With beer gardens packed and the bars heaving with thirsty drinkers, it’s a great time to people watch. The Canterbury Journal’s Pub Spy identifies 10 distinct types of people you find in city pubs
The twentysomething gelhead
Dressed in the latest style – or at least what he thinks passes for that – the gelhead will have the standard haircut for people of this age: short back and sides with a sweep over the front held in place by a hair product. Usually they’ll have tattooed arms, made bigger by visits to one of Canterbury’s many gyms. The gelhead will always inspect himself in the mirror behind the bar, will often behave in a boorish manner bordering on the offensive and likes trying it on with women.
The drunken wife
Two of my mate’s mums and one of my mate’s wives fall into this category. Two or three glasses of wine and they’ve got their arms draped around some fella, usually younger, while hubby talks football or politics to some face at the bar until he catches wind of what’s going on and has to intervene. Embarrassed, he is forced to drag her away, sometimes even home to bed…
The badly dressed middle aged man
Guilty. I fall into this category, propping up the bar at one of Canterbury’s pubs of an evening or over the weekends. We dress badly because we’ve stopped caring about our appearances. If there’s beer to be drunk, the middle aged drinker will be there…in every pub in Canterbury…all the time.
The “can I just try…”
Middle class middle aged people, men more often than women, who are unable to buy an alcoholic drink without sampling it first. Usually this involves ale. Each taste of an interestingly named guest ale is met with an “ooh, no, I don’t think so”. And so having exhausted nearly every option, they finish with a “I’ll just have a Masterbrew”. Irritating.
The boring fart
Breathtakingly incapable of recognising what makes for good conversation, the boring fart is most people’s idea of a nightmare in a social group. You hear the audible groan as the fart approaches. I was once in The Parrot in St Radigund’s when a bloke I was introduced to explained three times the prices and itinerary of a trip to Paris he had booked. He took his act to the next level by telling us what days he was working next week, one of which involved going to Sittingbourne.
The actual farter
I used to drink with a bloke called Griff who thought nothing of blowing off in a confined space full of people. One day, I was so appalled that I asked for air freshener from staff at the Old City Bar in Oaten Hill. Upon spraying the room, he punched me in the arm. Lesson learned: there’s nothing wrong with filling a pub with a puke-inducing stench, but if you try to make the room smell nice, physical pain will be visited upon you.
The political dullard
It’s difficult to work out whose company is less desirable: the boring fart or the political dullard. The former bores about many subjects while the latter bores about one big thing. For one tedious leftie I know, politics is quite literally the only thing he can talk about it. And it really hurts to have to listen to it. And he smells.
The tactical round avoider
I have, of course, studied this species of pub denizen before in these pages. They are people who attempt to work out exactly the way not to put their hand in their pocket and try everything from the sudden “emergency phone call” outside to inserting themselves into a group’s conversation in order to become part of the round before sneaking off without reciprocating. Most of us know one of these at least.
The social butterfly
One of my best friends falls into this category. In her late 20s, she has a very good job at a major Canterbury institution, but lives for her social life. Possessed of heavenly features and a wicked sense of humour, she only has to sit at the bar to be surrounded by men eager to buy her drink and get her attention. Yep, everyone loves the social butterfly.
The toothless inebriate
Using something approximating neanderthal grunts to have a conversation, the toothless inebriate is rarely out of the pub. Despite being well into his 50s, 60s or 70 and not working, he has the funds to swallow pint after pint of lager. I recall an ex-colleague doing an obituary about one such Canterbury fellow:
“So tell me about John,” he said.
A relative on the phone replied: “Well, he was a pub man.”
“Oh, he ran pubs, did he?”
“Nah, he was just always in the pub…”