Today's Evil Beet Gossip

Quotables: How Claire Danes Learned to Get Her Drink On

Photo: Claire Danes with husband Hugh Dancy in May

My in-laws can drink me under the table.

Claire Danes, on “British pub culture” and, more specifically, on husband Hugh Dancy’s comparatively hard-drinkin’ parents.

I just love this quote. I know “celebrity gossip” is moralistic, always quick to finger-wag at fast-and-loud living; after all, every other story is Car Wreck this and Trainwreck that. Still, there is something so endearing about prim Claire Danes loosening up and learning how to shotgun a Guinness (or cider, or whatever it is you Brits slam in the morning before you take the Tube to your fancy jobs).

Danes’ entire quote, in context, from Pop2it:

She tells OK! that since marrying Hugh Dancy, she’s embraced British pub culture with a particular enthusiasm.

In fact, she says she now struggles to politely sip wine at parties when she’s back in the States. “I’ve been in training for a number of years now. They’re not kidding [in Britain],” she says. “My in-laws can drink me under the table. I’ve now come to really enjoy pub culture but there was a transitional period where I was sort of like, ‘What is this?'”

The difference, she says, is in the lack of distraction in England. “They sit in one seat and drink for about seven hours straight,” she says. “[Americans] drink, but we drink and do other things, like, we drink and eat or we drink and dance or we drink and, like, take a walk and go drink somewhere else. They talk, and that’s probably why they’ve produced such witty, clever people.”

I haven’t hopped the pond since I was 16—so I was way too young to acquaint myself with so-called “British pub culture”—but this quote really rings true to me. I do remember that social norms are scarily different here, insofar as we in the U.S. recognize “familiarity” upon first introduction as good “people skills”; abroad, a wide grin and too-soon hugging could be construed as, if not unmannerly, outright sinister. Is this an accurate read, Europeans?

And that social rigidity explains the need for a culture of “socially acceptable loosening-up,” AKA drinking in one spot for seven long hours. (Or as I call it, ‘dating’!)

Ohhhh, I’m totally JK’ing, you guys, but only sort of. Please, somebody explain “pub culture” to me. **Hangs head; scarfs an entire Shepherd’s Pie in shame**

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • This is soooooo true, but we do have a ridiculously crazy club scene too. At least in Cardiff, where I’m from. But my friends and I can go to a pub at 6pm and not leave until 12am and all we do is drink and talk and drink some more. Personally, I suck at drinking (I buy a drink at the beginning of the night and more often than not I still have it by the end of the night) but my friends are really into it and so are a lot of older people I know (we’re only 23, so we’re probably outside of the norm for pub goers), but yeah pubs are big over here. You come home from work and it’s like, “Shall we pop to the pub?”

    And yes, we’re not as friendly as you guys. If someone hugged me the first time I met them, I’d probably think they were trying to steal my very soul. Though an American doing it is actually okay with me. You guys are nicer than us. We’re all pessimistic. Except me. I’m sunshine and rose petals.

  • I’m from London and can totally understand why our drinking (and reserved nature) can come as a culture shock for Americans. Because our drinking age is 18 I think it’s easier to get the ‘let’s get wasted and party’ phase out of the way quite quickly, and then you just naturally settle into going to the pub as more of a social activity. There’s nothing better on a hot day than sitting in a beer garden wasting the afternoon with a cold pint, or spending a cold winter evening in a cosy pub with a mate. As Jessie says above, it just becomes the norm to come home from work and pop to the pub for a drink.