1. The guy who is SO into whatever he’s doing tomorrow:
For the purpose of this article, we’ll call him Kevin.
Kevin stands next to you, overtly disengaged from any conversation and making you feel far too aware of the amount of silver tequila you’re pouring. You have to say something:
“Cut me off after three of these, okay?”
“No problem, I can’t drink too much, I’m going wakeboarding tomorrow,” he says.
He wastes no time. He takes the first opportunity at an inorganic leap in conversation to tell you how much wakeboarding means to him.
“Oh, you wakeboard? No way. I went to Lake Powell one year and tried, but I never could clear the wake.”
Kevin laughs way too hard at what wasn’t really a joke, eager to tell you how he was a natural. He’s hoping to validate his passion in an obscure water-sport that will end when he tears his ACL, and to differentiate himself from whatever it is you do by never asking.
This conversation becomes an uncomfortable feast, you’re dropping plates of food in front of Kevin and he’s eating too fast to say “Thank you.” The song changes and you give Kevin a casual, “Be right back/Nice to meet you.”
2. The guy who is too old for the party:
We’ll call him Will.
You join the communal sing-a-long as you approach your friend, offering him a much-needed break from the his feigned maturity in conversing with Will.
“A playlist isn’t complete without this one,” you say,
Will seems to have no idea what song ‘this’ is; he’s wearing borderline club attire with a shaved head to hide his receding hairline. Your friend eases the transition by saying, “This is my coworker, Will.”
You shake Will’s hand and he smiles and gives you an ‘Oh, to be young, I’m older than everyone here so I have to feel out of place or else it’s creepy’-look. You throw back the rest of your tequila tonic and shake his hand. “Uh oh, you know what that means. Guys, shots?”
Your friend’s eyes widen in agreement and he grabs Will’s shoulder in camaraderie: “Yes! Will, come on. You have to.”
Will smiles and shakes his head towards the ground like he’s been there before. “I wish I could, guys. Take one for me.”
You and your friend laugh, both at the fact that Will reestablished himself as ‘older’ and for the hope this shot ensures you’ll never end up like him. He’s not a bad guy and it’s not his fault he has no hair to let down, it’s just that his observational engagement in the party feels weird.
3. The Libertarian:
Usually named something like John.
“How do you know that guy?” you ask.
“Family friend, I definitely didn’t think he was coming,”
John interrupts your pouring of the shots with, “That tequila isn’t imported, is it?”
You think you’re gonna like John. I mean, he’s at least cooler than Will at this point. Your friend gives him a ‘This guy!’ back-pat and you laugh in an attempt to join the enthusiasm. Taylor includes you in his inside-joke reception, “This is Senator John.”
God dammit. Just when you thought this shot would free you from the seriousness that was Will, John’s here to tell you why he’s a libertarian. John didn’t go to a prestigious school and thinks that exhausting you with his ‘unique’ point-of-view will show those rejection letters what they’re missing.
Maybe you can deflect his political affinity by acknowledging one of his heroes. The three of you raise your shot glasses and before anyone can say anything, you say, “To Ron Paul.”
“Ron Paul,” says your friend.
John nods in solidarity and as soon as you all exhale from your shots, he says, “I think you meant Rand Paul,”
Part of you wants to pretend you have to pee, but fuck it, you know your way around this, “We have to take another one, another one for Rand!”
“Let’s run it back for Rand!” Another three shots poured.
4. The Evangelical:
An adorable blonde approaches and you pretend that last tequila shot didn’t make you cringe. “Guys! That’s it, I’m cutting you off after that,” she says.
“You can’t deny a patient their medicine, that’s malpractice,” you say.
The Evangelical (named Katie) gives a disapproving smirk and your friend tries to redeem your statement, “Katie, if there was ever a time, that time is now. Take a shot with us.”
She gives an admonishing, sober look of disapproval while she gloats in her overly-composed self. You glance at her attire and realize the disturbing truth; she’s some sort of evangelical zealot who reaffirms her restraint by surrounding herself with drunk people.
“You know I don’t do that,” she says.
“Oh, come on. Just one?”
Her eyes twinkle in delight at the opportunity to — once again — deny something she’s established as a product of the devil, which fuels her smug satisfaction in knowing she’s walking the righteous path towards eternal salvation.
Deep down she struggles to get past the face-peeling smiles, convulsing fits of laughter, and palpable liveliness she’s refused, which is dumb and annoying as fuck. Why is she even here?
“No. I don’t need alcohol to have fun.”
5. The Humanist:
“But I doooooo,” Hannah, alias The Humanist, says as she moves her hips seductively towards the filling station.
Finally, an non-judgmental partygoer. Her flowing brown hair tucked behind a Native American-patterned headband that can barely contain her free-spirit. She notices you. “I’m Hannah.”
Your heart sinks in submission of her radiant self-awareness. Your friend pours everyone another shot of tequila. Katie rolls her eyes and walks away and Hannah gives a look that’s the exact opposite of Katie’s. “Hey!” she says, pointing at you. “You never introduced me to your friend,”
Hannah’s eyes melt your soul and you realize this is the first time anyone’s asked you anything. She’s perfect. She’s the escape you’ve been waiting for all night. You tell her about yourself and she’s genuinely interested in your life. You all cheers as the song changes. “Oooh!” she squeals. “Another, hurry; before this song ends.”
The fact you’ve had six shots in half an hour doesn’t even approach your consciousness. She reaches into the purse that’s slung across her shoulder. “Do you guys want to smoke?”
She could’ve asked if you wanted to murder the neighbors and the answer would’ve been the same: “Yes.”
She gives you greens because she’s awesome, and you hand it back to her in gratitude. You steady yourself by placing your hand on the edge of the balcony and check your feet and realize your feet aren’t even moving, but gravity has since pivoted 90 degrees. Damn you, Hannah.
“Thanks, Hannah. I’m gonna go pee really quick, I’ll meet you guys back inside.”
Everything has changed; this is barely the same party. You try to close the bathroom door casually and Katie smiles like the Grinch, knowing your fun is up. You turn on the sink to muffle the sound of your vomiting into the toilet and wake up on the bathroom floor in the fetal position.
Squinting your way out of the bathroom, you see Hannah smoking a bowl after she’s helped clean the place. “Finally! Let’s go get breakfast burritos,” she says.
Because to Hannah, the party. never. ends.