yip, in many countries including where I live 18 is the absolute oldest first time people will be going out with a drink in them. Most people 16 and over it is tolerated if not actually encouraged. It’s probably even now pretty hard for young people here to go out and join in and NOT get drunk–it’s just in the culture. I certainly did it and was lucky enough to get away mostly unscathed.I suppose there must be places all over the world legality aside where it’s the norm. I’m a person who certainly enjoys a relaxing drink (and has been an idiot drunk in the past) but I do think the way our culture just throws it at you as the norm is potentially pretty destructive for many.
If you’re still reading these responses, LW, my advice is to try to seek out the girls as a group. Apologize to her and to her friends, ask her if you can buy her and all of her friends a drink, and then suck it up and pay the bar bill (if they’re really mad they may order Grey Goose). Most people will accept a free drink. If they refuse, reiterate that you are really sorry and ask what they want to happen next … honestly, better to get one punch “to get even” than to get beaten up by a whole group.
Many people will accept a free drink and still beat the shit out of you. The sincere apology is your better bet… it’s the right thing to do, it’s free, it appears genuine, and you’re not shelling out cash to still get beaten up.