Our waitress walks towards us carrying a shoe. Well she’s actually holding the laces of a shoe and trying unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh. She stops at our table and says “If you drink this beer you will have to give me your shoe”. I glance at my semi consumed beer in it’s golden glory and wonder whether I’ve heard her correctly. As it turns out there is a beer on the menu that when ordered necessitates the “lending” of one of your shoes to the bar staff. Our waitress runs off to show me which beer this in on the menu and when she returns, the shoe she had been holding has been returned to its rightful owner. She looks sad without the shoe but there is hope in her eyes that perhaps I am willing to volunteer one of my shoes to fill the void. I look around, it’s a wonderful afternoon, the sun catches the sweat beading on glasses filled with liquid amber and happy people laugh around me. I think about how much I love a place that encourages being barefoot, imagine if as young girls we are sold the story about how all women should be barefoot, with a beer in hand at a bar instead of the boring old barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen? I ask the waitress is I can skip the beer but still take my shoes off and she doesn’t seem impressed. She clearly thinks I’ve misunderstood the concept or lost the plot and she rushes off in the pretence of assisting another customer as I sip my beer with my both my feet shod.
Apart from getting to take off your shoes, lots of good things come from drinking beer. You’re all of a sudden funnier, sexier and more courageous. You’re a better dancer, you tend to develop an artistic eye and takes many “abstract” pictures.
Normal things tend to make you happier (I can’t believe our names start with same letter) or sadder (I can’t find my panama’s) than they should. All sorts of people turn in your BEST FRIEND, an old friend, a new friend, a stranger with long hair, a stranger with a beard, the person who drinks the same beer as you, the options are endless. I love the usually stoic types that turn into hugging, loving hippies who go around listing people’s best characteristics and punctuating sentences with “I love you man”. Many a bromance has been catalysed by beer and seeing grown men confess their feelings to each other with reckless abandon is a beautiful thing to behold! Better yet is the hugging and loud kisses if you get to witness those.
But lots of stupid things also come from drinking beer – I’m not about to judge, I’ve been plenty stupid in my time. South Africa is a beer drinking nation and I’m not one to abdicate responsibility, but I think Mother Nature needs to take some of the blame for this. We do have the perfect beer drinking weather and we do tend to over-indulge as some sort of tribute to the weather gods. So, I will leave you with this rather ineffectual last message, if you are to drink (barefoot or not) and even if that drinking allows a bromance to blossom, please do not drink and drive. That’s not stupid, that’s unforgivable.