The Saint Patrick’s Day Survival Guide: How to Make It to Midnight (and Live to Tell the Tale)

Posted: March 14, 2012 in Prav vs. Holidays

Keep an eye out for leprechauns this weekend. In case you don't know what they look like, here's a helpful image.

I harbor a great deal of fondness for March 17th. For 23 years now I’ve shared a birthday weekend with old Saint Patty, and for two (cough*six*cough) years now I have taken full advantage of the festive temperament surrounding his day of days. In fact, I’ve always felt a slight magnetism towards Irish culture, whether it be through the sport of rugby in college, or now via my career as I apply to medical schools in Dublin, Cork and Galway – there’s something about this weekend that just gets me. Yes, the beer is green, the people are jolly and the streets are overrun with Irish pride, but there is one thing that holds St. Patrick’s day to a level of fun beyond that of your average holiday:

Day drinking.

To some it may seem archaic, a practice lost in the annals of collegiate tomfoolery. I, however, see it as an art, one which can only be perfected over years of trial and considerable tribulation. While the average Friday night asks little in the way of mental preparation, a one and done burst of fun, day drinking requires tact, planning, and most importantly, a thorough understanding of your body. Now I’m no Vegas-poolside, bikini-clad “actress”, but over the years, I have accumulated a small wealth of knowledge on the art of post-meridian pleasantry. So whether it’s been one year since college, or ten, here’s a sure-fire way of making it to midnight – my guide to conquering Saint Patty’s Day, slightly abridged:

i. Eat a big breakfast: despite being the sport of frat-boys and homeless people, drinking can be boiled down to a very precise science. Your ability to imbibe alcohol is based on a number of factors such as body weight, natural ability to break down alcohol and practice imbibing alcohol. One thing that also helps is how much you’ve eaten. Eating a large breakfast will not only slow the absorption of alcohol throughout the day, but fuel you up with energy to power on when the going gets tough. Don’t be afraid to crack open a few eggs before you hit the bar scene in the morning; your body will thank you for it later.

ii. Plan your day around your night: losing sight of your evening plans is the first mistake of the amateur day drinker – the seasoned partier achieves optimal fun without sacrificing his/her nighttime shenanigans. Curb your enthusiasm for the Bud Light– or risk missing out on the good stuff later.

iii. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: some people drink water intermittently throughout the day; I, however, prefer to hydrate WHILE I dehydrate. Pick a refueling drink that is low in sugar and high in electrolytes (rum and coconut water is delicious, not too sweet and chock full of hydration value); knock one of those puppies back every third beer and avoid the 6pm crash. If your bar of choice happens to have a mirror, feel free to wink encouragingly at your reflection periodically – positive reinforcement supplements the hydration nicely.

iv. There’s no shame in a nap: a 20-30 minute mid-evening nap is the perfect pit stop on your way to a fun-filled night. Any shorter and you tire more, any longer and you risk sleeping through the fun. This is best taken at 6pm, when your melatonin levels begin to spike. Remember: there are no heroes in day drinking, ‘powering through’ gets you nowhere but your bed at 8pm. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Napper’s warning: AM and PM are not the same thing. Adjust your alarm clock accordingly.

v. Designate a drinking buddy: the biggest challenges are most easily tackled in tandem. Just as it is with working out or studying, it’s always good to stick with a spotter to give you that extra ounce of motivation when you need it, or put up the stop sign when you don’t. Frodo had Samwise, Skywalker had Solo, even Eddie Murphy had [insert B-list white actor here]. The buddy system works, people, so make use of it. Besides, if you’re gonna fall short you may as well drag someone down with you. Literally, if you’d like.

Drinking Buddy Selection Tip: pick someone who knows your facial expressions, drunken habits and general mannerisms quite well. The best drinking buddy sees the problem before it fully presents itself.

vi. Avoid lines: St. Patrick wants you to have fun – so don’t stand around waiting for some power-tripping bouncer to decide whether you’re cool enough to get into an East Village dive bar that hasn’t been properly cleaned since March 18th of last year. Good friends and good beer are all you need to celebrate the 17th in true Irish fashion. Write that one down on the hand before you go out; alcohol may cause memory loss.

vii. Know your rules: we’re adults, whether or not we choose to accept it, and nothing kills a good time like a petty crime. So before you go out this weekend, know your city’s policy on open containers, noise violations and public displays of physical prowess (i.e. wrestling in the streets). Be courteous to all, even those slightly lamer than yourself. I don’t have enough money to bail you all out of prison.

viii. Acknowledge cultural significance: the United States tends to lose sight of St. Patrick’s Day in a wake of green beer generated by the Anheuser-Busch party boat. Don’t forget that this is a day to celebrate the culture of Ireland, and all the joy that it has given us. Wear green or you will be pinched, also feel free to watch the Ireland vs. England rugby game at noon (it’s kind of a big deal this year). If you don’t understand rugby, just stand in between two people who do and follow their lead; most of it is just incomprehensible yelling anyways.

So there they are, tried and true tips from a slightly-less-than-seasoned veteran. Have a safe and fun-filled weekend! If you’re in the New York area, I recommend The Ginger Man on 36th and 5th. 3pm. Just sayin’.

Free beer for all the ruggers,

Prav

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