How to Drink Like a Warlord

Dearest Readers:

Recently, Beijing Boyce, the all-star blogger and friend to Shanxi’s most eligible warlord, published my list of the greatest bars of China’s erstwhile capital city.  You can read all about it right here.  Be sure to notice how kick-ass I look in my Time magazine cover.  In honor of this auspicious occasion, I thought I would provide a few tips so that you, my good readers, could learn to drink in true warlord fashion.  It ain’t easy, so get your yatou (you do have a servant girl, right?) to fetch a bottle and let’s get started!

Tip #1: Plan it out!

Drinking is like going to war.  We seek glory and fame, but must be prepared for suffering and the possibility of seeing the insides of your best friend spilling out like the Yellow River breaking its dikes.  In both war and drinking, the warlord stresses logistics.  Would you want to attempt to expand your territory at the expense of Zhang Xueliang without enough ammunition?  No.  Would you want to run out of booze before you are shit-faced?  Also a big negative on that one.  So stock up on the hooch the way Madame Soong stocks up on silk sheets.  Bonus tip: hide three cases of sake in your kang.  During the cold winter months, they will stay nice and warm.   This trick really came in handy last winter when I was bedding a young Japanese adviser.  Yes, I knew she was a spy, but it was like Churchill and booze: I got more out of her than she out of me, and as she took from me my top secret plans to unseat Jiang Jieshi, you an only imagine what went down on that kang.  But I digress.  The importance of preparation also extends to nights on the town.  Always have a Plan B, and this Plan B should serve up steaming jiaozi and authentic Shanxi vinegar.

Tip #2: Choose your Company Carefully!

As loyal readers know, my greatest claim to fame as a warlord has been my longevity.  While others have come and gone (cough Feng Yuxiang cough) here I am, keeping it realer than real in Shanxi.  How have I done this?  By knowing when to ally with Warlord A and not Warlord B, only to then know I should ditch both those zeros for Fragile National Government C.  Bottom line, I know how to pick ’em, and this is a skill that really translates to drinking.  Nothing ruins a gin guzzling frenzy like having to make conversation with a Peking University graduate who thinks that if he can la guanxi with enough people he can finally get that sweet government post.  There are only two types of acceptable drinking companions.  The first is your fellow booze hound.  Make sure he can keep up with you drink-wise, and bonus if he has a history of poor decision making.  Remember my axiom, if it were not for bad choices, there would be no choices at all!  The second type would be one or more attractive females.  Make sure, however, that you have a proper Neo-Confucian relationship with women while drinking.  First, ritual decorum must be observed.   If she is not pouring your drinks for you, you are doing it wrong.  Second, make sure you have unequal relationship of hierarchy with an ever decreasing sense of reciprocity.  If she suggests you stop drinking, you are really doing it wrong.  If neither booze hound or proper Neo-Confucian female drinking companion can be found, drink by yourself.  You probably have a lot of shit to think through anyway.  After all, warlording ain’t easy, but it’s necessary.

Tip #3: Know When to Call it a Night!

If you are following my advice, you are probably doing some serious boozing.  When to stop?  Here is what I do.  When I wake up the next morning, I check that I have all fingers and toes, and that I have not broken any bones.  Am I bleeding?  Is anyone in the room deceased or horribly injured?  If not, then I stopped drinking at the appropriate time.  As I mentioned above, drinking is like going to war.  That’s why warlords are generally pretty damn good at it.



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