Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Like I'm 22

I take issue with Taylor Swift. On one hand, I'm a grown ass man who shouldn't be affected by the music written for the screaming teen masses. On the other, the bitch gets it. I was completely obsessed when her first album came out. I was pretty positive Invisible was written about the boy I loved in High School and still hadn't quite gotten over, I hate cried to Teardrops on my Guitar more times than I should really admit to publicly, and I'm sure my roommates at the time probably found my daily shower performance of Picture to Burn pretty tiresome.

Out of shame, I resisted the second and third albums pretty hard (but I'll be damned if I don't still choke up to Love Story). I bought the fourth album in a moment of weakness, blinded by my infatuation with I Knew You Were Trouble. I of course fell head over heels for every single song on the album, but none more than 22. That's where the trouble started.

I talk a lot about how I'm a bad grown up, but the one thing that has definitely (thankfully) matured as I've gotten older is my drinking and partying habits. That's not to say I don't go out and get drunk still, but I do it a hell of a lot smarter, and I have different goals in mind when I do.

That is until I added 22 to my "Gettin' Pumped" playlist. It comes on, everything shifts, and all of a sudden I do start feeling like I'm 22, and my plans for the night shift.

Here's the thing, 22 year old Chris didn't always make the smartest decisions. In fact, if we're being completely honest, he was a f#%!ing idiot. He took us to sketchy after bar parties that someone else had to then try to get us home from. He got us cut off by bartenders. He had no qualms about aggressively making out with people in public, and he was pretty sure that we knew all of the choreography to Avril Lavigne's Girlfriend (we didn't).

However, the lessons he's taught me have helped me become the well adjusted, fun loving, life of the party (attention whoring, kind of selfish, bossypants) that I am today! I recently started looking back at these lessons learned, and am hoping that I can help some of my younger friends avoid embarassment and shame by sharing some of the drinking rules I've developed.

If you feel like you're going to puke, you're probably going to puke. Find a bathroom.

For some reason, every time 22 Year Old Chris thought he was going to be sick he thought he could talk himself out of it. Here's a thought, moron, try talking yourself out of it while leaning over the toilet. I learned this lesson the hard way, and on more than one occasion ended up covered in my own vomit. The most epic of which happened at a house party full of friends from work.

We had partied pretty hard the entire night, I had learned of a hidden talent for flippy cup, and I'd finished almost an entire bottle of cheap coconut rum. I don't have much recollection of how it happened, but I'm told that one second I was lively and engaged in the conversation, and then suddenly I was quiet and withdrawn for about five minutes before I puked all over the kitchen floor we were sitting on. I of course then crawled through it to get to the sink to finish the job (are you proud of me, Mom?). 

The next morning we sat in the dimly lit living room for a few hours before deciding we needed sustenance and heading out to Old Country Buffet. It wasn't until we'd gotten out of the car and were walking into the restaurant in the harsh light of day that I looked down and noticed I was wearing the same pants I wore last night, you know, the ones I'd drug through the puddle of my own sick. 

And somehow I was still not the worst dressed person at the OCB that day.

Now if I feel like I'm going to be sick, I peace out and go home where I stand over the toilet and spit out that metallic taste that always comes before you puke. If I'm not close to home or a bathroom I find the nearest spot that will require the least clean up. Like the street.

TCD in the VOB 2011
If your friends say they don't want anymore drinks, leave them the hell alone.

I don't know what it is about being 22 and thinking everyone can drink on the same level as you, but when you're a 6' 3" 200lb man, odds are your much smaller girlfriends aren't going to be keeping up (my friend Chelsea will always, always, always be the exception to this rule). 

"Be my girl, get on my level!"
This lesson was learned after an especially horrible game of Shot Glass Checkers. I won (but we were all losers that night). My tiny waif of a friend took every shot of butterscotch schnapps (wtf?) that I put in front of her and four hours later lost her McDonalds #3 on the carpet next to my futon. So at 4am I was stumbling down the aisles of Wal-Mart shopping for carpet cleaner and air fresheners that I took home, dropped next to my still vomiting friend, and said, "Here, take care of it." before going back to bed. 

We're seriously lucky she didn't asphyxiate from the 30 Glade air fresheners I insisted she put out.

Drink clear drinks, and don't wear white.

This one is a tough one for me because two of my favorite things are pastel colored beverages and getting super tan (like crazy, stupid, tan) and wearing light colors. I woke up one too many mornings to find my shirt looking like Monet's Water Lilies, however, and made the switch to dark colors or prints that will hide whatever drink I slop all over myself while waving my arms emphatically on the dance floor.

Don't ever get that haircut again, either.
The colorful drinks were a harder habit to break. The stains weren't quite enough to stop me, I've got Shout that will take care of that. No, to learn that lesson I had to vomit blue from 2/3 a bottle of UV Blue imbibed in an hour and a half (the last time I touched the stuff). I switched to vodka soda and never looked back. Fewer stains, less gut rot, and I just feel classier asking, "Stoli, soda, lime wedge?" 

Plus all the calories I saved cutting out flavored vodka, sugary mixers, and grenadine I get to use to use on mini tacos at 3am. 

- Give no f#%!s.

Going into predominately straight bars, in a small community, as an obviously gay man (I've never been able to hide that shit) used to cause me quite a bit of anxiety. I kept quiet, kept to myself, and kept a watchful eye. It was exhausting. After a few years of this, I realized how much more fun I could be having and decided to quit giving a shit what people thought. So now every time I walk into a bar I hear RuPaul's voice:

I've had a few idiots shout things at me, but they usually back down quickly when they realize I'm not just going to slink away. Mostly I just get a lot of straight guys walking up to me, asking me if I'm gay, and then offering to hook me up with every. single. gay guy they know (and insisting that I look at Facebook pictures of them all).

As if I'll be interested in any other gay man they can find (Wait, how much money does he make?). 

- Giving a few f#%!s might not hurt, you still want people to like you in the morning.

My poor, poor friends have put up with a lot of shit, mostly perpetrated by 22 year old Chris. I've puked in a friend's car. I've thrown a drink in a friend's face. I've invited friend's out solely for the ride home (and I've not invited friend's out but still expected the ride home). The thing I became known for, though, was leaving  without telling anyone else about it. 

I did this a lot...I mean a lot. Like 3/4 times that we went out, I would either walk home or get picked up halfway home when my friend's realized I was gone. 
"No, I'm fine, you guys keep partying, I'll just walk home. If I take this spooky alley it'll get me back in no time. Don't worry about me. Who's that up there? Does he have a hook for a hand? No worries, guys, you go back and just have a blast." 
It usually happened at about one in the morning when I started feeling like I wasn't being paid nearly enough attention, so I'd wait until no one was looking and just leave (sometimes I had to tell them I was going to the bathroom to extricate myself from the group). If they didn't want to pay attention to me, they can search the bar for an hour for me while I go back to the hotel room and eat fettuccine with my fingers (true story). 

It's amazing people still talk to me.

- Don't drink out of anything you need two hands to hold.

Including, but not limited to, fishbowls, comically large wine glasses, directly from the bottle, buckets, mixing bowls, any drink with the word "mega" in its name, etc. 

This is the face of someone who will be breaking his phone and passing out in an alleyway.

- Vomiting and passing out are your body's ways of saving it's own life. Pay attention.

This was probably the most important thing I learned in my Sociology of Courtship, Marriage, and Family class. The professor stopped class one day and told us that if we didn't learn anything else in her class she wanted us to remember this bit of advice. It was completely unrelated to the topic we were speaking about, but it stuck in my brain, and anytime I feel like I'm getting sleepy or pukey, I get a sandwich and then get my ass the f#%! to bed.

So after all this progress I've made growing into a responsible 27 year old who knows how to drink, it's a little frustrating that all it takes is a ridiculous pop song to put me back in that terrible mindset. It happened last Thursday when a friend and I were going to have a nice chill night at The Wine Cafe doing karaoke. We would normally have a few drinks and then go home by midnight. I listened to 22 on the way to pick her up, however, and the night took a dramatic turn.

The trouble started as we were leaving the apartment to walk to karaoke. My friend casually mentioned that she knew some people going out to celebrate a 21st birthday who were starting at The Underground. My reaction was of course, "There's 2-for-1's there..." Stopping for one drink turned into 4, which turned into shots, which turned into a trip to The Haze (I reject the name change), more shots, a return to my favorite pink drinks, and so. much. dancing. 

It was the funnest relapse I've ever experienced, but I'm just not sure it was worth the shame (and the hangover) I felt the next morning.

I'll hand it to Relapse Chris, he danced like he was the best dancer in that place.

The morning brought a better perspective on what the reality of the situation probably was.


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