1. Be smart about money. I must just set aside a specific amount of money, in cash, and leave my cards at home. I can’t just give my drunk self unlimited access to my checking account, or those horrendous beeping lie machines commonly referred to as ATMs. It is well-accepted science that money stops being real at exactly 1 a.m., and it is at that very moment that your trip to the bar for another round becomes an episode of Supermarket Sweep: “GIVE ME ALL OF THEM, ALL OF THE ALCOHOLS. I HAVE A TAB OPEN.” I must avoid that part of the night where I convince myself that, feh, what does money even mean, anyway, and I’ll just make some tomorrow because how hard could counterfeiting possibly be. And, of course, I only live once. These kinds of mistakes are a sure recipe for finding myself tomorrow staring in anger and disbelief at my checking account as I berate myself for buying so many lemon drops for the girls I met in line for the bathroom.
2. Drink some damn water. It’s a pretty heavy demand, expecting myself to remember to put some water down my trap at three in the morning when I’m crawling into bed with my shoes on and thanking whatever friend bit the bullet and brought me home for being just such a wonderful person. It would require getting up, going to the kitchen, getting a glass, AND filling it with water — each task daunting on its own, together, it’s completely insurmountable. So I recommend that I leave a nice, big bottle with a fancy, Alice In Wonderland-style note attached saying “Drink Me” next to my bed. I imagine that I’ll wonder, upon seeing it when I get home, what nice little house elf put it there for me and whether or not I should lobby for their equal rights with us wizards. But no matter what I’m thinking, or what oppressed magical creature I think brought it to me, I’ll be happily swigging down my water (and likely dribbling half of it all over my pillow) as I drift off into a not-critically-dehydrated dreamland.
3. Make sure I have a way to get home. Whether it’s catching a bus, dashing to the metro before it cruelly, thoughtlessly closes its doors, having enough cash for a taxi, or hitting up the one friend who was selfless enough not to drink tonight (How does one nominate a Nobel candidate, again?) I must find a way to get back. No one wants to be that person who is standing outside the bar/ club at 2 a.m. with no clue where their friends went, no money in their pockets, a tenuous-at-best grasp on their surroundings, and a sad little dribble of Jager on their shirt. They become the lost little puppy of the people standing outside smoking, whose job it then becomes to find this little person a home. It’s essentially the grown-up version of when you’re a little kid and you get separated from your mom at the department store and you go into a psychological tailspin as the customer service lady repeats over the intercom: “Could a Julie Green please come to customer service? Julie Green. We have your daughter. Please come and acknowledge your spawn, and perhaps consider one of those humiliating child-leashes for future outings.” I can’t be that guy.
4. Do not drink if I am sad, remorseful, bitter, or angry. I know well enough by now that whatever emotion I’m experiencing before that first drink hits my lips is the one I’ll feel to the power of ten by the end of the night. Drinking essentially takes a magnifying glass to your feelings, and though we can occasionally experience that first-few-drink “happy drunk” where we no longer care that our boyfriend cheated on us with that horrendous girl from the salon, eventually we’ll get to the last-few-drink “sad drunk” in which all we can think about is how he probably only did it because she always looks perfectly coiffed and made-up, even when she’s out buying pads or whatever at the grocery store, which is just a ridiculous standard to hold any woman to because we all know the only women who attain it are the ones that work in salons and have constant, unyielding access to all things beauty and frankly, why is it that salon chicks always look so good and put-together when really they should look like clowns because no facial structure can truly support that much MAC and they dye their hair every other weekend and as far as I know, that is not good for the follicles and oh god why doesn’t he love me any more I have to pee.
This, all of this, must be avoided. And worse, if I stay home and don’t have friends to at least nod along sympathetically, I could end up drinking directly out of a bottle of wine while I cry and reblog inspirational quotes. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.
5. No matter what, I do not look as sexy as I imagine. There is almost nothing worse than that feeling when you’re walking around feeling sexy, buzzing super hard, swirling your finger around the rim of your glass and just knowing you’ve got it all under control — until you walk past a decently-lit mirror and see some kind of swamp creature staring back at you. Your makeup has migrated halfway down your face, your fly is open, the back of your hair is sticking straight out, and everything is stained with what is either sweat or alcohol. You’re just generally… humid… and not in the good way. So this time, I must remind myself that when I’m out, finishing up a 20-minute dance marathon because not one single Usher song can be missed, and I feel like I’m sex incarnate — look in the mirror. I am likely to find that, like most times I’m feeling so fly it hurts, the Viking trickster god Loki has gotten me again. I am actually looking like Tammy Faye Bakker under a heat lamp. Better to just touch up every now and again, I find.
Now I may not completely save myself from my own folly, but with these things in mind, I can at least get the basics down and just focus on having a good, safe, makeup-intact and tear-free evening.