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Party smarter, not harder

Brooks Smith | Thursday, January 14, 2010

 It’s a new decade! A completely arbitrary marker on a calendar which will nevertheless cause you to resolve to become a better person, which resolution you will halfheartedly keep for the first three weeks of January. In this spirit of semi-enthusiastic self-improvement, I have drawn on my considerable and hard-earned experience with social gatherings to bring you an exhaustive breakdown of how much to drink at parties. Each of the three cases below describes a party type and its corresponding, tried-and-true drinking strategy. Sláinte! 



The scenarios described in this article are for professional drinkers of legal age, and should not be attempted by anybody, or else I will get ResLifed, as well as several starving Kenyan children. Please, think of the children.


Case One

You know nobody. All the lessons your parents have taught you about moderation are pure bull excrement. Steel yourself for the social ordeal which awaits you by drinking to excess.

Of course, anybody can drink a lot; but, how much of too much is enough of too much? You may have had enough, but still not have had “enough,” if you catch my drift. There are two schools of thought on how to achieve the desired result. The first, recommended for mathematicians, physics majors and engineers (the ones most in need of this advice), is: Calculate how drunk the other partygoers will be, differentiate to find the maximum, and aim for twice that. The second is simpler and recommended for A & L majors and other mathematical illiterates: After each drink, ask yourself if you still care. If so, take another drink.

Console yourself in the morning, over six glasses of water and several ibuprofen, by remembering that there are no consequences; that somebody (possibly even you!) got a good story out of it; and that you can’t get pregnant if it’s your first time. 


Case Two

You know people, but not well, and are anxious to make a good impression. (Note: if the second part of this does not apply, you are in Case One and should drink accordingly.)

In general, this is a tricky case, requiring a great deal of individual discretion. I am concerned you do not have this, since you are perusing a newspaper column for life advice. Is it better to remain sober and convince all the drunk people that they have made a bad impression, so that you are ‘one-up?’ Or is it better to attempt to become so hilariously drunk that everybody loves you and you have made friends for life? If you are seriously considering either of these options, you are dumb and do not understand the mechanics of human interaction. I tend to favor a strategy which has occasionally served me in good stead: Drink less than everybody else, so that you can securely laugh at the antics of the drunkest. 


Case Three

You know everybody at the party and everybody is your bestie, your BFF, your biffle, your [insert already dated “Juno”-esque slang here]. Since everybody here at the party is best friends, there is no motivation for anyone to impress anybody else, and no tension which needs dulling with alcohol. I suggest a quiet game of Risk or Monopoly, or perhaps curling up under a blanket with a few seasons of “Golden Girls” or “As Time Goes By.”

On the other hand, if you and your friends are not lame (again, you’re checking a newspaper column for life advice, so I don’t make any unwarranted assumptions), you should get hammered to taste. Perhaps you should make some sort of game out of becoming intoxicated — say, attempting to throw ping-pong balls into little red beer-filled cups, or watching the “Sex and the City” movie and taking shots every time Carrie buys or name-checks an expensive article of clothing. Either way, the festivities of the party should revolve around alcohol and alcohol accessories.

If Case Three is being done correctly, you and all your friends should be soaked in a warm golden glow of light — and not just of the Natty variety. You are, at this moment, as close as mere mortals can become to achieving heaven on earth. You are in that rare state of connection with everybody in the room known as: Friend Nirvana. All systems are go, all frequencies in sync, all of you will wake up in the morning feeling like P. Diddy.

A helpful tip from this writer: At or just after the peak of such a party, you and your friends should find a party where you know nobody. Rest assured, Case One will apply.


Brooks Smith is a junior math and English major at Notre Dame. He can be contacted at [email protected]

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not 

necessarily those of The Observer.