The frats’ worst nightmare: A party girl’s guide to sobriety
So there’s a flamin’-hot, bangin’, b—-in’, booty-droppin’ rager this Friday night, and everyone just HAS to go. The theme doesn’t suck *cough*, you already have your outfit planned and that beautiful specimen of a man in your Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies class will be there. You want to go. But here’s the catch: You’ve decided to be sober. Maybe it’s for health reasons, maybe it’s for religious reasons, maybe addiction runs in your family, maybe you’ve been forbidden from touching the evil spirits, maybe you’re trying to just obey the law, maybe you’re like me and every time you get “lost in the sauce” you end up alone in your room at 2 a.m. sobbing because alcohol’s a depressant (and you might just be a little depressed to begin with). Maybe you’ve identified alcohol as a negative coping mechanism, and you want to give yourself a chance to find a positive one. Some might think this decision of sobriety is the fatal shot to your social life, but that just isn’t true. Just because you’re sober doesn’t mean Ursa’s Nite Life is your only nightlife. I may do a lot of puzzles, and weeknights might be sacred introvert me-time, but I am indeed a vicious, belligerent and sober party animal.
Ryan Hamilton, in his Netflix special “Happy Face,” quips about living his life having never consumed alcohol. Hamilton describes his friends thinking, “We all got together, and we realized that you’re going to remember most of this. Now, we’d rather you went home, if you don’t mind; we don’t want to take a little black box with us on this disaster that’s about to occur.” As sad as this bit is, it’s a stark reality. When people realize that you’re about to soberly watch them possibly make an a– out of themselves all night, they feel preemptively judged. It’s a “we’re all sober or we’re all drunk” attitude, and zero advantage is preferable. Yes, I get it, but this fear of judgement is something to work around.
First step on the party girl’s guide to sobriety is: Don’t tell anybody about it. Yes, maybe tell an accountability partner when you first decide to be sober, but don’t announce it before you go out, while you’re out or even after you go out. Covertness is key in this scenario. To make your operation as clandestine as possible, you have to play the part. If you don’t want to be encircled by people telling you to have a drink, or accosted by kind individuals offering you a token “pity soda,” just don’t tell anyone that you’re not drinking! There’s a line between being sober because you are the elected responsible one and being sober because you want to be—and he two can be mutually exclusive, if you’d like them to be.
Second step is to look the part. Have a marginally filled drinking receptacle on your person at all times. It’s the perfect way to not be offered booze. I personally prefer energy drinks as they keep away the fatigue and are renowned chasers. If your cup is clear, then the tonic has to be questionable in color. Say you bring a pink lemonade bottle, filled with just pink lemonade. Someone might ask for a swig—and you should let them take it. When they give that “whaaaat… where’s the alc?” look, just say, “It’s mixed with Everclear, I can barely taste it,” except you should probably yell that sentence while dancing chaotically, then moonwalk away. Be sure you do the right kind of dancing, though. I understand, you’re sober, and maybe your inhibitions haven’t artificially dropped, but you have to act like it. A lot of exaggerated frowning while looking down and booty dropping or hip swiveling should do the trick. To keep up the authenticity, when “Mr. Brightside” comes on go absolutely apes—. It’s a clear sign of inebriation—and So. Much. Fun. To that same point, don’t dress like you’re sober. Have no qualms or fears with your outfit. It needs to be ballsy and exude a fearless attitude. No sweats,or slippers; that only works if you’re obviously drunk or obviously sober, two things we’re not going for.
Final step is to leave when the clock strikes 12 (sometimes 1, if you’re lucky). I don’t necessarily agree with all of the lessons Cinderella tried to teach me as a child—like marriage being the solution to all of my problems, for one—but this midnight rule is actually relevant. After midnight, all your friends have either gained drunk independence and split into groups, gone off with their own Prince Charmings—or there are the ones who are still there, missed the “leaving” memo and about to need some extreme babysitting. I’m not telling you to leave your friends in a precarious situation, but tie up all of the loose ends, track down whoever their buddy was supposed to be and dip. This might involve you walking a couple of people home or calling some pumpkin carriages, but the point is that you don’t have to stay at the party. There’s a difference between staying and playing mom all night, and staying long enough that the people who actually need your help get it. It shouldn’t be your responsibility to make sure 20-something people don’t die—and if it feels like it is, you might need to have some hard conversations about responsible drinking.
The point of going out is to have fun and to meet people. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice that social outlet because someone arbitrarily told you that you can’t have fun without alcohol. Make your own truth. If alcohol’s not for you, recognize that and have a butt-ton of fun anyways. Someday, you might run into someone just as sober as you are. Or you’ll get punched in the face by a hand holding a Natty Light. All in a night of the sober life.