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Drinking Liquor

histronichistronic Registered User regular
edited March 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey guys, this is a pretty weird question but I recently turned 21 and I can't for the life of me drink straight liquor. Does this come with more age or do I just need to keep doing it until I acquire a taste for it? Are there intermediates I should take? I love the taste of beer and I can drink most mixed drinks just fine, but when I try to be classy and drink a straight liquor on the rocks I almost throw up at the taste. Any input would be great. Thanks in advance!

Edit: If it helps the liquors that I've tried that have made me gag so far have been a 12 year aged Bacardi rum, Crown Royal, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, and Grey Goose vodka.

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Posts

  • korrianderkorriander Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Its taken me a couple years since I turned 21 to be able to drink liquor, and I still can't say I like the taste, really. Start with fruity mixed drinks or something, then gradually increase the amount of alcohol to juices or soda. You'll get the hang of it!

    korriander on
  • CrayonCrayon Sleeps in the wrong bed. TejasRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    histronic wrote: »
    Hey guys, this is a pretty weird question but I recently turned 21 and I can't for the life of me drink straight liquor. Does this come with more age or do I just need to keep doing it until I acquire a taste for it? Are there intermediates I should take? I love the taste of beer and I can drink most mixed drinks just fine, but when I try to be classy and drink a straight liquor on the rocks I almost throw up at the taste. Any input would be great. Thanks in advance!

    Edit: If it helps the liquors that I've tried that have made me gag so far have been a 12 year aged Bacardi rum, Crown Royal, Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, and Grey Goose vodka.

    Everything you just listed are mixing liquors in their chosen category (that being rum, canadian whiskey, bourbon, Tennessee whiskey and vodka). Vodka is just vodka, it's better chilled if you're drinking it on the rocks...but I wouldn't recommend it even then. There is little to no difference in bottom shelf vodka and top shelf vodka, it's all the same with very little deviation.

    To get a true sipping whiskey you have to invest in something that actually has some love behind it; namely stuff like Knob Creek, Maker's Mark and if you can find it-Pappy Van Winkle.

    If you want some decent rum on the rocks try Mount Gay as it's probably the best.

    Crayon on
  • TopiaTopia Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    That's really weird, here people usually start with hard liquor and work their way into beer.

    So I can assume it's only the same situation, and you'll just have to learn to like it, much the way that beer is an acquired taste.

    Topia on
  • VivixenneVivixenne Remember your training, and we'll get through this just fine. Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    if you don't like straight liquor, don't drink it

    there isn't a giant floating rulebook out there that says the proper way to enjoy alcohol is by drinking liquor straight

    if you really WANT to like it, then I guess you just have to get used to the taste and the hit... just make sure you are drinking quality liquor and having it the way you like it (neat, on the rocks, with a twist, etc)

    Vivixenne on
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  • JansonJanson Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Vivixenne wrote: »
    if you don't like straight liquor, don't drink it

    there isn't a giant floating rulebook out there that says the proper way to enjoy alcohol is by drinking liquor straight

    This.

    Also, as it's been pointed out, those are really all mixing liquers. And you don't have to reach for a girly cocktail if that'd embarrass you; I doubt anyone's going to sniff if you drink, say, a bacardi or JD and coke.

    (Incidentally I don't even like the expensive whiskeys that are meant to be drunk straight; but that's okay, it saves me money!)

    If you want to drink it straight, swallow it without letting it swill in your mouth at all - I find that's the best way.

    Janson on
  • embrikembrik Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Vivixenne wrote: »
    if you don't like straight liquor, don't drink it

    there isn't a giant floating rulebook out there that says the proper way to enjoy alcohol is by drinking liquor straight

    if you really WANT to like it, then I guess you just have to get used to the taste and the hit... just make sure you are drinking quality liquor and having it the way you like it (neat, on the rocks, with a twist, etc)

    There's your answer.

    Have you tried any good gin yet, btw? I don't like most things straight, but gin is something I loved even early on. For something on ice, try Hendricks, Citadelle, or Bombay Sapphire.

    embrik on
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  • xa52xa52 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    You could just not drink it. Drinking hard liquor doesn't make you "classy." It doesn't impress the ladies. It will likely make a girl think you a) are an up and coming alcoholic, b) remind them of their creepy old uncle who drinks scotch and yells at the tv every thanksgiving, or c) are pathetically trying to impress them. That may not be fair, but that doesn't change the fact that it's pointless to train yourself to drink liquor for your stated reason.

    Personally, I think a little vodka goes well with strong tasting foods- hard cheeses, cured meats, olives, etc. I can enjoy a small glass of scotch (single malt, little bit of water) in the company of friends who are doing the same. (I learned the a, b and c above when I took my new-found taste out of that setting.) I agree with you that other kinds of liquor are horrible straight. You should be open to new things, but don't go out of your way to force yourself to enjoy something you don't naturally like. You already enjoy beer, so it's not like you've got nothing to drink at a bar.

    xa52 on
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  • VivixenneVivixenne Remember your training, and we'll get through this just fine. Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I've found the best way to adjust to the taste of gin is to start off with a gin and tonic with lime, and then ease out the tonic (i.e., reducing the amount of tonic being added) and then easing out the taste of the lime until all you need is a twist, if that

    I would imagine it would work well for most other liquors the OP is interested in, just note that as far rum and vodka go, those are hardly ever had straight, and if you want to do scotch straight, do it right by picking a good one

    still, I know plenty of people who stick to mixed drinks and beer and don't bother with the straight stuff

    just sayin'

    Vivixenne on
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  • JohannenJohannen Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Drink whatever you want to drink, you shouldn't be trying to "progress" to a "classier" type of drink.

    There are no classy drinks, and drunk is drunk if that's what you're going for. Drinking in moderation and not getting yourself blitzed for the sake of attempting to force yourself into being able to drink something is also a good way to drink.

    Johannen on
  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Don't stress. It's an acquired taste that develops with time. If you're friends are down for it, find a bar that makes traditional cocktails really well. Go every once in a while and try something new every time. There's a lot of stuff to taste out there. When I was 21, it was beer and simple mixed stuff. Now a few years later I pay way too much for stuff that tastes like a swamp. But I love it.

    Anyway, some suggestions for good cocktails:
    -Sidecar
    -Old Fashioned
    -Manhattan
    -Whiskey Sour
    -Pisco Sour
    -Cock and Amaretto (barely any booze in it, but good god it's the most delicious thing. ever.)
    -Mint Julip
    -Long Island Iced Tea (but just one. ever.)
    -Gin and Tonic

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  • QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Liquor's generally an acquired taste. If you do want to develop a taste for it just drink what you want on a regular basis. Sooner or later over time the taste won't bug you as much.

    Quid on
  • DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
    edited March 2009
    I don't do shots and rarely drink straight Liquor, but most of my favorite alcoholic beverages are mixed drinks. Jack&Coke, Long Islands and of course Gin&Tonic.

    Unknown User on
  • EggyToastEggyToast Jersey CityRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The only thing I drink straight is premium tequila -- anejos and reposadas that typically sell for such a price that putting them in something like OJ would be a travesty. Even then, they're to be sipped. Straight liquor is hardly the kind of thing to whet an appetite -- you sip lightly, enjoy the taste, and then sip a little more later.

    Many people who "start" with hard liquor typically do so via shots. A shot is not classy nor a good use of alcohol -- it's only purpose is to get drunk.

    But as has been pointed out above, drinking is about enjoying the flavor -- not about "bein' classy," and it's not even really about getting drunk. To me, the feeling is more a pleasant side effect of a delicious beverage. If you like beer, drink beer. If you like mixed drinks, great. As xa said, drinking straight booze typically just tells people "I want to get drunk as soon as possible, or try to impress people." There are a couple forumers who are into the single malt stuff, but IMO enjoying high price alcohol is best done almost ritualistically -- a small amount, sipped over a relatively long period of time, that ultimately doesn't even get you that drunk. And because being encouraged to chug it down would be a waste, it sometimes doesn't even come out at parties -- because you don't want to get distracted and end up wasting it. Or something. The reason my good tequila doesn't come out at parties is I don't want jackoffs doing shots with it.

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  • GafotoGafoto Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Vivixenne wrote: »
    if you don't like straight liquor, don't drink it

    there isn't a giant floating rulebook out there that says the proper way to enjoy alcohol is by drinking liquor straight

    This. Some liquors are actually much better mixed (in my opinion). I'll take a good rum and coke any day over a glass of straight rum.

    Gafoto on
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  • CrayonCrayon Sleeps in the wrong bed. TejasRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    xa52 wrote: »
    You could just not drink it. Drinking hard liquor doesn't make you "classy." It doesn't impress the ladies. It will likely make a girl think you a) are an up and coming alcoholic, b) remind them of their creepy old uncle who drinks scotch and yells at the tv every thanksgiving, or c) are pathetically trying to impress them. That may not be fair, but that doesn't change the fact that it's pointless to train yourself to drink liquor for your stated reason.

    This is so wrong it hurts. Not only is this a terrible opinion to have, but I have never experienced any of the above by drinking three fingers of whiskey in a bar. No woman I've ever been with in my entire life has been turned off by the fact that I drink my whiskey neat or on the rocks.

    pffft, and it totally makes you classy 8-)

    Crayon on
  • illigillig Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    honestly, i acquired the taste for liquor over a few years.... it took a while after turning 21 for my mindset to change from "holy shit lets get smashed right fucking now", to "let's slowly drink a quality liquor, enjoying its complex flavor, and alcohol content"

    same with the more flavorful (and often expensive) beers...

    illig on
  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2009
    You don't have to drink straight hard liquor. If you want to it's kind of an acquired taste. Small sips and swishing, and trying different kinds are the way to acquire the taste.

    ViolentChemistry on
  • CrayonCrayon Sleeps in the wrong bed. TejasRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    And the glass most certainly matters, especially for bourbon/scotch and beer. For bourbon an old fashioned glass is preferable. What really "unlocks" a lot of the subtle flavors is a few drops of good water (r.o, anything not tap or spring really) and a few drops of ice, I always drop 3 to 5. You don't want too many ice cubes honestly.

    Trust me, it helps a lot.

    Crayon on
  • Uncle LongUncle Long Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Inhale briefly before you sip. Sip. Exhale a long breath. Gets those fumes out.

    Really though, it's not easy to just start drinking liquor straight, or even enjoying it. But, believe me, with time it will come if you really want it to.

    Uncle Long on
  • Post BluePost Blue Redmond, WARegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Pendleton.

    Post Blue on
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  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you found the whiskey anywhere near tolerable, you might try a Jameson on the rocks. It has a much smoother flavor than the ones you've tried (Jack is particular is not generally a sipping whiskey) and it won't rape your wallet to try it.

    I can't stand rum and find vodka to be comically pointless as anything but "let's fill this X with alcohol," so it's not as if being "able" to drink hard liquor means emptying your alcohol cabinet into glasses half-full of ice.

    admanb on
  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I had my first gin and my first whisky this year, and I'm 10 years out of college. Could never stand any of the hard stuff.

    I'd definietly try gin, as it was somewhere between vodka and whisky in smoothness. I also found tequila (Patron) to be enjoyable. A Gin & Tonic is excellent. Mixing lime with any clear liquor is also a good choice too.

    MichaelLC on
  • THEPAIN73THEPAIN73 Shiny. Real shiny.Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    What would you guys say is the best mix for jack & coke?

    I always seem to add too little or too much of one thing.

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  • ThawmusThawmus +Jackface Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    THEPAIN73 wrote: »
    What would you guys say is the best mix for jack & coke?

    I always seem to add too little or too much of one thing.

    I wasn't aware you could really screw up a Jack and Coke, honestly.

    Fill up a glass with coke, and add Jack until you can taste it. Then just increase the Jack if you want more.

    The worst that can happen is that you drink Coke.

    Thawmus on
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  • NotASenatorNotASenator Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Thawmus, that is a quality post.


    WRT the op, throwing up is decidedly not classy.

    NotASenator on
  • blakfeldblakfeld Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Jack and coke, I think, its one part jack, two parts coke.

    blakfeld on
  • IrohIroh Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Why liquor, exactly?

    I can't stand it either, so I just don't drink it. I like beer a hell of a lot more, and there are more than enough varieties out there to keep trying new things without ever needing to drink liquor.

    Iroh on
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  • ViolentChemistryViolentChemistry __BANNED USERS regular
    edited March 2009
    blakfeld wrote: »
    Jack and coke, I think, its one part jack, two parts coke.

    Your bar is ripping you off.

    ViolentChemistry on
  • CoJoeTheLawyerCoJoeTheLawyer Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    admanb wrote: »
    If you found the whiskey anywhere near tolerable, you might try a Jameson on the rocks. It has a much smoother flavor than the ones you've tried (Jack is particular is not generally a sipping whiskey) and it won't rape your wallet to try it.

    While I agree with everyone else that if you don't like the hard liquor, don't drink it, this is a good starting point for learning to love the hard stuff. Jameson is very smooth, but affordable. Buy a bottle and practice at home to determine if you like it or not before trying it in public.

    With regards to the Jack & Coke question, I always went by the mantra that it's 1 shot (or tip, if you perfer) Jack for every 4 oz. of Coke. So in an 8 oz. glass, you should get 2 shots of Jack. But then again, I like my Jack & Cokes a little stronger than most.

    CoJoeTheLawyer on

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  • Evil_ReaverEvil_Reaver Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Man, I'm 26 and I'm still adjusting to the taste of straight liquor. I've been a beer guy since forever but I have been trying out different kinds of scotch as of late. Glenfiddich 15 or 18 and Johnnie Walker Black are pretty tasty neat or on the rocks. I still make the "liquor face" when I drink it but I'm learning to like it and am starting to appreciate the subtleties of the drinks.

    I think your biggest problem is that the spirits you listed in the OP are all for mixing in with drinks, not drinking neat or on the rocks. Scotch, whisky/ey, bourbon, and tequila are really the only drinks you should have without mixers.

    Of course, I think your other biggest problem is giving a shit about what other people think about your drink the first place...

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  • SarcastroSarcastro Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Never drank much to impress, though I can certainly hold my own. I just don't like most liquors, preferring the sweeter ones; brandy, cognac, port, icewines, etc. Sipping a snifter of Benedictine and Brandy after a large meal is fantastic.

    That being said, I'll take a rum and coke here and there, and occasionally a martini. Someone said theres no difference beteen bottom and top shelf vodka, but I find that to be untrue. You can buy little tiny bottles of vodka up at most any liquor store counter, and I would say grab a few different ones, from potato rot to Belvedere, and try them out side by side (water between shots).

    Blue-bin vodka tastes more like straight ethanol and has an almost gasoline like aftertaste. The nasty clings for a while. As you go up in price, the aftertaste starts to clean up and eventually is almost gone (a clean finsih, as it were), meanwhile the taste itself begins to have more flavour and tastes a bit sweeter. Some middle road vodkas, SkYY for example, mimics the taste and finish of Grey Goose, though not quite as well for two thirds of the price. There are other brands that do the same, so find what you prefer and see if theres a close alternative.

    Personally, I don't go in for 'manly' drinks. I will look the waitress, bartender, beerbucket girl or whomever right in the eye and tell them I want something sweet and girly. I usually get a drink and a smile at that point. I can only think of a handful of times anybodys been like, 'whatcha drinkin?' and I usually point at my breezer or lemon Ice, and say 'the hard stuff'. Invariably, I get asked by the same to do shots. Which can be fun. But I can't say I prefer them.

    Sarcastro on
  • DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you're interested in trying scotch and straight liquor makes you wince, definitely start out with the Highland or Speyside distilleries (such as Oban or Macallan). Do not go for the Islay distilleries or you will cry like Ralph Wiggem; I do love me some ultra-peaty Lagavulin, but to the undeveloped tastebuds it may come off as medicinal.

    If you like beer but not spirits, then why not develop your taste for it and be the beer snob? And if you're a "beer guy" and you only drink miller/bud/coors lite then you've been missing a lot. It's certainly an impressive beverage engineering feat to produce billions of barrels of beer a year that has a consistent flavor profile, but the american light lager doesn't really have much in the way of taste. A lot of self-stlyed beer guys have never left the land of Lagers and Pilsners but there's so much more. If you want beer with more kick look into Belgiam trappist style ales (dubbels, tripels, quadrupels even), or Barleywines, or IPa's and double IPA's.

    Djeet on
  • LaPuzzaLaPuzza Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    1) Don't feel like you need to like it.

    2) Ignoring #1, you need a drinking buddy. Lots of people don't like whiskey. However, I had my first real whiskey drinking experience with a friend that loves the stuff. I learned to smell and then taste, making it anenjoyable game for the two of us, seeing if I could describe the type of bitterness or exact fruit hiding in the complex flavors. I also tasted a few things, getting exposed to salty, sweet, and smokey along the way. That's the way you enjoy hard liquor.

    LaPuzza on
  • QuidQuid Definitely not a banana Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Also of note, you're probably not going to like everything so don't be too concerned if you're immediately nauseus at the taste of some liquors. Almost everyone has at least one liquor they absolutely can not abide.

    Quid on
  • Post BluePost Blue Redmond, WARegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    blakfeld wrote: »
    Jack and coke, I think, its one part jack, two parts coke.

    Your bar is ripping you off.
    Indeed. I'm not sure how you do it, Violent Chemistry, but I like a short glass with plenty of ice, two full shots of Jack, and just enough coke to top it off and give it a nice brown tint.

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  • FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    I'm also going to jump on the "stick to what you like" bandwagon.

    I'm 25 and drink primarily beer. I enjoy drinking beer. Mind you, I can no longer actually get drunk off beer before I'm simply full.. but that shouldn't really be your motivation to drink when you go out.

    I also cannot drink straight liquor, and even mixed drinks are revolting to me. I don't mind the occaisonal frozen drink, girly or no--I even make them at home sometimes.

    Shots? Not a chance. I'll either spit it out or gag it back up. Not gonna happen. Sure, I catch shit from my buddies sometimes when they all wanna do a shot and I won't do one.. but your better friends aren't going to hold anything against you for not drinking something you really don't enjoy.

    Besides, there are enough fantastic beers out there that you don't have to even bother dabbling in nasty boozes.

    Figgy on
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  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Post Blue wrote: »
    Your bar is ripping you off.
    Indeed. I'm not sure how you do it, Violent Chemistry, but I like a short glass with plenty of ice, two full shots of Jack, and just enough coke to top it off and give it a nice brown tint.

    That's mine as well.

    I think of anything else as the college mix.

    admanb on
  • FiggyFiggy Fighter of the night man Champion of the sunRegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    admanb wrote: »
    Post Blue wrote: »
    Your bar is ripping you off.
    Indeed. I'm not sure how you do it, Violent Chemistry, but I like a short glass with plenty of ice, two full shots of Jack, and just enough coke to top it off and give it a nice brown tint.

    That's mine as well.

    I think of anything else as the college mix.

    But you're not going to get that mix in a bar.. unless you order a double shot of jack and top it with coke.

    If you order a "jack and coke" in any run-of-the-mill bar, you'll get a squirt of cheap-ass vodka from the house and then the rest coke. Ice? Whatever lands in the glass, my friend.

    Figgy on
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  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Figgy wrote: »
    But you're not going to get that mix in a bar.. unless you order a double shot of jack and top it with coke.

    If you order a "jack and coke" in any run-of-the-mill bar, you'll get a squirt of cheap-ass vodka from the house and then the rest coke. Ice? Whatever lands in the glass, my friend.

    ... you need to find some better bars.

    admanb on
  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Ha! there's so much in this board I want to mark red, some I want to lime, and some I want to mark parts lime and parts red.

    Here's how it breaks down:

    1. It's a matter of taste. Which means a few things: you will have to develop a taste for any kind of liquor, liking one kind of liquor does not mean you will like other kinds, as your tastes become refined you'll prefer certain brands, and taking new drink suggestions is good, but don't think you have to adhere to anyone else's preferences.

    2. More expensive liquor generally tastes better. This of course is within the limitations of any type of liquor. Knob Creek tastes better than Jim Beam. Beefeater tastes better than Seagrams gin. Macallan tastes better than Glenlivit. Also, better (usually more expensive) alcohol doesn't give you hangovers. Finally, there are exceptions. Svedka is a wonderfully cheap vodka but is also decent.

    3. The best way to learn is to drink with someone who knows. Perfect Bourbon Manhattan's are my family drink and I've known how to make them since I was a kid. My college roommate (and his lush parents) did a good deal to get me into gin, and my uncle sealed the deal with his love of beefeater martinis.

    4. It never hurts to try new things. I got into Tequila and Mezcals on a whim and it was the peatyness of those that led me to really start to appreciate good scotch.

    5. Drinking straight liquor can make you look classy. It can also make you look like a tool if you're a dick about it. The more specific your preferences, the classier you can look, but don't order a complicated cocktail in a packed bar or you're likely to piss off the bartender and probably get a shitty drink.

    6. Always in moderation. Straight liquor willl, of course, get you drunk faster if you're not careful. My favorite drunk moment story is of a lazy summer Saturday.
    I had gotten out of a matinee with my girlfriend. She had to go prepare her apt for a party that evening. As it was around 3:30, I decided to stop in at a bar owned by a friend. I knew the bartender working that afternoon and he knew how to make drinks just like i liked them. A few dry martini's later the bartender and I decided we should order food and it would be best if I switched to gin and tonic until the food arrived. I vaguely recall leaving shortly after we ate and hopping onto the subway. As it had been a long afternoon of drinking I naturally felt inclined to doze on the train. Unfortunately, I only awoke from my little nap a stop past mine. In a panic, I forgot my girlfriend was not actually with me and grabbed an arm belonging to the girl sitting next to me as I turned to face her and yell "we've gotta get off!" The embarassment I felt was only matched by the terror on this strange girl's face at having some random guy grab her and tell her to get off the train. As I gave a sheepish look and managed to rush out the doors as quickly as possibly, I couldn't help but think "that would be so awkward if this was actually her stop."

    oldsak on
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