Last night, I went to a party. There was drinking, loud music, dancing, and shenanigans. It was a really great time, a really successful shindig in my book.
I have been to not-so-successful shindigs before and it seems that the best ones meet three criteria. No fighting, no vomiting, no rape (attempted or otherwise). I know. That’s pretty much a list of things you don’t want to happen at any time. That was a really successful trip to the grocery store because there was no fighting/vomiting/rape! That was a successful funeral because there was no fighting/vomiting/rape. That was a really successful lecture on ancient runes…you get what I’m saying. The thing is, while those three events are undesirable in nearly all social interactions (unless you live in ancient Rome => then it’s kind of a Tuesday), they are most likely to occur at a gathering of adults where alcohol is a factor.
Why? Well, the simple answer is that drinking leads to bad decisions. We know this. We have seen countless after-school specials on the subject. We have seen the photo reels of kids who didn’t make it home. Our attitude towards drinking speaks volumes about our culture. We are a very legislated culture, preferring to outlaw instead of educate. So the message in big bold writing is that drinking is bad and kids can’t have it because only adults can handle it. Thus, when a kid turns 21, the goal is to imbibe as much as humanly possible, and frequently beyond that limit. Then there is fighting, vomiting, rape, and spending the next twenty years wondering just what happened and who has your underwear.
Anyway, back to the party. I was the designated driver for my husband, which is usually the deal because I don’t like beer and it was a beer tasting after all. I should have mentioned sooner that my husband is into craft beers and he and his friends host get-togethers where the point is to try a wide variety of specialty beers. At the end of the night, he had only consumed around 40-45 oz, but most of it was a pretty high alcohol level (10.5-11%). This is part of the reason that the party met my criteria.
I have been to parties that were thrown to blow off steam, so to speak. That means that the point was to get drunk, maybe make up for a year of being deployed. But that wasn’t really the point. It was to hang out with friends, share stories, relax, and be ridiculous for a while. Someone usually got sick at those parties, yet there was never a serious worry of any danger. Those are your battles. You get sick, they take care of you, hold your hair, get you water, take you home, or give you a bed.
I have been to parties where there were fights. They always start out funny. They never end that way.
At this party, the drinking went slowly because people were savoring the beers. There was no desperate air from a need to hook up or get trashed. There was no pressure to chug your beer to show how awesome you are. Beer to those people was not an avenue for destroying inhibitions or fitting in or having a good time. Beer was a delicious beverage that they wanted to share with as many people as possible.
Ugh. I’m trying to come up with a good opinion column and this just isn’t fitting together. Maybe I’ll just b*tch about the parking.