Column: If you thought going to the pub with your mates was a harmless way to unwind then think again

I am about to write about a university course that was given a trigger warning. If you find trigger warnings upsetting, please look away now, says comedian and writer Steve N Allen.
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If you thought that going to the pub with your mates was a harmless way to unwind after a long day, think again.

You may be unwittingly inflicting psychological damage by buying a round.

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That’s the shocking revelation from a sociology lecture at the University of Manchester, where students were warned that the topic of ‘money and finance’, could be triggering for some of them.

Guest columnist Steve N Allen is a writer and comedian.Guest columnist Steve N Allen is a writer and comedian.
Guest columnist Steve N Allen is a writer and comedian.

The lecture covered issues such as inheritance and inflation. They are both topics that I find upsetting. I am upset that I am affected by the increases in inflation and I am also upset that I am not affected by the topic of inheritance.

I may find those topics annoying but I won’t faint if I accidentally hear about them.

The lecture also talked about splitting the bill and buying rounds. These topics can be complex. I’m sure there are courses in the maths department that look at the right way to split a bill when one person goes all-in with steak and wine while others just had a salad, but once again, we don’t need to be warned that these topics are coming up.

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One attendee said the lecturer gave a verbal warning before opening discussions to enable students to leave if they found the themes too upsetting.

"You may be unwittingly inflicting psychological damage by buying a round. That’s the shocking revelation from a sociology lecture at the University of Manchester", says comedian and writer Steve N Allen."You may be unwittingly inflicting psychological damage by buying a round. That’s the shocking revelation from a sociology lecture at the University of Manchester", says comedian and writer Steve N Allen.
"You may be unwittingly inflicting psychological damage by buying a round. That’s the shocking revelation from a sociology lecture at the University of Manchester", says comedian and writer Steve N Allen.

Can you imagine what everyone there would think if you got up and walked out as they were talking about buying rounds?

They’d know they should never go out drinking with you.

One student pointed out that if we need a trigger warning because money is tight then we’ll need them all the time in this cost of living crisis. If you hadn’t spotted that money can be difficult by now I don’t think that lecture was going to give the game away.

Professor Dennis Hayes, director of Academics for Academic Freedom, lambasted the university for insulting students.

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He said: “There is an endless list of things now said to be triggering or are labelled microaggressions.”

I saw an activist say that microaggressions are actually worse than aggressions. They’re not, are they? They’re smaller. No-one has ever tried to mug someone at the threat of rolling their eyes and tutting.

However, I am not heartless. If this university thinks that offering to buy someone a drink is potentially triggering and could leave them feeling upset, I promise to only think about myself in the future. You’re welcome.

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