By Zachary Tang
Often times when we hear the word ‘alcohol’, we instantly associate it with drunken brawling, disconcerted slurring and many other relatively embarassing instances that we won't want to be engraved on our epitaphs. Then again, as much as we tend to regret the half-witted message to the ex or psychotic dances we’ve done under the influence, as long as nothing life-threatening took place, those stupid things also happen to be extremely fun and memorable too – especially for the friends witnessing our asinine antics.
When I noticed Chivas' Here's to Real Friends campaign, I can't help but muse in a little throwback to years of yore when good times were fueled with some good ol' botlle of the brand's whisky. I was from an all-boy’s school back in my secondary school days (man, how long ago was that?) and like everyone else who’s ever had the fortune of going through school life able to do disgusting boy stuff away from the scrutiny of our female counterparts, I immensely enjoyed it. My first major run-in with alcohol took place the night that O-levels ended; days of endless mugging were over (or so I thought) and a group of classmates and I convened at a run-down chalet, which was, like, the cool thing to do at that age, man. We brought tons of booze and for that one night, we all forgot our troubles of not being able to solve half the A-math questions and everyone drank. Everyone. The smartest kid, the nerdiest kid, the most-bullied kid, we all set apart differences and drank like brothers.
Naturally, things started happening that we now still laugh back fondly at. Someone walked into a glass door and collapsed on the floor, best friends were dared to kiss each other and did, someone peed into a basin containing someone else’s vomit, I called up my then-girlfriend at four in the morning to talk about life… The list goes on. But the thing is, in the midst of all that chaos, we somehow managed to have important conversations about growing up, insecurities, love, family, brotherhood and other coming of age mysteries. We opened up to anyone willing to listen. So, drunken rampages aren’t all that we remember of the night. The things we did or said as uninhibited individuals played a part in shaping our perceptions of each other and just seeing friends in a different light. Let the liquor tell it.
I guess the whole idea of ‘bromance’ and alcohol does tie together strongly. I honestly can’t think of many close guy friends I have that I haven’t raised a toast or downed shots together with. Pop culture has also allowed us to embrace the idea of ‘brotherly romance’, with films like Superbad and I Love You Man being open to latent homosexual content and popular YouTube artist Ryan Higa making a hilarious music video depicting guys straddling the line between friendship and love. Also, how many of us wish we had a faithful friend in Samwise Gamgee, willing to go to hell and back for us? What I’m trying to say is, brotherly friendships have become a more publicly displayed phenomenon, from us Singaporeans err-ing at foreign men holding hands on the streets to actually exhibiting such signs of affection ourselves. And what better way to let go of restraints than washing it away with some good ol’ whisky? Hey, it's all cool at this time of age.