I scoffed when I got a mock award at the company holiday party for “Most Likely to Hate Myself After the Party” and then proceeded to black out, miss my flight the next morning, and FaceTime a dozen colleagues while lying on the ground in the Southwest terminal on standby as a method of gauging the severity of my offenses hours earlier.
The award was earned. I am so irritated with myself, burping up tequila and playing this guessing game at 33-and-a-half years old. I almost want to get fired and start over somewhere else.
What concerns me most is sexual harassment. This era of swift comeuppance for douches is great, although my morning oatmeal will never taste the same again without Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning. With it comes a certain amount of introspection.
On a Fourth of July five-ish years ago, I had a girl in bed while blacked out. There might have been a little penetration, but I’m not sure. The one flash of memory I have is her telling me to stop, and I definitely did. We were joking around the next morning in the kitchen while I was fully nude in front of her and still drunk, so I thought we were fine.
But we traded some texts with the gist being she had no idea how she ended up in my bedroom or what happened in there. And she wasn’t happy about it. That’s really scary. I know how physical and aggressive I can get when breaching a threshold of inebriation. I ascend to this manic state of love and can’t seem to get close enough to people, to the point where I literally want to be inside of them.
Ninety-nine percent of the time the antics are directed at dudes and generally written off in good humor. But that 1 percent is a mortifying risk. Sexual tension and impulses are an ever-present element of drinking. There would be no bar culture without that underlying dynamic, the way our inhibitions and libido creep in opposite directions with each mounting drink. Men have primal urges and thoughts too personal to share even on this blog. I don’t trust myself blacked out.
One of my few fragmented memories on the party bus was forcibly wrapping a coworker’s legs around my hips and pumping him like my favorite gas station on Aviation and Manhattan Beach Boulevard. I shudder to conjecture what might have happened had my victim been female. There is a rightful gender asymmetry when it comes to this sort of thing. I routinely address a handsome male colleague with “Hi Beautiful” and accept that I cannot do the same thing with a woman, even though there are lots of beautiful ones at work and I personally think it would be nice to give a compliment in a non-objectifying manner.
Thankfully, I usually keep that presence of mind even when out-of-my-mind drunk and focus my attention on dudes. You can get away with a lot under the guise of bromances. I straight up hit on multiple guys at the party. I was particularly creepy with a programmer I don’t even know, talking about how I was checking out his pictures for the website and admiring the versatile ways he can look good. I mean, you can imagine a predator doing that to a young intern.
I lost count of how many times I brought my wife up to a coworker and prompted her to rave about how good-looking he was. They probably thought they were being propositioned for a threesome, which I would not do, but if we had to for some reason, it wouldn’t be that bad. I also likely got more touchy and handsy as the night progressed, and the thing is people who don’t know me can’t tell when I’m blacked out because I still enunciate with a decent vocabulary.
If just one of these interactions were with a female, it could have been a very bad situation. That’s why I was calling people in the morning, to take away some of that fear of the unknown. Nobody seemed to be even mildly offended, so that provided some reassurance. But it was a small sample size, and when you play with fire too much…
Moderate, social drinking probably would yield more fun or at least certainly more memories of fun. But that’s just not how I enjoy vices. I don’t want one cookie or piece of cake; I need the whole jar or row as fast as possible. Just a taste is nothing more than a tease. I want to consume it until I find it disgusting. I had three double-doubles from the In-N-Out truck at the party and would have put down five had the bar not been so distracting.
I would rather not drink at all than just a little. I can go months without the slightest craving for alcohol, but when it’s time to party, I want to effing rage. This is why I don’t do drugs.
The “everything in moderation” adage is overused and overrated. You wouldn’t lick a turd in moderation. I don’t want to hit the gym in moderation. I want to go all the time, so I can feel sexy when lifting my shirt at these parties. And I don’t really want to drink moderately at them. I just don’t want to black out and make a mistake I will never be able to moderate.
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