Where’s my beer belly?

“Bottom’s up!” These words are now all too familiar for us men – both young and especially the grown ups – which would then be followed by cheers, beer mugs, shot glasses or bottles banging against each other, more cheers, giggles which in turn would be replaced by another similar sound. “Chug…chug..chug….slurp…ahh!”

Brings back fond memories doesn’t it? I remember when I had my first bottle of the good stuff, back in my highschool sophomore year. Surrounded by my friends, my reluctance to take my first sip of that foul-smelling, yellowish brew was dampened by their geers, challenges and name-callings. Shutting down my rational being for a second, I went for it. A gulp, followed by another, battling the resistance of my throat and bowels, flushing it all down and sucking up the horrible aftertaste with a cringe on my face, I am now a man. Or the typical form of it. This was confirmed by louder cheers, claps, high fives, a pat on the back and my next bottle already!

If only algebra were this easy and fun I said to myself back then. Then again at least I can possibly master algebra as I was told and soon realised that no man – or woman – has ever beaten San Miguel (the popular beer and gin brand in the Philippines) and mean no one. I’ve seen the toughest of men, fell down on their knees, break down in tears or swear they had the power to fly after a bottle or two. But what the heck right? As long as you’re sharing a case or a few cans with your closest friends, it doesn’t matter if one may loose his car keys or reveal his deepest secrets, it may knock everyone out, what’s important is that the beer was plentiful and stories colorful.

When my parents first found out that I started drinking, beer and the hard stuffs, they almost raised hell but decided not to. Instead I got off the hook with a stern warning from my aunt, a mouthful from my mother and a simple phrase from my father; “Let’s see what you’ll do once you get your beer belly.”

My old man’s words alone knocked some sense into my brain. Quickly, like instinct, my eyes locked on to his belly. His bulging, bouncy beer belly. Merciful heavens, will I suffer that same fate? Will I, after gallons and upon gallons of the good stuff (over the years to come of course) transform and metamorphise into something like him? A brown beached whale? I hope not. Looking at the mirror everyday and seeing nothing but the slightest bulge on my belly keeps a comforting smile on face and raises the voice inside my head screaming ‘Bottoms up!’

Then again, if all else fails, if San Miguel and the good stuff I’ll flush down my form will reward me with that beer belly, there’s always the sure fix called tummy tuck in San Jose.

Until then, I say once more. ‘Bottoms up!’

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