Tuesday, July 7, 2009

My First Time Getting Drunk

By Josh Cain * Other Josh Cain Posts

Like many Americans youths, I first got drunk in a college dorm. Unlike most, it happened at Harvard University, a school I did not attend. I was playing a rugby match against Harvard but, being a freshman and the littlest Rugger, I was excluded from the social events attended by the big, strong guys who didn’t have their playing time defined by the requirement that everyone get to play for a few minutes. After an unusually good game for me (my highlight reel included missing a catch and slipping on some mud), I ended up going out on the town with my roommate, Evan, and a rag-tag band that included Evan’s nerdy friend Iggy, Christian farmboy and fellow bench-warmer Gabe, and Terry, a hallmate and rugger who should have been out with the cool kids but for some reason wasn’t.

Our team thus assembled, we set out to enjoy our weekend in Cambridge at a Harvard room party. Up to this point I had never been drunk, as my high school social life of playing video games and being afraid of girls would not have been greatly improved by alcohol. On this special night, though, the combination of an exotic location, relative safety of a dorm, and encouragement of my friends had created a perfect storm that promised to soon see me washed up on the sandy shores of Drunktown.

My mental image of the festivities - hot chicks lounging on expensive furniture sipping brightly colored drinks with umbrellas and/or sparklers - was savagely dashed by a room full of average looking individuals clutching forties. When I announced that I was intending to get drunk, a tweed-clad Harvardian thrust a bottle of cheap vodka at me and attempted to engage me in the group’s discourse on the philosophy of Kant. I responded by loudly exclaiming, “You know what movie was awesome? Rush Hour 2!” There was an awkward silence and I was left to enjoy my beverage in peace.

My first sip was predictably heinous, but I managed to soldier on and consume enough booze such that my walking was impaired by the time my friends announced that the party was moving. Our host’s promises of “awesome ragers” resulted in a series of treks to increasingly uninteresting room parties. During our pilgrimage, Evan, a strapping young man, announced that he needed to pee and immediately undid his pants in the middle of the street. Terry and Iggy quickly followed suit, and thus the public urination commenced. I stood nervously at a distance, planning to dash at the first sign of trouble. So concerned with being brought up on the permanent record besmirching charges of public urination and underage drunkenness, I failed to notice our hosts receding in the distance. By the time it was concluded, we were alone. Our Harvard friends either didn’t realize we had stopped or had seized on the opportunity to finally be rid of us.

Isolated and inebriated, we stood in a befuddled daze until Gabe came to the rescue. “I heard them say they were going to a party on the 3rd floor of that building over there! Or maybe it was the 4th… Whatever, Let’s go!”

Shambling our way up the stairs, we arrived on the 3rd floor and began knocking on doors. The first few yielded no response and, as our hopes of continued mediocre parties faded, we reached the last door on the floor. I politely knocked and the door creaked open. Looking back at us were a trio of attractive girls with confused expressions on their faces. “Um…is the party in here?” one of us asked. “It is now!” they replied, throwing the door open wide.

We entered and were greeted with a fairly typical college suite. There was a decently sized common room with a couple couches, lightly strewn with empty beer bottles and pizza boxes, a door that led to what I assumed was a bedroom, and a bathroom. Despite my inebriation, I was able to notice and comment on the fact that most of the girls seemed to be wearing some form of Penn State apparel. “Oh we’re just visiting,” one of them said, “we don’t go to Harvard.” Within minutes we were playing a make-out game.

My adolescent fear of the opposite gender had managed to conquer the effects of the alcohol, so rather than participate I instead began talking to the anemic guy sitting in the corner, so thin and pale I had not noticed him upon my first survey of the room. At just barely over 110 lbs, he told me in a high-pitched, wraith-like voice that he was a security guard. I stifled laughter and asked him why he was there. “Oh, one of those girls is my sister,” he said, indicating one the people engaged in a round of “Suck and Blow”. The temptation to guffaw was again resisted.

During this brief distraction there was a whirlwind of activity that settled into the following scene: Terry and Iggy vanished into the bedroom along with two of the girls; Gabe standing around looking troubled and clearly thinking of his hometown girlfriend; Evan on the other couch, flagrantly making out with the remaining girl. As Gabe and I stood agape at his activities in the only common room in the place, Evan turned to us with a look of disgust, and said, “A little privacy, guys?”

Always an obliging individual, I walked through the open door of the bedroom that my friends had disappeared through moments before to see what Terry and Iggy were up to. It took me a second to identify the pink, writhing mass on the bed: my friends and the two ladies I had just met, all four of them topless. Terry and Iggy were each making out with a different girl, side-by-side. Before I could fully appreciate this feat, Terry disentangled himself, slapped Iggy on the back, and said “Yo, switch it up,” at which point they elegantly exchanged partners. I began to laugh, but realized I had a much more pressing concern as I dashed to the bathroom to vomit.

Unprepared for the explosive nature of my expulsion, I managed to soak a large portion of the room in the remains of my Chinese dinner. Luckily I had enough presence of mind to find the paper towels and begin cleaning. During my cleansing of the bathroom, Evan began banging on the door telling me how he “really had to go.” I finally got rid of the evidence and allowed him to burst through the door and commence befouling the bathroom in much the way I had done moments before. Unlike me, however, he remained clutching the toilet bowl, whimpering incoherently. Terry seemed the most at home in the chaos, so I politely interrupted his orgy and requested his assistance. Terry came to the bathroom and began giving Evan water and generally nursing him back to health. I contributed by saying things like, “Hahah…look at Evan! He sure can’t hold his liquor!” as I discreetly hid the paper towels I’d used earlier. My running commentary was cut short when I was told I was “not helping” and was sent away.

As I re-entered the common room, the sounds echoing from the bedroom reminded me that, with the subtraction of Terry, the gawky, bespectacled Iggy had been left in the bedroom with two very excited females. Not knowing what to do, I sat next to the security guard and engaged him in conversation. “So…your sister’s pretty loud, huh?” Another awkward silence ensued.

Eventually Evan regained the ability to walk and, with our hosts concerned about his health and threatening to call an ambulance, we retrieved Iggy from his male fantasy and lumbered out into the hall, still somewhat delirious from all that had happened. As we walked out, I timidly spoke up. “So...uhm…is it always like that when people drink?”

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