Last year my blogging compatriot Gmac had a brilliant post on a body-language quirk he had noticed which is known as “the Beer Shield.”
The Beer Shield is a college-born social tactic that young men pick up in dive bars and house parties. It is a fallback technique akin to a security blanket that should be shamed out of men.
Keeping a beer close to your chest is a sign of insecurity. It’s no different from playing with your phone in a bar. It tells the other people around you, “Hey everyone! I’m awkward and have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing with myself right now!” It signals desperation and confusion to the opposite sex. More importantly, it’s counterproductive to an approach mentality.
Don’t believe me? The next time you’re out at a bar take a look around. The guys with their beer shields up won’t be talking to women, or if they are, it won’t be very long. Beer Shields make you less sociable while working against you. All they do is add yet another barrier between you and the rest of the women in the room (that’s not even including bitch shields).
Relax, set the drink down. Hold it to the side or below your waist if you like. Dangle your bottle or use it as a prop as you speak. Be nonchalant and carefree. There’s nothing interesting or cool about a guy who raises and lowers a beer in front of his face like a monkey.
I commented on Gmac’s post about my own field experience:
Was out with another game-aware dude last week and noticed a guy using the beer shield. He drank the entire glass and still used the empty as a shield, then when posing for a picture with some chicks he came in with, he held the glass in his hand when he put his arm around a girl. It was like using a prop to effect hover hands. I wanted to impersonate a waiter and take it away from him.
It’s simple open body language. This video makes the additional point that holding the drink in front of your chest requires muscular tension that puts you in a less relaxed mode.
In addition to eliminating any beer-shield behavior in my own person (and experiencing a detectable boost in my own social comfort), since reading this post I’ve come to notice beer-shielding among young people in my cohort, and found that Gmac is right – guys holding their drinks at their sides, or placing them on the bar so as to talk with both hands, are more sociable, more open and more alpha.
I also noticed a collateral sequela of holding the drink down. Holding the drink at your side requires that you hold it by the lip of the glass instead of the base. This means that when you bring it up to your mouth, you are forced to sip it rather than gulp it. It also hides part of your face for some cheap mystery points. When you are holding your drink from the bottom, your instinct is to turn it over and flood the contents into your mouth. You don’t want to do this; it looks gluttonous and out of control.
It’s all part of doing things slowly and deliberately – you’re not there to pound the drink, it’s just an incidental part of your evening.
YOU DON’T NEED BOOZE
While we’re on the topic, you should consider whether you want to drink at all. I’m no teetotaler and I’m not trying to talk anybody out of it, but alcohol affects your health, raises your reaction times, and can get you into trouble when driving or dealing with authority. (The peripatetic blogger Assanova claimed drinking gave him bouts of unpredictable and itinerant depression.)
I personally know two very successful game-aware men who don’t drink at all.
If you want to drink alcohol, drink because you enjoy it, not because it’s there or because you want to fit in with the rest of the circle. I love having interesting cocktails and craft beers, but if someone offers me a Natty Light I say no (I do sometimes offer to piss in a glass and sell it to them for three dollars). Sure it takes some self-identity to pass up a beverage everyone else is having, but isn’t that what game is really all about?
It’s not hard to do. When someone asks to get you a drink, say, “nah, I’m fine, thanks.” Don’t explain. Once you say that a few times, word gets around that drinking isn’t your thing.
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS
A while back on a thread in the Roosh V Forum, some guy was poo-poohing the beer-shield advice. His “point” was along the lines of:
“So some woman is going to want to do me because I hold my drink a certain way? That’s so ridiculous, gamers are such loosers lolz!”
The answer is, yes and no. No particular subtle point of body language is going to turn you from a chumparrific fap king into a budding Casanova. But it’s a piece of the puzzle, and if you spend a lot of time drinking with others, how you hold your drink is going to go a long way towards how their hindbrains see your social value.
It’s also a question of optimization. If your body language and mental composure are generally free and open, there’s no need to occupy your mind with small details. But if your game sucks, you need to understand that seemingly-small problems can have a big impact on reinforcing how people already see you, because you don’t have an overall positive, attractive frame in which to operate. This is especially true with women, who are subconsciously and consciously judging you on subtle factors that escape most guys’ concern.
It’s this small-details-to-big-picture development model that so many game haters miss – the way you learn any kind of skill or attitude is to start with specific intentional behaviors, and as those become rote and unconscious you develop a holistic mindset that makes the specific behaviors flow from that mindset.
People who say “just be confident/be calm/have inner game/etc and everything will flow from there” have it backwards. That’s really a self-affirmation based in wishful fiction rather than in reproducible fact. It’s just not an effective way to make changes in your psyche.