Never trust a man who doesn't drink

Old Australian adage

Australia has a long history of binge drinking. It is part of our beer drinking culture.. Australians have also long reviled the wowser. "I don't trust anyone who doesn't get drunk," a well known female singer once told me. And I understood what she meant. 

Too young to be dying for a drink, Sydney Morning Herald, September 21 2002

The [Australian] community encourages drinking to the point of addiction... it goes without saying that most leisure pursuits are accompanied by compulsive drinking, few would think of going to the cricket, football or tennis without an Esky full of cold cans and fewer would go yachting or picnicking without a trusty supply. For many, leisure equals drinking. 

Jonathan King, Waltzing Materalism, 1976

You can't cut the mustard in the Australian Bush if you can't put a beer down

John Anderson, Leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister after skulling a beer for the TV, Stateline, 20 October 2001

In Australian culture, and especially australian male culture, there is a very strong pressure to join into a group of drinkers.  People who advise that you need not confirm to this expectation ('You can just have a coke') do not share this culture.  They do not understand that it is neigh impossible to sit with a group of mates and not share in the rituals of mateship. Should you attempt to do so, one or more of the following things will happen:

The kind of verbal strategy adopted depend on the context. Cries may include:

Should you have no reasonable excuse for your continued abstinence, then, to be brutally honest, it is unlikely that you will ever truly be considered a mate. You are weird. And you are not Australian.  And this has long been the culture:

One of the men didn't drink strong liquor or spirits and he was called a "molly-coddle", "girle" and half a dozen such names until Private McClure put a stop to it. "Leave the kid alone, if he doesn't drink what's that got to do with us?"

Private Humphreys, Age 19, Leaving Sydney on the Karoola for Gallipoli, 16 June 1915

What could be more normal in Australian male society than to celebrate a promotion with a booze up?... The navy is in the firing line over Gurr's death. But the 20-year-old lived in a country that excuses, condones, and even encourages young people's excessive drinking. It's cool to "get wasted". 

Too young to be dying for a drink, Sydney Morning Herald, September 21 2002

David Crosbie, chief executive of Odyssey House, says peer group pressure is another strong influence. "If you go out and there's 10 of you in a group and you're all drinking, then you're all sharing something together," he says. And that in turn could be awkward, and alienating, for someone who chose not to drink. "Certainly there isincredible pressure on people to enter into the spirit, to be part of it," he says. In fact, it is so entrenched in the culture that to not drink almost calls into question a person's "Australian-ness".

Binge drinking a consuming passion for young, The Age, 27 November 2004

A person who does not participate or unreasonably stops participating is known as a piker.  A piker, by definition, pikes. That generally isn't a good thing, but the term can be used by way of explanation,   'Sorry mate, gotta pike on ya. Got me oldies coming over this arvie for a barbie. Shocker eh'.

It should be noted that while you are expected to drink, you are not expected the act drunk. If you get drunk quickly, you are known as a two pot screamer or simply a screamer, and I quote from a digger in the fine Embassy pub in Brisbane on Anzac day 1999:

Digger 1 (60+): Where are we going to go when this pub closes? We've been drinking here for 30 years!
Digger 2 (80+): Not sure mate. I had a look at the Criterion the other day.    There was this mob a sheilas. Bunch a screamers.

Sadly, the Embassy has been destroyed and we have no idea where the diggers are now drinking.  

As stated by the Australian newspaper (19 September 1973):

If one has the ability to drink oneself into an alcoholic stupor without falling flat on one's face in front of one's mates, one apparently has then achieved the true blue hallmark of excellence of today's dinki-di Aussie.

For rightly or wrongly, this is strongly entrenched:

For a significant number of Australian males to have a crashing hangover is to be respected, to be able to drink vast quantities well beyond the call of thirst is commendable, to 'chunder' this unnecessary liquid is hilarious, and to collapse paralytic on the floor from intoxication is magnificent. If conditions allow a fight then the ultimate plane has been reached. It is all part of the ocker syndrome and heavy drinking is much more important than sexual prowess. 

Drinking is deeply important to Australians... It is only by drinking that you can prove your manhood in Australia. If you are not man enough to drink with the boys until you are drunk then in Australian terms you are probably a 'bloody poofta'. 

Jonathan King, Waltzing Materalism, 1976

In a less formal context, to be in an alcoholic stupor is more commonly known as to be mute, flogged, maggoted, shitfaced, off one's nut, plastered or pissed as a newt.   

Take a break from drinking like the author of this article did - Read why and how in his book Between Drinks: Escape the Routine, Take Control and Join the Clear Thinkers