From Happy Hour To Sunrise: The 9 Stages Of An All-Night Bender

As my good friend once said “sometimes you just need to let loose and dance.” And while I’ll probably continue to make fun of him for all of eternity, his statement is most definitely a Grade A Wisdom Nugget. Particularly after the long #grind of the week, it’s generally important that we prove to ourselves that our life isn’t a sham, and that we’re wholly capable of maximizing whatever it is we were sent on this earth to maximize.

Oftentimes, this sort of humanistic hedonistic justification manifests itself by going as close to the edge as humanly possible. The edge meaning the brink, the brink meaning that shot in a movie where you’ve got your arms around your friends, limping home in the backdrop of a sunrise. Clothes ripped, coolly drenched in sweat, the experience so uplifting nobody’s looked at their phone for hours. Though only cause half the group has lost theirs.

A. Happy Hour

Unless you live in Washington DC, this will merit a special occasion. Whether it be the end of a grueling week, a recent promotion, or a meetup with a friend that’s been long overdue, happy hour drinking is oftentimes purpose-backed. Purposed-backed socializing has a funny way of setting “we need to have X amount of fun” quotas. You could of course accomplish this through great discussion, and/or a general appreciation of existence via bonding over a shared self-actualization socio-cultural vehicle (i.e., Crossfit), but the easiest way is definitely through alcohol.

And even if $5 shooters isn’t a “deal,” the label of happy hour means that it’s technically a “deal.” You’re cheap if you don’t indulge. And you’re not cheap, because this is one of the occasions–due to the previously mentioned social gravitas–that you’re not allowed to be cheap. Of course, these sorts of events tend to come up every third day now, but apparently that’s a problem for another night.

B. Cheapish, Gobbled Up Food

The happy hour will lead to a sort of slap-happy super-buzz. The sort where you feel thoroughly wasted, but only because you don’t have enough food in you/can validate that joke about having no tolerance anymore. This will lead to you and related company getting “suddenly starving,” and proceeding to gallivant to the closest food establishment with a “$” on yelp. The heavy hittaz here include pizza, the post-Quinzos era sandwich carousel (Potbelly, Cosi), and of course, Chipotle.

You’ll proceed to eat with the fury of a 15 year-old private school girl who just discovered what drunk food is. About 10 minutes later, you’ll be hungover.

C. Back At Home

The momentum accrued from the happy hour has come to a resounding halt. Here is where you plop down on the couch, turn on Dodgeball (dudes) or Real Housewives (girls), and seriously consider just packing it in for the night. It was a good run, but you’re not as young as you once were, and maybe it’s time to see what it’s like taking it easy for once. But thankfully or unthankfully, your PiC and the induced obligation of it being a night that (a. was supposed be celebrated, (b. might be the night

The playlist is forced upon the room, and your friend strategically puts on Sugar, We’re Going Down, which is for some reason a song that mandates both of you have to yet again level up–otherwise the bond forged by said song is obsolete. And if that happens, you may as well flush any sort of remaining life optimism down the toilet.

Netflix is resoundingly not an option. There’s no going back.

D. The Extended Pregame

Probably the most important part of drinking ALL night is situating oneself in ever-changing environments. Stagnation breeds fatigue and fatigue breeds waiting for an acceptable time in the conversation to inject that you think its time to call it a night. Pregames therefore must build like a game of jenga, with the landscape changing RIGHT before those blocks come tumbling down.

The key then, is organically staggered arrivals. First, it’s you and the happy hour friend/group of friends. That moves to a few more buds–the ones who aren’t in the main rotation, but serve as great energy players for social situations (these are the ones who will be instrumental in keeping the night going). Following that, it’s the opposite sex clan. It all builds, and then it builds some more. Reference to electronic music-making formulas.

E. In Da Club

All-night benders require a certain type of “get on my level” energy, which sadly cannot be accomplished by any place that the music is at a tolerable level, and beer is the primary drink of choice. Rather, they require men and women alike to physically and emotionally interpret the contents of an Usher song.

Oftentimes the best call is to find a place to absorb the oontz-oontz surroundings via mixed drink consumption. If you’re the type of person who gets off on unanounced pokemon references, consider this the going out equivalent of “focus energy.”

F. L.L.A.D.

As my friend from the first sentence in the article noted, sometimes you just gotta Let Loose and Dance. Very much the point of all of this, because here’s where the memories are made. Here’s where your friend gets up close and personal with the dude who lost his virginity at a Goo Goo Dolls Concert in 1996, or the girl who has an impressive celebrity hookup resume.

Everyone’s officially exited the judgement-free zone. Upon re-entering the next day, the tales told will make for excellent, excellent fun.

G. After-Hours Bar

You feel like you could LLAD for days. But just as you’re groovin right along, something will happen that will force you to GTFO RTFN*. Common violations generally include:

  • Needing to get away from a freakishly persistent and sexually provactive stranger.
  • Annoying a security dude so much, you’re five seconds away from getting punched in the face.
  • You have a person in your entourage who enjoys starting fights.
  • Someone got white-girl wasted and everyone must drop what they’re doing, despite this being little to none of your concern. **

But because the energy is still maximized, it’s not yet time to call it quits. Enter your nearest shit-hole that serves sour-tasting beer, is occupied primarily by old men, and exclusively plays country music. They’ll have things on their menu like $2 burgers, and champion an overall smell that may lead one to believe a there’s a dead guy in the basement. Things are recapped here, and the wind-down commences with some beers.

*For those who scored lower than 600 on the LOL ABBREV section of the SATS, “RTFN” = right the fuck now.

**Guy or girl, this should never really happen after age 22 or so. If it does, significantly less needs to be done.

H. The Diner and/or McDonald’s Breakfast

The last time you ate was almost twelve hours ago, and the sudden wave of hunger that hits you at the after-hours bar can’t really wait to be quelled. Depending on crowd preference you’ll go for one or the other. Both will do wonders for the ensuing hangover. And both will be conducted in the sort of silence that isn’t at all awkward, but rather strangely magical.

I. Passed Out, #Couchside

You’ve made it all the way back, but somehow the bed is just way too far away. The couch will have to do. And you’re out faster than the time it’ll take to finish reading this sentence. Thought Catalog Logo Mark



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