DRY JULY FINISHED this week and for many people that will have been cause for a drink. Some, who barely made it through a month without alcohol may have ended their abstinence with a bang. Others might have found a month off booze to be a doddle and barely have cause to mark its end.

I raise this, as TikToker @elirallo recently went viral in a post called, ‘The unspoken/universal scale for how intoxicated you’re allowed to be at life events and holidays’, prescribing the appropriate amount of alcoholic drinks for social occasions, such as girls’ night out (7), girls’ night in (9), date night (4— anymore and you’re going to pick a fight, as @ellirallo astutely reasons), international flight (7) and so on.

Now, not wanting to promote irresponsible drinking, it is worth framing this endeavour as more of a stress scale of social anxiety with drinking as the metric, rather than positing that alcohol is an appropriate tonic to help get you through life’s more challenging scenarios. I suppose you could substitute ‘drinks’ for your own metric of choice—if you’re a fitness fiend, say push-ups, burpees or met-cons; if you’re a gamer, I don’t know, perhaps confirmed kills in Call of Duty? Pick your poison, in other words, while being cognisant that these metrics are entirely unsuitable for the exercise at hand. But hey, we had to try.

In honour of the end of Dry July, then, here’s Esquire Australia’s guide to appropriate drinking, whatever the occasion. Using the queen @ellirallo’s scale, zero is sober, 10 is blacked out. As she says, stay safe.

The Hangover 2 (2011) | Warner Brothers

Office Christmas Party: 6.5

While you might be tempted to shoot for inebriation in order to pass time with fellow corporate drones, you do need to have your wits about you. Nobody wants to become the subject of the next day’s water-cooler/Slack gossip–I have been said subject. Trust me, it sucks. Aim for slightly buzzed.

Tinder date: 2

Of course, nerves are spiralling but first impressions count. You need to get an accurate read on your date, one that’s not clouded by alcohol’s aesthetic enhancement properties (read: beer goggles). Ideally, you also want to give your date an accurate representation of who you are. Bonus: If you’re able to stick to two drinks in two hours or more, you have a shot at the mythical ‘sober pash’.

Dating (unmarried, no kids): 4

You’re still trying to impress each other so you want to drink enough to lubricate conversation and encourage physical closeness without either party getting sloppy or vomiting in the gutter. Any more than four then yes, as @ellirallo says, you are liable to pick fights.

Date night (married with children): 10

Who cares if you fight? While you may go into this with the best intentions, your excitement at the prospect of a brief respite from the mayhem of child rearing is likely to make overindulgence inevitable. The aim here is to achieve the kind of biblical hangover that will make the following morning when the kids jump on your bed at 6am feel like a right-hand from Francis Ngannou.

Boys’ night out: 8.5

Let’s face it: If you’re in your early 20s you’re going to hit 10 no matter what excuse your mates might offer going in: “Can’t have a big one tonight, fellas, got footy training in the morning”. Ideally, you want to strive to creep right up to the precipice of debauchery without tipping into it. Tough to pull off, but if dudes start collecting street signs, hit eject.

Boys’ night in: 2

Doesn’t really exist.

Dinner at the in-laws: 2

Play it safe but take your cue from what their old man is doing. If he’s putting them away it would be rude not to join him.

Reddit deep dive: 7

To wade into these murky waters without being at least three sheets to the wind is foolish in the extreme. I’d advocate for 10 but you need to keep your fingers nimble and brain alert to deal with blind attacks from basement dwellers, flat-earthers and conspiracy cranks. Unless, of course, you’re one of these nuts, hence your presence on this platform in the first place. In which case, knock yourself out.

After a break-up: 10

Oblivion calls. Answer that call.

At a wake: 1-8

The variance here is because it depends on whose wake it is and what kind of person the deceased was. If it’s a great aunt, for example, then you’re probably just showing up to pay respects and sample the smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches and maybe a bit of Aunty Eleanor’s trifle. If it was one of those larrikin bon vivants (read: pisshead) that we like to celebrate and mythologise in this country, one who is said by all to have stated many times that when he meets his maker, he wants everyone to get caned in his honour, then you are obliged to acquiesce to his wishes.

Buck’s night: 10

Pretty self-explanatory.

At a sports event: 4

Sports events these days are increasingly family-friendly affairs so it’s not a great look to swear and curse out the ref in front of the kiddies. At the cricket, where you’re drinking light beer in the hot sun all day anyway, it’s more trouble than it’s worth, as you’ll likely just end up going back and forth to the toilets, which will be standing room only with blokes who’ve made the same error.

International flight: 3

Obviously depends on the duration: three from Melbourne to Sydney is practically scandalous but about right for Melbourne to Singapore, keeping in mind pressurised cabin air plus altitude can undercut stamina. You don’t want to be the guy who ends up on TikTok under the caption ‘pissed plane traveller’ for arguing with the flight attendant about being cut-off. Also you don’t want to go to the bathroom more than once, so ease up, big fella.

Birthday bash: 1-10

It’s your night, your rules. You will be centre of attention so if you struggle with that you could find yourself imbibing more than is necessary. Tread carefully.

Round of golf: 2

Confession: I once shot 160 over 18 holes at a course on the GC after trying to keep up with my playing partner who was averaging a beer every two holes. Don’t be me.

First night in an overseas destination: 6

Sure, it’s tempting to use the cloak of anonymity and freedom from responsibilities to chuck it down but a hangover on your first morning in a new country isn’t a great start to a trip. Maybe keep your powder dry for a night 5 blowout.

After a half-marathon/triathlon/adventure race: 7

You do need to replenish fluids and you want to have sufficient beer brio to shit-talk mates that you beat or display the requisite degree of casual smugness about your ability to find that little extra when you were deep inside the pain cave at the 17k-mark. Drink up, stud.

First Friday after the end of Dry July: 2

Congrats, you learned you didn’t actually need alcohol to cope with life’s travails, after all. You can drink without needing to drink. Stopping at a couple is easy for you now. You are the master of your domain. You almost weep for there are no more worlds to conquer.


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