Press play. It’s Friday night. Your friends are over, donning their tightest skirts or lowest-cut dresses, armed with a bottle of alcohol. In an hour you’ll take to the streets, covered in a liquid blanket that seems to render even the harshest Michigan winters inconsequential. Your friends urge you to drink more — and more importantly to hurry — and the music thumps in your ears.
Pause. You’re faced with an option — get as drunk as everyone else in order to enjoy the night, or walk into a party with a certain kind of anxiety that comes along with knowing everyone around you is on another planet. You brace yourself for the slow burn as you lift the bottle to your lips and drink until you cough, eyes watering.
Fast forward. Your coat has been tossed in a corner — remind yourself not to forget it, you always forget it — and you are jumping up and down, swinging limbs manically in a crowd full of people. Your friends have mysteriously disappeared, but that doesn’t matter because a cute boy has decided to be your dance partner. You don’t know his name, nor does he know yours. You dance in a way you know you’ll cringe at when you look back in the morning — all pelvic thrusting and pursed duck lips — but at the time you’re feeling quite good about yourself. His mouth finds yours and his sweat mixes with yours like a chemical concoction of salt water.
Stop. The screen goes black.
Play. You’re upstairs and no-named cute boy has you against a wall, entrapping your wrists between his hands. You think, ouch, that doesn’t feel too good. “I should go,” you say between his probing lips, but the noise is drowned out by the bass rattling the chandelier.
Fast forward. It’s morning — the sun blinds your eyes and you find yourself, by some miracle, at home in your own bed, wearing the clothes you wore the night before. You look around the room — you’re coatless but alone, thankfully. With a sigh of relief, you rise, woozy, close your curtains against the light of day and climb back in bed.
The screenplay seems as though it could be filed under thriller, but easily turned slasher film or horror movie had the night taken a different turn. However, for college students in what seems to be the Drinking Age, the movie is entitled Friday Night and is replayed every weekend.
Personally, when I see people stumbling around Ann Arbor on the weekends I can’t help but think of “Brave New World,” by Aldous Huxley. The characters in the book avoid living organically, trading in their pain and worry for soma, an intoxicating substance that eases all of the dystopic world’s ills.
“The warm, the richly coloured, the infinitely friendly world of soma-holiday. How kind, how good-looking, how delightfully amusing every one was!” – Brave New World
Like soma, alcohol does seem to make the world of Friday night ragers more appealing — the music pulses through you, the lights are brighter, your inhibitions are dashed and somehow you’re a way better dancer. Who wouldn’t want to be a better dancer? Plus, you’ve had a rough week. You deserve to go out and let loose a little bit, right?
Sometimes, when you’re sucked up into the world of college parties it’s hard to take a step back and remember the things you used to enjoy doing when you were having a rough week — if not getting obliterated with a bottle of vod and your mini skirt. A cup of warm tea, a hot date with your bed, your best friend and your favorite black-and-white movie, perhaps? Or a bottle of wine, good company, conversation and maybe some Sinatra? Relaxation. Pajamas. An early bedtime to catch up on all of that sleep you missed cramming for exams.
But I’ll have time for sleep when I’m dead, you cry in dismay at what sounds like a night of PG-13 fun. I’ll answer you with a question, you party animal.
When did a night full of dubstep, sweaty frat bros and seizure-inducing lights become the normative standard of a “fun night out”? Why is it that you need to be drunk in order to let loose and enjoy yourself? There is an entire world out there, ripe and ready to be explored if you weren’t so busy seeking out avoidance at the bottom of a bottle.
Paige Pfleger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.