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Don't rule it out

One of the best moments I had when turning from adolescence into adulthood was the first trip to the pub when I was officially 18 years old. There was a sense of belonging, a sense of going legit. I felt like wearing my driving licence on my lapel to show everyone that I had arrived. Now I was bulletproof. Of course, I had been visiting the pub for a couple of years before and, to the shame of the publicans involved, I was carded very few times. That is probably more to do with the fact that I always drank stout or Mild which was certainly not the go to drink for an underaged lager lout.

But, to my sadness, turning 18 didn't mean a free pass and a life of swanning around the local hostelries unhindered. In fact, as I have grown older, I have been asked for ID more frequently and I wonder if the person asks because they already know the answer. There also seem to be more rules. NO JEANS, NO WORKWEAR, NO BOOTS, NO CHILDREN, NO DOGS, NO GLASS, NO SERVICE AT THE BEST PART OF THE BAR TO BE SERVED, etc.

Then there is the anxiety if there is table service. After a fifteen minute wait, you spot a sign that says 'Order at the Bar' - you remember your mate's orders then head to the bar only to be met with the dreaded question 'What is your table number?' This inevitably leads to an indecisive pointed finger in the direction of your friends and a roll of the eyes from the inquisitor. Then the food is delivered. You wait patiently for the server to stroll by and ask if they could kindly bring cutlery only to be informed that you need to collect it yourself. You are pointed to the most obvious cutlery collecting station and also identified by the bar staff as someone who thinks collecting their own cutlery is beneath them. It's enough to make you stay at home.

It's a harsh world when you don't know the rules.

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