I was recently in a pub when a lady looked expectantly at me and said ‘Fancy a whip for this ?’ I looked a little taken aback and hesitated until she helpfully clarified ‘A kitty. For the drinks. Shall we have a whip round and I’ll then buy some drinks’. In a very polite British way, I proffered a ten pound note and said ‘Oh that will be great. Thanks for sorting that out. A pint of London Pride for me, please'.

Whereas what I really wanted to say was. ‘We are two couples having a quick Saturday night drink after watching some amateur dramatics featuring some friends. It’s five past ten so we’ll probably have two drinks. Why on earth should we contribute to a kitty ? You buy us a drink and I promise that we will reciprocate.'

There are many different problems with these whiprounds and kitties:

  • Someone has to manage the money.
  • Someone, normally the fastest drinker, always ends up thirsty as, like a training course, the pace is governed by the speed of the slowest person present. If girls are involved, you can actually die of thirst and lose your kitty contribution.
  • People always think things are cheaper than they actually are so are sceptical when the demand comes round to top up the kitty.
  • As the night progresses, people become less inhibited and contribute massive amounts ‘Here’s £50. That should sort it for a while.'
  • At the end, the kitty has to be sub-divided and the proceeds returned to all contributors. This is a variant on the ‘splitting the bill’ syndrome at a restaurant - only more complicated and time consuming. Forget the last train home. You’ve missed it. You’re getting an expensive taxi. Still, at least the drinks were equitably divided.
  • I once had the misfortune to be appointed ‘Kitty Treasurer’. This was a complete nightmare because people expect you to continually go to the bar. Time after time because ‘you’ve got the whip’. I never spoke to anyone but the bar staff all night.

So please don’t invite me into your ‘kitty’ or contribute to your stupid ‘whip’. This is the correct and proper way to ensure a night of trouble free, enjoyable drinking:

  • Get in a round with mates who drink at vaguely your rate. With blokes this doesn’t matter as slowcoaches simply accrue 5 full, untouched pints while the rounds continue to be brought over to the table regardless.
  • Ensure the rounds are ‘equalised’ by the end of the night. This means that everyone in the round buys the same number of pints. I can’t emphasis the importance of this enough.
  • Choose the size of the round appropriately. If you’re in a group of 4, you need to prepare to sup 4,8, 12 or even 16 pints.
  • Large groups can lead to livers the size and colour of George Best’s. Consider splitting large groups into 3’s or 4’s.
  • Don’t skew the financial calculations by having a crafty ‘Southern Comfort’ on the penultimate round because ‘I’m a little full of beer’. Just drink pints. You’re a man. That’s why you’re in a pub not a wine bar.