The bartender’s Christmas polemic: Bah humbug

The weather outside is frightful, but the bar is far from delightful

Christmas is officially here in Edinburgh. It’s a time where love and familial connections are to be rekindled, after weeks of alcohol-fuelled freedom were torn away from students who were supposed to be studying for finals.

For most, the time has flown from September until now, and life is beginning to become our own again. No doubt, this is a life removed from normality. Where else in the world can you get drunk on a Monday night and feel completely fine in waking up at three the next day? Despite all this wonder, I simply have to say: You Christmas drinkers are some stanky arseholes.

For the bartender, Christmas is more like finding out someone has left a shit in your kettle. It’s a ruination of a once comforting staple. Whilst most of the country is drinking themselves into a happy oblivion and wasting the money that should probably be spent on presents, us bartenders are serving you bastards.

The worst thing  about Christmas for bartenders is the Christmas party. The fear of it lies in its uncertainty. Societies and businesses rocking up out of nowhere to destroy the periods of intense silence and expose the barkeep to shocking sights of humanity’s alcoholic degradation. Their floppy Santa hats standing as flacid, phallic symbols of the amount of excitement I feel at seeing them arrive into my pub.

The participant of the Christmas party falls into two separate categories: The posh student, and the overly stressed graduate attempting to destress from a life filled with actual responsibility. Both are as bad as each other, and yet in their difference lies a symbiosis of suffering for bar workers.

First, the posh student. The literal embodiment of why Scotland fights for its independence. Toffs and Yahs with the arrogant stride of someone who acts (and probably does) own the very earth on which they walk, enter the establishment with all the grace of a horny elephant. Hollering to friends who they have known since the early days of Eton or the hard streets of Harrow. Tasteless Christmas jumpers that are both expensive and inexpensive at the same time.

They arrive at the bar in a horde, already drunk from pres in a savagely expensive kitchen paid for by the good grace of royalty. Attempting to take their order is as easy as asking your gran’s ashes to do a flip. When you finally drag their attention away from men they call “Monty” and “Joffrey” (I am being 100 per cent serious here), in the spirit of Christmas, they order 30 tequila shots. They then retreat to all corners of the pub, spreading like the imperialism that built and sustains their vast bank accounts.

It is after their arrival that the graduates with actual jobs come to the pub. They walk in like haunting reminders that this experience we call “uni” will one day be over. Gaunt faces shadowed by the effects of real responsibility and issues, but that hunger for just one last hint of joy.

Unfortunately, the barkeep seems to be the perfect punching bag for months of employed grief. Pints and G&Ts are swallowed down like juice. These ghostly apparitions of former students congregate around one another and talk about spreadsheets and other sexless things. Conversations about “Martha” and her foul-smelling breath are foreplay before the real savagery of released hate can be let loose.

Then the elixir of life takes hold in its amber glare. The posh students and the ghostly apparitions that once were, begin to mix. The bar becomes a maelstrom of festive joy, with Christmas carols being gargled out between the mouthfuls of festive themed drinks. Declarations of Bro-love are shouted between posh boys whose fathers never taught them how to love. The floor and the bar become wastelands of spit and broken glass, finally resembling something similar to a perverse sleety wonderland of snow. Bags that once held this “snow” are found lying amongst the piss stained floors of the toilets. It truly is a white Christmas.

Then just as soon as these parties arrive, they are gone. The students to carry on their festive joy in the wonders of a shitty nightclub. The graduates to cry themselves to sleep before another day of joyless work. Those left behind are the ones still clinging to the festivities, such as the man and woman who have been casting eyes at each other for months. Christmas finally provides an opportunity for two work friends to make a drunken mistake. As the bartender tries to clean, we have to witness these mistletoe feasts, where hungry jaws open wide to drunkenly devour the faces of sought after love.

Whilst I witness all this festive mayhem, I begin to look forward to the night where my retribution can be enacted. Where I can get royally shitfaced at my own Christmas work party. Only three more shifts, I say to myself, and then finally I can feel some sense of joy before Christmas.

As this hope begins to take hold, I look at the news and Nicky Sturgeon has announced more restrictions. Ah well, I guess I’ll just go fuck myself. Merry Christmas wankers.

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