Drinking with Ben: The Rules

Today’s the big day. The day that I will either rise to greatness or go down in a blaze of glory as I try to keep up with the sassy office bitches during a very long night on the town. Did I forget to mention that our plans start at 430pm and lead into an open bar after-party that goes until 3am? Right. ‘Cause they do. And that can only mean one thing…..utter devastation.

In celebration of this monumental occasion of being dragged out of my suburban comforts for the sake of debauchery and public embarrassment, I thought I might put together a little guide of what it takes to make all this happen. That is, a collection of high maintenance requirements that must be fulfilled before I am ready to have a good time. And if you think they’re silly, just ask Tia who watched me violate several of the rules in San Diego and suffer the inevitable consequences.

Let us begin.

Two Weeks Warning – Yes. I know. We’re pretty much starting with the lamest of all my going out requirements. I mean, could I not have opened with something a little more gaytastic like requiring a professional hair-tossling as administered by America’s Next Top Model’s Ms. Jay? But it’s true. Generally speaking, I need time to warm up to the notion of being anywhere after 11pm besides my bed with two puppies crammed all up in my business.

This transition period is also used to adjust my food intake accordingly (less for gay bars, more for sports bars) and to repeatedly remind the newf of my reasons for not just sitting at home, getting take-out, and watching PVRed movies with him until we fall asleep. Which, to be clear, is actually a beloved Friday tradition and don’t you dare make fun because it’s awesome and you suck.

Predetermined Transportation Arrangements – Cabs here are the shits. We live about 20 minutes from the downtown core and I have on numerous occasions been kicked out of cars by drivers who don’t want to bother taking me home. Which is illegal. And annoying. As such, I need to know how I’m getting to where we’re going, and how I am getting home before I even leave the house. Lucky for me, the newf’s favourite thing is picking me up when I’m hammered both because he thinks I’m more fun when I’m drunk (ouch…but…I get it) and because it means we can get fast food on the way home.

You know…in addition to the fast food he gets on his way home from dropping me off.

I’ll be sad when he has his heart attack.

Established and Agreed Upon Game Plan – Where are we going? Who’s coming with us? What are we drinking? Do we have a proper ‘going out’ playlist including several hits from the early 2000s, Overprotected and Lose My Breath? These are all questions that need to be answered before I can fully commit to the night out. Every detail missed is one that can be used to convince myself that UGH EVERYTHING IS TOO UP IN THE AIR AND I CAN’T DEAL WITH ALL THE CONFUSION AND OH LOOK MEAN GIRLS IS ON CABLE! MEAN GIRLS NEVER CONFUSES OR FRIGHTENS ME.

I work with incredible project managers every day so you seriously have to do your homework here. My expectations are high. Bonus points if you can provide me all the information in a briefing package done up to make me feel like a spy. Just ’cause.

Pre-drinks: The Sour V – 1/3 Grey Goose, 1/3 Red Fanta, 1/3 White Grape and Peach, top with lime juice. Try it. Love it. Throw it up in the morning and wonder if you might be bleeding internally. It’s a lifestyle. And yes, the name was originally the Sour Vagina but Best Friend Nick and I shortened it because we kept getting grossed out. Especially after an ice cube cracked and jumped while I was taking a sip and it burst all over my face. True (and gross) story.

Buddy System – I’m a runner. Just when everyone is starting to have fun, I am gone. Remember that time you went to a party and your friend disappeared and everyone spent the rest of the night looking for her to make sure she hasn’t been raped and left to die in a ditch? Yeah. That’s me. Whether I get hungry, tired, annoyed, bored, or distracted, my first instinct is to just leave and sort out the details in the morning.

Ask the newf about the time he had to chase me on foot across all of downtown Ottawa while I drunk-dialed my friends to tell them that I was lost (I wasn’t), alone (I wasn’t), and afraid (I wasn’t). Or, ask Tia about having to patrol a gay mexican dance bar, asking strangers if they’ve seen a lost Canadian.

This supervisory role is also responsible for making sure I don’t make unattractive facial expressions as I have been known to do.

Meal Prior. Meal Post. Meal Post Post – Ummmmmmyeah. I pretty much only drink so that I can consume gross amounts of calories guilt-free. Why? Well, aside from the delicious and regrettable food, let’s go back to the disaster than was July 4, 2019.

Tia and I went a full day with about half a meal between us before going out with California Gays. MISTAKE. I knew I was going to throw up about half a drink in. Why? No meal prior. Next mistake, not eating the burrito that I made Tia take me to go get before I went to sleep. If I had, maybe I would have only been sick once or twice rather than retching for six hours. No meal post = morning death. In Halifax, we have a magical place called Pizza corner – an intersection with a pizza joint on three of the four corners – that must be visited before I can go to sleep satisfied.

Lastly, the night must be followed by a debrief brunch. This has less to do with bad past drinking experiences and more to do with I want Hollandaise all over my face at all times.