have a sufficient amount of self control over yourself even when drunk. Now before anyone bashes me with the quote “When you’re drunk you do stuff you wouldn’t do when your sober” well no **** Sherlock, however it is how much self control you have, how much you maintain. Sure anyone’s ambition will be lowered when drunk and they will more quickly do something without thinking, but to the degree is the key.
Now onto the American way which in most states (there are expectations) drinking age is 21 years of age. Although this rarely has a major impact on the ones that want to drink regardless. But either way such a high age limit naturally puts the alcohol subject in taboo world. When something is in taboo world it does not mean it is not occurring, sex in America (as in actual intercourse) is far more taboo then other countries such as Germany, yet to claim that it does not happen is crazy. So now since its taboo naturally there is not as much information about it, so people have to figure out it out by themselves. Then as anyone can tell you drinking alcohol is like firing a gun, it can kill you, others, or both. And as any gun owner would tell you trying to figure out how to use a gun without some form of instruction is reckless and stupid and could easily lead to you killing others, killing your self or both. Same goes for drinking. So now back onto the topic of drinking being taboo, since it is taboo often times the people who are with you when you first get drunk or often times are your peers and just as inexperienced as you in the drinking of alcohol and teach you the wrong ways as in “Why take a shot and wait 20 minutes, take a shot and then take 5 more within that 20 minutes” trust me I’ve seen this played over and over again. So you get stupid drunk and get into fights and have very little self control for since its taboo, and your drinking recklessly it’s a item to let go of everything toss it out in the window and go have a ball, well until the cop is reading you your rights as blood runs down your face from the bar fight cause you thought it was going be a good idea.
Now as in described in the above paragraphs Germans generally have more self control, because it is not taboo and they are used to it, therefore know how to handle the alcohol. Therefore let’s toss you some examples. You’re in a club partying having a good time you bump into a man and spill his drink, what does he do? In my experience depends on the person. If it is a German the response generally will be “that’s ok, just buy me another round” in fact you buy them a round, including yourself do the round get to know them and the incident could make you a extra friend. Funny thing is one of my better drinking buddy we met this way. Now you knock into an American and the result can vary drastically. They may be nice about it or rude to down right fighting mode. Then the chances of you becoming good friends with them are slim, over spilt liquid. The reason, their self control is not as great as a Germans is the fact that Americans are not used to drinking alcohol in a fun social-able manner.
Now lets go back to those numbers, every Monday my paper has a page dedicated to this weekends illegal incidents, the military has no worries about publishing ones misdeeds in order to teach them a lesson about reasonability. In my experience of reading those sections rarely do I find the words “Local national” or “German” often times I see the word “Fight” “American GI” “Solider” “Airman” “Private”, now it may surprise you but those terms mainly the last 4 terms aren’t referring to Germans. They are referring to Americans, and they are the majority of the problem. Even though they are the minority out partying
Now generally around this type of argument (if I’m in it with a English speaker) he goes “But you only see one side” Earlier in the paper I stated I am a German/American so I get the German side, I watch the German news, read the German news as well etc. I am also very good friends with local bartenders and owners of clubs etc. Often times we end up discussing the latest fights, and other incidents which occurred. Typically a German was not even involved, and when they are they generally are not the ones which caused the problem, or escalated it to the point it reached. In fact more Americans cause more hassle for the local authorities then the Germans, and there’s over 90,000 more Germans then Americans on the streets on the weekend. This all goes to say something about Americans in general, and as an American I’m ashamed of that fact. Americans are far more irresponsible about drinking then Europeans.
So now your going “Ok captain obvious what is next, how do we solve it?” well I’ll tell you what’s next, take the alcohol subject and squash it. Do what Germany does, why not allow drinking at 18? Hell how about we make 16 the legal drinking age. Maybe even say that if occupied by an adult a kid of 13 can drink. What would this do to cruve the drinking problem? Well that is a simple question to answer.
Kids will not be binge drinking as much they will not care too. For when I was a young lad growing up (still am a young lad in fact) I often times would drink several beers in a night when I’m at home. When I would go out, not only would be I used to the alcohol, but I would also be used to consuming it and controlling it therefore I rarely got into much trouble. Sure we all have our moments, but I had far less then what a typical American would have. The reason being I was bought up drinking. Therefore if you take the tabooness out of alcohol it is no longer attractive to drink until your drop and some. For what rebel against something that no one cares if you rebel. Want to go to the pub? Go to the pub, enjoy yourself. Get used to drinking and enjoy it, be responsible.
Therefore in final conclusion, Americans biggest drinking problem has nothing to do with anything besides the government’s ability to make it so damn attractive. To make it an “Adult” thing to do, to make a past time as old as man taboo to make it seem as something special makes kids desire it so much when they get the chance they go all the way, right into the ER with a stomach pump. That is the reason why Americans are so irresponsible when it comes to drinking.