Drinking at lunchtime: The dream versus the reality

ARE you tempted to have a lunchtime drink like some sort of effortlessly cool continental? Here’s how reality will shit on your dreams of sophistication.

It’ll loosen you up 

A quick pint is just what you need before that boring meeting. Two is even better. After three you’re a go-getting titan of business. When you finally make it back to the office you’ll be a bit confused and stumbling over words, somewhat undermining your claim to be an unappreciated business genius. 

It’ll feel like you’re on holiday

A large glass of wine at midday will recreate your holiday in the south of France. Until your bottle of Wetherspoons rosé arrives tasting like sugared piss. Sadly your continental tipple will just remind you you’re not in a quaint French village, you’re in chilly Croydon, hoping not to get mugged or run over by a tram.

It’ll relax you 

Tequilas over lunch is possibly not the best idea. Just because it’s 2:30pm doesn’t mean you’ll be able to keep your temper under control once the cheap spirits are pulsing through your veins. With a bit of luck you’ll be so out of it you shout abuse at your stapler, not your co-workers. 

It’ll make you a fun person

Everyone’s always telling you to chill out more, so what better way to prove you know how to have a good time than four cans of K cider with your lunchtime tuna sandwich? Strangely, when you do this, people keep staring and muttering ‘drink problem’. They really need to stop sending out these mixed messages. 

It’ll make life more bearable

Plenty of Bombay Sapphires on ice with your pub lunch will help you effortlessly cope with life’s challenges. Or the heightened, alcohol-fuelled emotions will leave you genuinely dreading taking your five-year-old to a birthday party in a soft play centre later. Still, if you puke in the ball pit you can pretend it was the kids.

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Are you more embarrassing than Richard Madeley? Take our quiz

RICHARD Madeley has set the bar high for embarrassing behaviour. Find out if you have overtaken him with this quiz.

How do you talk?

A) Using my vocal cords and mouth like every other human being.

B) In a weird caricature of normal speech. It’s both embarrassing and compelling and turns interviews into the proverbial car crash. Just like my next guest, who was in a 16-car pile-up. So Jenny, you’re not dead then?

Do you like to play devil’s advocate?

A) Sometimes, if I’m bored and have had a couple of pints.

B) Ah, now, that’s very interesting, because don’t you think the term ‘devil’s advocate’ could be offensive to minority groups like Satanists or Hell’s Angels? Hmm? This is an incredibly important point I’m making.

How do you discuss sensitive topics?

A) With the respect and gravity they deserve.

B) By relating a person’s story of genuine suffering to a trivial, barely relevant anecdote all about me. This always cheers everyone up when, for example, I compare being wrongly imprisoned in Saudi Arabia for six years with getting stuck in my bathroom.

How do you treat opposing views?

A) I always hear the other person out. I might learn something.

B) Aggressively belittle them, however breathtakingly ignorant I am about the subject. Like with that Just Stop Oil protester. Everyone knows you need oil to make cars go. What are you going to do, put milk in them? Stupid woman.

Do you have any self-awareness at all?

A) Yes. If anything I have too much. It’s debilitating.

B) I’m aware that people say I’m like a real-life Alan Partridge, which is flattering because he’s very popular with a long broadcasting career.


Mostly As: Sorry, you sound like a well-adjusted human being, which means you are nowhere near as embarrassing as Richard Madeley. Try hosting a rigged phone-in quiz or telling your daughter she was an accident to be more like him.

Mostly Bs: You are Richard Madeley, aren’t you? Taking a quiz about yourself is the sort of thing you’d do. You have ascended to a new plane of un-self-awareness.