A couple of months ago my humorless and uptight roommates kicked me out. Their list of my offenses was long, and included my general lack of cleanliness as well as times I had insulted them when I was drunk. When I insult people, it is out of honesty, I told them. I said this in all humility. I am humble and modest, deep down. If they wanted to attack me, fine, but kicking me out seemed excessive. The final and culminating offense was vomiting in the sink and leaving it overnight, and then the following day. I am a working man. I didn’t have time to get to it in the morning.
Fortunately, I have a girlfriend who welcomed me with loving arms into her house, where she lived with a group of giggly college girls. People who know me said this didn’t seem like the best arrangement, considering my temperament. But in addition to being modest and humble, I am open-minded. Kelley, Tracey, and Laura agreed to let me stay in my girlfriend Ashley’s room, and so I opened my heart to them.
However, I am honest with myself, and I noted the following objectionable features about them, despite the kindness they showed me: Kelley was one of those beautiful, full-breasted girls who acted like a bimbo, but supposedly with self-awareness, she implied, and deep down was actually really sharp, according to her and her girlfriends. Why act like a bimbo, then? Tracey also postured herself in similar ways, but with the difference that (I’m an honest man) she wasn’t very attractive, so I had to wonder just what these affectations were for. Laura was completely unlike the other two: a self-proclaimed feminist, militant, strident, easily offended. As an honest man, people who are easily offended don’t take well to me. All in all, they were an unlikely trio, but I observed that they all indulged each other and stroked each others’ egos.
I treated them with polite deference. I gradually became depressed and sullen. I missed living in my own place, and relations between Ashley and I were becoming strained. The memory of being kicked out burned. I took to drinking, sometimes with Xanax. Sometimes I drank with the girls. They liked to play drinking games while watching Project Runway and other reality shows. I tried to feel entertained rather than annoyed by their antics. Boys came by sometimes too. Kelley seemed to have lots of guys in her life, and Laura had a boyfriend who looked like a football player. I never confirmed whether this was true, but his big muscles and crude sense of humor gave me that impression.
Eventually, I decided to spend less time in the house, and went to the bar instead, where I could drink with my friends. I even extended the olive branch to one of my old roommates, who admitted that he always considered me a friend, but had had to kick me out. Between the Xanax and the booze, days blended together, time seemed compressed.
One night after a pleasant reconciliation with my girlfriend I decided to drink with the girls again. Kelley had decided to throw a lingerie party at the place that night, so people would probably be coming in droves. “You’re a liberated woman,” I said to her when she showed us her outfit. It was tasteless, shameless, crude — a little like her personality, I thought to myself smugly. I was already lit.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Laura demanded.
“That she’s owning her sexuality,” I said. Fortunately for me, my girlfriend’s roommates tended not to pick up on my irony, and regarded me as merely a sullen drunk. Ashley, however, gave me a mean look.
“That’s right,” Laura said.
Then Tracey came out and modeled her outfit, a lingerie-maid costume with frills and lace everywhere. I was in the middle of sipping my beer and almost laughed, but choked instead and started coughing. The girls all looked at me with worried expressions.
“I’m okay, I’m okay,” I assured them. “A little beer just went down the wrong pipe.”
“You look great!” Ashley, Kelley, and Laura all said. I didn’t understand them. If one of my bros looked that ridiculous, I wouldn’t encourage him.
“It’s very brave, very bold,” I said.
“And what’s your costume?” Kelley said to me.
“This is technically an underwear party,” Tracey explained.
“That’s easy,” I said. I unzipped my pants and pulled them off. I had on a pair of Joe Boxer boxer briefs from Target that said “this pencil is always sharpened” on the back.
People trickled in. Our university is a big one and Ashley and I didn’t have many friends in common so I didn’t know many of the guests. I had invited a few of my bros, but I knew they probably wouldn’t come. I sat in the corner on a recliner and drank beer while people chatted and talked. A few of Ashley’s friends said hello. I convinced a few of the girls to take a shot with me. One of my talents is inciting others to drink with me. I was feeling bored, aloof.
I overheard some girl talk between Kelley and some others I didn’t know. Apparently, Kelley’s latest boy was going to make an appearance at the party. She hoped something would go down.
Some of the guys insisted on playing beer pong, so a spot was cleared and a table set up. Beer pong’s not my style. I prefer to drink on my own terms. It was around this time a guy with a particularly flamboyant costume came in. He was wearing hot pink American Apparel briefs with matching socks and a head band. I could tell he loved having the opportunity to show off his body, which was slim and sculpted. The whole thing offended my sensibilities. He walked over to the kitchen where Kelley was making herself a drink and gave her a hug. I was beginning to feel bloated from the numerous beers I’d had, so I decided to head over there too and make myself something with my bottle of gin. If I want to keep going, I usually have to switch from beer to liquor.
“Hey, Kelley!” the douchey guy said.
“Hey Rob!” she said with an odd accent. I realized she was attempting to sound Australian.
“Hey, that’s a great accent you got there,” I said to her while I took some ice cubes out of the freezer.
“Real funny,” she said, maintaining the accent.
“Hey mate, how’s it going? Name’s Rob. And you?” he said to me, with an even thicker accent.
“Stan. Nice to meet you, mate,” I said, with my normal inflection. I took a swig of gin.
“Stan lives here with his girlfriend,” Kelley said, again with the weird accent. Among the things that particularly annoy me are girls who think it’s clever to speak in an accent when they’re drunk.
“Well, nice to meet you, cheers!” he said shaking my hand.
“You’ve got a good accent too,” I said.
“Yeah I haven’t been here long enough to lose it you know.”
He actually was Australian. Truthfully, all Australian accents, fake or otherwise, annoy me a little, especially when the person in question is wearing pink underwear. Good for Kelley. I wished her all the best.
I was getting into one of my surly moods. I went to Ashely’s room and found a couple Xanax.
When I got downstairs again Ashley asked me if I wanted to play beer pong on her team. “No thanks,” I said.
“Why are you speaking with an Australian accent?”
“Sorry, must have rubbed off on me from Kelley’s new boyfriend.”
“He’s not her boyfriend.”
“Well, he’s probably going to plug her.”
“Come on, Stan!”
I continued to sit in the recliner I’d claimed and watch the beer pong game. A few times I convinced people to take a shot with me, though I wasn’t averse to taking one by myself. It was getting late. Kelley and the Australian were on one team, and two people I didn’t know were on the other. She was hanging on him. He would get some action that night. I knew Kelley enough to predict that it wouldn’t work out. Either she’d toss him in the trash before giving him a chance, which I had to admit was probably what she should do with the snot-rag, or he would pull a quick hang and bang and get the hell out of there, realizing she was vapid and inane.
It was getting late. Kelley and the Australian had won a triumphant victory. I was really drunk. Everyone was cheering the two of them on, and I wondered how I’d found myself in this company.
“What’s the next challenge, huh?” the Australian asked.
“How about a chugging contest!” Kelley yelled in her mock-accent.
“Yeah, lets get Stan in on this!” Tracey said. “He can drink,” she added, this time with an accent.
I nodded my head to say no. I was flattered, but competitive drinking wasn’t my style.
“Come on, mate!” the Australian said.
“Okay mate, don’t have a dingo.” I got up reluctantly.
“What’s that?” the Aussie said.
“Something about a dingo.”
“I said don’t have a dingo, bro.”
“Alright Stan lighten up. I’ll get the beers,” Ashley said.
I was feeling shaky, on the verge of reaching my limit. The thing about my limits is, they don’t stop me.
“Alright, mate,” I said after Ashley put down two pints of beer. I knew this would end badly. But in the face of adversity, I keep drinking.
By the time I finished half of my pint, the Aussie was already done with his. That didn’t stop me from finishing mine. I felt a rumbling in my stomach. “Stan’s down!” Kelley screamed with delight. I lurched forward and puked, some of my vomit reaching both the Aussie and Kelley. I felt myself getting hit in the face, and blacked out.
When I woke up for a second I thought I was in bed next to Ashley, but soon realized I was in the corner of the room slumped against the wall. I had one thought, which was to find Kelley and the Aussie. I get aggressive when I’m drunk, and dignity is a sentiment I don’t concern myself with. I took a swig of gin. A black out is no cause to stop drinking.
When I opened Kelley’s door, the Aussie was banging her from behind. They hadn’t noticed me coming in, with Kelley’s gangsta rap playing loudly. The way he was going at it, with a cocky look on his face, disgusted me. I felt myself beginning to puke again. As I hurled I was able to cup some of it in my hand. “Hey, mate,” I said in my best Australian accent, flinging the vomit in his direction. In landed on his shoulder and on the small of Kelley’s back. Fearing another punch in the face, I ran out of the room.
This time when I woke up I expected to find myself on the party floor again with a swollen lip or eye, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was behind the bushes in Kelley’s backyard, where I’d evidently gone to hide. This was not one of my prouder moments, but I still felt that somehow, I’d come out on top.