Recently, a friend's little brother turned 21. Like most people, he overdid it on the booze and while recovering from his epic hangover, he asked my friend if people rage hard when they get older. Little dude, the short answer is: "Oh HELL Yes." We just do it differently.
I don't profess to know it all, but I do have some advice that will save you a lot of time and embarrassment. Here are the 25 things you need to know about drinking after you turn 25.
1. You have nothing to prove. If your friends are still impressed by you being able to drink yourself to that point where you do that awkward sway move, get new friends.
2. Hangovers ain't nothing to [bleep] with. Remember those days of pulling a late drinking session, sleeping a few hours, then getting up and being productive? GONE. No kidding, I recently had a hangover that lasted two and a half days. That's almost an entire work week lost.
3. If you're the couple that gets drunk and fights, break up. At a certain point, people will just stop inviting you places.
4. No one cares if you smoke "only" when you're drinking.
5. Like your degree and SAT score, your college drinking achievements no longer matter and should never be brought up in conversation.
6. You don't have to do that bomb shot.
7. You shouldn't be hanging out with anyone whose go-to drink is a bomb shot.
8. Don't bring your drink onto the dance floor. Sure, you can handle yourself, but what about that jerk who knocks the glass out of your hand? Now the party is bummed AND you don't have a drink.
9. Keep sparkling wine in the fridge. There is no greater joy than a mimosa you didn't have to put clothes on to drink.
10. All those magazines have you convinced that a quality wine knowledge is the mark of a civilized modern urbanite, but you know what? Screw them. Drink whatever you want and don't pay out the butt when you drink it.
11. Buy good beer. You spend like $50 on dinner now, so stop drinking like a sophomore. (Note: This rule goes out the window during St. Pat's day weekend.)
12. Procure the spirits and tools for a serviceable home bar. A serviceable home bar should include at least the following:
>>A cocktail mixer
>>Either lime juice or lemon juice
13. There ain't no shame in going to a bar by yourself. Bring that book you've been meaning to finish.
14. Wristband deals aren't ever worth it.
15. Neither is the free food buffet.
16. If you're still patronizing the same bar you've been going to since (insert one-hit wonder that was popular when you were 21 here) was relevant, stop.
17. Weddings = ragers. If your close friend is the one getting married, rage harder. If you're in the wedding party, rage hardest. (Don't get sick.)
18. If you hook up with someone only when both of you are drinking, then you aren't "dating." Sorry.
19. You don't have to take the Malort shot ...
20. ... unless you've never had it before. Then you have to take the Malort shot.
21. Stop drinking booze endorsed by rappers and reality stars. It won't make you cooler. You know that.
22. Drink with your parents. Better yet, drink with your friends' parents.
23. If you have a party, I don't care what you have to do, but there better be some music at that party.
24. The person who brought the Jagermeister is the one who ruined your bathroom rug.
25. When you go on vacation, factor hangover time into your activities. You won't be hiking that canyon—who do you think you're kidding?
Take these lessons to heart, friends. Especially with Blackout Wednesday on the horizon. Nobody wants to be the person still hung over at Thanksgiving dinner.
Ernest Wilkins is Chicago's wingman.
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