Drinking alcohol, of course, is a big part of college. From a cultural stereotype, words like “beer” and “shots” and “kegstand” and “$12 handle of vodka in a plastic bottle” are buzzwords of the collegiate experience. But also, really, college students do drink a lot – in most cases too much – during the four years of the experience.
In college, this is considered somewhat acceptable. But of course, as with anything, there are rules – and they differ from what’s considered okay outside of a college campus. For adult life, I assume there are rules as to how drunk one may get at an office holiday party vs. on vacation vs. out to dinner with friends. But there are different rules for college and I think, anthropologically speaking or something, they are kind of interesting. In no way do I condone binge drinking (it’s a problem, actually), but genuinely, from a sociological standpoint I think these norms are pretty fascinating.
[Finally, I am not providing metrics here, because it's different for everyone and also because unless you are exclusively drinking beers from a can, I think everyone is wrong about "one drink" is and no one in the history of colleges or elsewhere has ever consciously measured the ounces of vodka they are consuming.]
Anyway, on to the good stuff:
The first kind of drunk that college students experience is bar drunk. Bars are usually only half-dark, in that they have the lights on enough that you can’t be a slobbering fool. Also, the point of bars is to consume drinks (which is not the point of clubs) and usually the procurement of said drinks in bars is fairly easy. Usually, people are pretty conscious of the amount of consumption in the bar, because drinks are purchased and poured by bartenders – not into plastic red cups with reckless abandon. You may act silly, but you do not “black out” at a bar.
Then there is lights out/club drunk, which means it is dark enough that people really start to act like fools. At events taking place in a nightclub or otherwise dark venue (fraternity basement, warehouse, whatever), also, it’s usually harder to access drinks. And said drinks tend to be sketchy punches that no one wants to imbibe. Thus, drinks are frequently consumed before the fact, resulting in accidental excess. Also, people forget what the hell is going on when the lights are off.
Another kind of drunk is hanging out/sitting on the couch drunk. This usually involves beers, glasses of wine, laziness, and television. It is similar to adult drunk. Usually embarrassing situations do not result. Dance parties may occasionally ensue.
Probably the worst kind of drunk is house party/frat party with the lights on drunk. This would be known as freshman drunk. This is what they portray in movies, and really good TV shows like Greek. In the background, people are playing beer pong and flip cup. People are wearing backwards caps. Kegstands are practiced, mostly for effect. The dancing is awkward. One or two underclassmen are noticeably the drunk people, and they are ridiculed.
A rare kind of drunk is formal event drunk, which is sort of a combination of the above drunk. Think date parties, holiday parties, “crush” parties, whatever. Usually formal events provide an open bar or a cheap cash bar. People range from tipsy to drunk. Usually things start out pretty tame, getting progressively sloppier as the hours march on. Some people feel uncomfortable and go home.
Finally, when the appropriate age comes around, there is with parents drunk, which is otherwise known as, a half a glass of red or a beer with Dad should do the trick.
[Photo via Thinkstock]