Guys, I hate to say it…but a lot of you are letting me down. More importantly, you’re letting yourselves and your gender down. Every time I go out to a bar and I see a guy with a purple or pink shot in their hand, a small part of Hulk Hogan’s goatee dies. I’m going to lay down some simple rules that you should follow as the The 10 Commandments of drinking. Break them and die.

When I venture out to a restaurant and I see a man with a martini that is any other color than clear, I am forced to say a small weeping prayer for the future of mankind. Now I don’t mean to turn this into a post strictly directed at guys, because ladies…this is of the utmost importance to you too. What a person drinks says quite a bit about who they are, and if the man at your side prefers drinks with umbrellas over ones with whiskey, well…you’ve got some serious decisions to make. So without further ado, I present:

1. Thou Shalt Learn to Enjoy Whisk(e)y – Bourbon, Scotch, Irish, Tennessee whiskey and every other form of the drink shall heretofore be your best buddy. You can start by mixing with soda at first to ween yourself into it if you need to (Jim Beam and Coke is a perfectly acceptable manly drink), but at some point you’re going to have to learn to drink the stuff on its own. It’s a complex, mysterious and brooding spirit, which are not coincidentally three things you as a man should also strive to be. This commandment is the most important, and the hardest to get through, which is why it’s first. If you can master the ways of Daniels, Walker, Dickel, Jameson and Glenlivet…the rest of this should be cake.

2. There is No Such Thing as a “Chocolate Martini” – This has been said elsewhere many a time before, but it bears repeating. The only things that should be in a martini are gin (or a quality vodka), vermouth, and garnish like an olive or onion. Anything else, and you’ve made a grave mistake punishable by a lifetime of Grey’s Anatomy reruns.

3. Thou Shalt Not Drink a Frozen Drink – The ONLY exception to this is if you’re at the beach or on a cruise. Otherwise, stick to hunks of ice or chilled mugs to cool your drink. Alcohol is not meant to be drunk in smoothie form.

4. Thou Shalt Not Consume Drinks With Idiotic Gimmicky Names Meant to Cover Up How Girly They Are – So help me God, if I see any of you jackasses out there with a Sex on the Beach or a Screw Me Blue in your hands, I’ll slap it to the ground and eat your worthless soul so fast you’ll truly come to appreciate the phrase “life flashed before my eyes” like never before. You’re not fooling anyone. Just because peach schnapps has some alcohol in it does not qualify it as an alcoholic beverage. It has its place in the great wide world of booze, but mixed up with 18 other fruit-flavored alcohols and garnished with a paper umbrella and stupid name ain’t it.

5. Thou Shalt Learn to Appreciate All Forms of Beer – If Natty Light, Keystone and Coors are your idea of what beer is and is meant to be, you’re living your drinking-life like that of a child in sub-Saharan Africa. Bring that inner impoverished child into the “civilized” world and open your dry crusty wind-chapped eyes to the world of ambers, stouts, saisons, hefeweissens and the multitude of heavenly hops-angels just waiting to surround you and give you a glimpse of the Promised Land. While you’re still getting over your silly stigma that Guinness is a “heavy” beer and cringing at the thought of a slice of lemon in your Hoegaarden, the rest of us will be happily melting our brains away into oblivion. With the superhot hops-angels, of course. Sidebar: I’m not a beer drinker (although I’m learning to appreciate it more and more) so I had to ask a few of my buddies about this one.

6. No Worthwhile Woman Will Ever Be Impressed With How Much You Can Drink – Being able to funnel six beers at once or taking down an entire fifth of rum in one night may impress the shit out of your buddies, but no quality woman on earth will give a damn about how much you can drink. For that matter it’s really not worth even trying, as trying and failing will produce far more disgusting consequences than you ever bargained on. Let it be known: while some refer to alcohol as “Liquid Panty Remover”, puke is far better known as “Liquid Loneliness”.

7. It’s More Than Okay to Drink Wine – Knowing the name of a few good Cabernets and Pinot Noirs is a highly valuable thing. Inevitably in your life you’ll need to go to expensive restaurants for anniversaries, birthdays, and pet funerals… and knowing what’s good vs. what tastes like grape-flavored vinegar not only makes you look smart and sophisticated, but saves you from drinking grapes that taste like they were fermented in horseshit. Become familiar with the ins-and-outs of a few wines, and the impression you’ll make will be well worth it. Being labeled as “cultured” is never a bad thing…being labeled as “ignorant” always is.

8. It’s Worth it to Learn the Rules and Traditions of the Drinking World Before You Go Out Into the Wild (and Make an Ass Out of Yourself) – Pro Tip: When drinking one of the aforementioned obligatory wines at one of the aforementioned stuffy and overpriced restaurants, do not sniff the cork. Check it for mold or odd discoloration, and then put it down…but do not sniff it like a damned country bumpkin. Pro Tip 2: Do not make a big show of popping the cork off a bottle of champagne. Hold a cloth or towel over the cork and catch it before it shoots into the ceiling. It’s the grown-up thing to do. There are a thousand of small rules like these (or maybe “customs” is a better word?) surrounding the booze-life that knowing can be the difference between you looking like a showboating know-nothing jackass, or a refined gentleman of great taste and culture. The two mentioned here are a start, but take the time to learn what separates grown men from the forever-frat-boys and you’ll be more than a few steps ahead.

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9. The Way You Treat Bartenders and Waitstaff Says More About You Than You Know – I don’t mean to get all Jesus-y on you guys, but as the Good Book says, “That which you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto me.” And I can tell you, that’s exactly how a woman or prospective business associate will see it. Snapping, clapping, yelling, whistling or just general rudeness to someone waiting on you are a sure sign to anyone in your company that if they spend enough time around you, you’ll eventually treat them with the same selfish nonchalance and disdain that you treat those who are paid to be nice to you. And for crying out loud, TIP WELL. You have no idea how far this can take you.

10. Any Free Drink is a Good Drink – I know, this seemingly negates some of the previous rules, but hear me out. Not even mentioning the many economical reasons that you should never ever in your life turn down a free drink when offered to you (which essentially boil down to: YOU’RE NOT BUYING IT AND IT’S NOT POISON, SO WHO CARES!?!), it’s just plain RUDE to turn down a shot or drink purchased by someone else for you (unless it is, in fact, poison). They’ve not only put down their hard-earned dollar to buy you a taste of the good life, but they’ve also taken the social gamble of saying “Hey, this is a person who deserves a drink for saving babies/stopping (evil) moving trains/kicking my ass in Guitar Hero, and by golly…I’m going to buy them a beverage in public to show the world how noteworthy their accomplishment is!” That’s quite simply a proposition you can’t say no to. If you do, you’re a dick.

Much like the Bible, there are many more minor rules to the world of drinking, but these are the Big 10, the ones that in a general sense should guide you throughout your journey through this magical world of booze and keep you from temptation and harm. It’s a cold and frightening world out there, but by following these simple rules you definitely have a better chance of emerging unscathed.