Is alcohol merely a social lubricant or is it becoming the glue that holds our social lives together? Movies like The Hangover, Superbad, and Project X – just to name a few – glamorize the act of getting completely belligerent. I can vividly remember my mother explaining to me, as I watched an alcohol-fueled fight on MTV, that this was not real life. I nodded in agreement, but wondered…then why did they call it “Real” World? We are a generation that drinks for sport.
Drunken text messages from the night before are plastered all over the internet for laughs, pictures posted of sharpie mustaches drawn on those unfortunate souls who “couldn’t hang,” and catching a DUI charge is so common it’s almost a rite of passage amongst certain social circles.
I fully recognize that I am only speaking for a certain portion of people, and there will always be the exceptions to the norm. I went to school with plenty of non-drinkers, and I realize that there are those people out there. But I’m looking at what seems, to me, to be taking over mainstream culture – and that seems to be alcohol. Lots and lots of alcohol. I wonder sometimes if our generation even knows how to socialize without it. Looking around at the couples I know that are my own age, a disproportionate number of them met one another in a bar. How else could they possibly have the nerve to approach someone they’ve never met before? And I couldn’t tell you the last time I went on a date that didn’t involve alcohol in some sort of regard. How unbearable it would be to have to sit through the awkwardness of a first date without having some sort of alcohol present to help loosen us up.
Admittedly, we are not a generation known for our impressive communication skills. Why should we have to work on our ability to socialize in person? We have so much technology linking us together. I know about my friends’ vacations before they even make it back to town, because I received Snapchats the entire time. As soon as my best friend can sneak away to the bathroom on a first date, I get a text message telling me how things are going. I’ve already seen my college roommate’s newborn baby on Facebook, so I don’t really need to stop by the hospital and say hello. I am kept up to date on my friends’ lives in real time. So by the time we see one another in person, what else is there to catch up on? Maybe we drink so much because we don’t know what else to do together. I would venture to say it’s about damn time we figure something out.