An Expert's Guide to Safe and Happy Drinking

Dear Littles and Germinates:

Nothing ruins my night quicker than four shots of vodka poured in my lap … especially when accompanied by a fast food teriyaki burger, a large shake and whatever else you downed before coming to my party and puking it back up. Talk about faux pas.

I firmly believe this reputedly dull and studious student body harbors intense desires for all-night action, but I know full well that many arrive at UCSD without ever having tasted the heady brew of the college party, much less the head-spinning brews offered there.

You can party, friends and frosh, without getting knocked down or knocked up by the more seasoned carousers out there.

This is where I come in.

Want to survive the winter quarter flurry of fiestas? Then study (and clip and save in your wallet) this, my guide to the ins and outs of nonsober partying. It’s the next best thing to me holding your hand all night long.

Select a designated driver.

This noble soul holds the wheel, holds the money, holds your hair back while you puke.

The “”DD’s”” job is not just to drive but also to take care of everyone. A DD can prevent you from unwanted vomit stains, glasses of bongwater, and syphilitic pregnancy from unprotected sex with that beer-goggle-enhanced sweetie from Delta Sigma who promised he had his tubes tied last summer.

Be not half assed.

Don’t experiment with DDs who get to drink for an hour and then sober up.

Do pay your DD’s way, including gas money, cover charge, food and dry cleaning. No matter how considerate you are, your DD will indubitably get the shaft, even if the car is an automatic.

Don’t volunteer to be the DD unless you have the right temperament to do all the work and enjoy it.

Don’t drink alone. This applies when you are “”partying”” alone in your room, and when you are going solo to a big bash, and especially when no one else in your group of friends is drinking, toking, snorting, what have you. I’m not going to go into the whole “”addiction warning signs”” spiel. Just don’t be that dork.

Mix your own everything. That glass, reefer, capsule or brown bag of fumes everyone else is passing around might be a notch or two past safe volume for your brain. If everyone, or even just one really cute smiling person says, “”It’s OK, go for it. You can handle it,”” that’s a sure bet that you can’t.

Learn your tolerance levels at home. Do not explore uncharted territories of substance abuse while on the unfamiliar ground of a party. It’ll only end in tears and stains.

A helpful biopsychology tip: Some aspects of tolerance are environmentally related, so when you party at someone else’s pad, try a slightly smaller bucket of scotch.

Leave with them that brung ya. This is generally a good idea when your group is sober, and a potential matter of death and life when some of you are not. It is a matter of death because you might stupidly get on top of something, fall off, and die. It is a matter of life, because you might stupidly get on top of something, not fall off, and make a baby.

You do not have to use substances to enjoy the party.

Actually, this is a lie. Some of you do have to use substances to enjoy the party, and that is sick. It is also boring. If you cannot party while sober, you need to stop drinking and get some counseling. No joke here. If you can party sober, make sure to try it while drunk, too. It is a dizzying experience not to be missed.

You can party sober and enjoy yourself more. I am drunk at parties a lot, but I am sober much more often. It sucks when you are the only person who can talk to the strange drunk girl who got left behind by her friend and pissed in the host’s bed, but this has only happened to me once. There are three advantages to sober partying.

First, someone you know will definitely do something embarrassing while drunk and spend the rest of the year trying to forget. When you are sober, you get to do the reminding!

Second, your odds of dying from alcohol or drug overdose, or getting beat up by someone bigger and meaner go way down when you are sober.

Third, speaking of going down, it is true that mind-altering substances provide a loosening effect that can grease the gears of the awkward social dance that is the random hookup.

But while it might be harder to make your move, making out with that other sober partygoer is bound to be much more rewarding, on account of the fact that you both will know what you are doing.

This beats the hell out of awkwardly hitting on your ex-girlfriend, which I have never done enough times in one night for anyone to prove it.

This concludes the unsober partying tutorial. Go forth, get trashed, but try not to multiply — unless your checkbook really needs balancing.

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