That Age-Old American Stereotype is Withering
Falsehood number one: America is prudish about drinking while the rest of the world finds it perfectly normal to get so blotto that they end up punching a fist through some drywall and waking up next to a trollop named Tammy who smokes menthols. This is the typical line that you hear from foreigners time and again. Ms. Mimi in New York, a British journalist-come-stripper, echoes that sentiment:
"America - It's OK to get drunk. It's OK to have casual sex with some arsehole you wouldn't even let lick your shoes in the morning. It's OK to get so fucked up you fall asleep on the toilet. That's living sweetie. It's fine to fall in a bush and laugh about it the next day. Tell your colleagues. It doesn't mean you can't do your job, you're less of a person, you're not 'marriageable' material. It means you need to get a fucking promotion. Anyone who can drink with me and make it into work at 9am deserves a better job. This country needs to loosen up a little."But my anecdotal evidence tells me we have loosened up.
American culture shifted some time in the 1990s and 2000s. I meet more and more people that are interested in the Art of Drinking than I ever remember. That lurking taboo against going out and getting stanko is hanging on a thread, people. In fact, A & E's popular reality show, Intervention, a program that films real life substance abuse interventions, has yet---to my knowledge---to have a single episode about an alcoholic. That's because over-drinking in itself (without driving) is hardly considered a problem anymore.
The only drinking survey I could find online was this one from 1999, which says that, "The percentage of the American population drinking alcoholic beverages has fluctuated greatly over the past 60 years, ranging between 55% and 71%. In Gallup Poll's most recent survey on this issue ... 64% of the adult population said they had taken an opportunity to drink." I'd be willing to bet that in 2006 we're closer to the 75% range.
Folks, we can now declare that drinking is no longer bad. Fucking finally. Let the world be fair-warned that the USA is no longer a country of prudes and stuffed shirts. We've stepped into the fray to get wasted just as diligently as any Brit or German out there.