1. You had your 10th birthday party, your first drink, first dance, first kiss, possibly first shag (out the back behind the bins?), your wedding, your baby’s christening, and will have your funeral at your local social club.
For the uninitiated, a social club is an ugly grey building built in the 1920s and designed to be the social centre of small or inner-city communities. They can take the form of the rugby, football or snooker club; the Labour, Conservative or Lib Dem club; the ex-serviceman’s or railway club, and so on. They host fitness classes for your mom and show rugby on a big screen every weekend. Most importantly, the beer and room hire are dirt cheap and there appears to be no adherence to drinking, gambling, or performance laws. Most people there are quite old and have been boxers at one point in time.
2. You know what “aaaaarf a daaark” means, not that you’d ever want one.
3. You walk down Wine Street in Swansea on a Saturday night and think everything you see around you is normal.
4. You can’t sing the national anthem without holding a plastic glass full of Brains. Kept cold by drinking it outside, in February, in a red t-shirt, also holding an inflatable daffodil.
5. On the anthem, you’re only really sure about the lyrics to the one-word chorus: “GWALD, GWALD!” Which you scream with the passion of Zeus in the direction of the nearest Englishman/woman.
6. You once had an out-of-body experience trying to watch the rugby sober. Never again.
7. You eat chips with curry sauce before, during, and after a night out.
8. “I’m not being funny but…” is the only thing you can say or hear after midnight. And servers in kebab shops understand, correctly, as a request for chips and curry sauce.
9. You order wine on the assumption it represents the highest alcohol-to-price ratio. It always tastes awful, so you put lemonade in it and genuinely think this is being posh.
10. There are only six alcoholic drinks and three of these are different colours of beer — cider, vodka, and wine round out the bunch. You’ve attempted all the possible mixes, but the only one that worked was banned from pubs. Oh Snakebite, how I miss those luminous stains outside my student house. *Shudder*.
11. You know that every time an old man walks into a pub, no matter how far from his hometown, he will know at least one person there.
12. When in London, you refuse to believe £5 for a single glass of wine is reality. So you square up to the barman and say “I’m not being funny…but I go out with a fiver back home and get wasted, chips and curry sauce, AND a taxi. You’re taking the piss London.”