How to Take a Drink in the Face

As the resident patriot Will McAvoy on HBO’s new hit series ‘The Newsroom,’ Jeff Daniels spends most of his time dishing out pitch-perfect zingers (along with not a little sanctimony). In the show’s recent fourth episode however, his character ends up on the receiving end of a little abuse for once with a stunning one-two punch, but in the form of a couple of drinks to the kisser. Yet he takes it with admirable, unabashed cool. Inspired by his example, we sought out the veteran actor to learn his technique.

“There are certainly unmanly ways to take a drink in the face,” says Daniels. “Anything that resembles a whine, you don’t want.” In preparing for his mid-season double shot, Daniels sought inspiration from an unlikely source – the boys of summer. “You know how when a Major Leaguer takes a pitch off his shin, they say, ‘don’t rub it?’ It’s very similar to that.” In the video above, the three-time Golden Globe nominee demonstrates his five-step process to sustaining a potentially devastating point-blank drink to the face, and taking it like a man.

Step One: Just let it happen
Resist the unseemly urge to duck or dodge – or worse – throw your hands up to cover your eyes or ears. Relax. Your eyes will close naturally in plenty of time, and your ears are well outside the line of fire anyway. The essence of cool is being unflappable. So don’t flap.

Step Two: Take it all in
This may seem counterintuitive, but bear with us: Part your lips slightly, and tilt your head backward a bit to retain an ample serving of the offending liquid. “We’re going to need that later,” Daniels explains.

Step Three: Embrace the drip
Once the drink has been dispensed and there’s no going back, stifle the understandable, if mistaken, instinct to react. Daniels advises against an emotional outburst, or “squealing… or going ‘Why’d you do that?'” Remember that in any disagreement the one who shouts first is the one who loses. “A man doesn’t react,” Daniels says. “Let the liquid drip as if this happens every day.”

Step Four: Return to sender
Contrary to popular wisdom, the best defense isn’t a great offense: It’s disdain. Show yours for the tediousness of this exchange with nature’s universal sign of disgust. “Give off a little snort – so that liquid will come out,” says Daniels. Think of it as the anti spit-take. Bonus points for maintaining eye contact.

Step Five: Walk tall
Proceed as if this little encounter is the most natural thing in the world. “Maybe you wipe it a little bit,” says Daniels. “But that’s it. You’re not upset, and you don’t whine.”

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