St. Patrick is definitely up there on my list of favorite saints. He’s the patron saint of my distant homeland, he rid it of snakes, and he is the most notable Catholic advocate of excessive drinking. In fact he might be the only. And in even more fact, he might not condone alcohol at all. But either way, when I wake up every March 17th, it is with eager anticipation for a very long day of alcoholic beverages.
For college students across our great nation (and hopefully Ireland), St. Patrick’s Day is the ultimate example of turning an otherwise mundane holiday into a massive excuse to drink a lot of beer. However, if I know St. Patrick (and I like to think I do, as I went to CCD every Sunday until I was confirmed) there are def some Do’s and Don’ts for his high holy day.
DO: Wake up bright and early to celebrate the most wonderful college holiday of life. Even if you need to go home and go back to sleep (or chug some green food-colored Red Bull), it is imperative that you wake up by 7 am and wait in line to get banded. If you have an incredibly doting boyfriend, someone who owes you a huge favor or access to fraternity pledges, even better; they can wait in line for you while you get in some practice time for green beer keg stands. Why begin your long day of drinking so early? Because many other Irish (or pretend Irish) revelers have the same brilliant idea, and the line at your fave campus bar will only get more and more massive as the day goes on. Additionally, the brilliant owners of said bar have probably caught onto this trend and will be charging increased admission by the hour as the late risers, class-attenders , and the generally slow people who didn’t yet realize it was March 17th trickle in for some Irish Car Bombs. Even if you have to start celebrating St. Patty’s at midnight the night before and stumble into a cab at 6, wake.up.early.
DON’T: Plan on rising and shining with Bailey’s and coffee to prep you for the long and exciting day ahead. You need an incredibly balanced meal if you intend to make it through the entire day. This means preparing your stomach for gallons of artificially colored beer, God knows how many shots of whiskey, and a very real possibility that your diet for the rest of the day will consist of nachos, ice cream, a hot dog and McDonalds. A healthy balance of protein, fruits and veggies and a whole lotta carbs should help you start your day right. Think spinach/diced ham omelets (green eggs and ham anyone?) with whole wheat toast and limeade. You might even suggest an early morning feast of all things green before heading to the bars. Here is a great recipe for a traditional Irish breakfast. And if all else fails, just add green food coloring to whatever you’re making.
DO: Plan ahead. The night before, after you’ve got your awesome-ly green outfit locked and loaded, decide which bag you’ll be carrying (or hitting strangers with, or leaving in the ladies room…) tomorrow. Make sure you have a bottle of ibuprofen, like Advil, for killer afternoon headaches (it’s slightly less dangerous to mix with alcohol than acetaminophen, but either way don’t down the whole bottle.) Don’t forget mints in case you meet someone with a real Irish accent (don’t be fooled ladies!). And definitely grab a pack of these bad boys to avoid green teeth syndrome; it’s real and it can affect even the most vigilant compact checkers. Bring plenty of cash for emergencies, plenty of shamrock beads for enthusiasm related emergencies, tissues (even though there’s no crying on St. Patrick’s day), sunglasses and SPF if your bar of choice is outdoors, body spray if you don’t particularly like reeking of cigarettes and other people’s sweat, and your fully charged camera and cell.
DON’T: Even think about driving. Anywhere. Due to your intense level of inebriation (in case you weren’t aware that this is what your ultimate goal should be on March 17th of every year until you become a “grown-up”), this is kinda obv. But just in case you’re slow to catch on: DON’T DRIVE ANYWHERE. Not to the bar, not to get banded, not to get cheese fries and certainly not to pick you roommate up from her various places of shacking. This is stupid A) because you will hopefully be as drunk as me, and I’m never in any condition to drive on national holidays and B) because even if you aren’t, everyone else is. So break open your piggy bank for fare, collect cash for a ride rather than pizza, or just grab your best friend and jump into that hot guy’s cab. Don’t know or don’t think you’ll be able to remember your local cab company’s number? Go to www.cab4me.com and either program a number into your phone or call them now and arrange pick up/ drop off times.
DO: Map out a game plan to the best of your abilities. Have a general idea of where you want to go on St. Patty’s—having this set ahead of time will avoid a long battle of House Party vs. Bar. vs. Frat House vs. Denny’s every time you try to re-locate. If you know that you and three of your friends will want to be at a certain bar for the majority of the day and your guy friends at another, plan on leaving together and meeting up at specific times to avoid anyone being left by themselves. It might seem like unnecessary planning and you’d think it would be more fun to wing it the day of St. Patty’s, but you’ll thank me when you know your best friend is at her co-worker’s party and not off doing a jig with some random creeper.
DON’T: Intend to include classes in your schedule for St. Patrick’s Day. It falls on a Tuesday this year (major bummer for those of us with only Tuesday/Thursday class schedules), but you’re better off skipping than trying to go. If your professor doesn’t take attendance, sweet. Just e-mail them ahead of time to let them know you won’t be able to make it to class that day due to extreme drunkenness (but I’d replace drunkenness with something more acceptable, like fatigue or malaria) and ask them what material he or she will be covering. If your professor is a stickler for attendance, save your sick days up for St. Patty’s. If you absolutely feel that you need to go to class on St. Patrick’s Day, then the responsible choice would be to leave your green tinted partying until after you are dismissed. If you are considering hopping back and forth between the campus bar and class, ponder these lessons I’ve learned: It is not fun to sit in fluorescent lighting with a headache. While sitting still for a long period of time it becomes very obvious how frequently you have to pee (to your prof and classmates also). No one will laugh as hard as you at your T.A.’s “jokes.” Most importantly, it is never acceptable to try to bum a cigarette and then go outside for a “smoke break” while your prof is lecturing. Just don’t plan on going to class.
DO: Pace yourself. Going crazy with the Irish Coffee too soon is the easiest way to ruin your day (also the easiest way to spot freshmen). St. Patrick’s Day is all about relishing the freedom from snakes that Irish people enjoy every day, and celebrating the snake-free zone you are currently in by partaking in a whole day of festive drinking—not an hour or two of intense whiskey pounding. You will find that while the occasional chugging contest will leave you pleasantly tipsy and proud of your new green top hat (soon to be stolen if you have my luck with hats and drunk people), participating in each and every chugging contest will leave you only with green vomit. Gross. Know your limits. If that means nursing the same Natty Lite for an entire hour, so be it (just bring a coozie). Don’t feel pressured to catch up with friends who’ve been at the bar all day if you’re just getting there, and don’t try to cram 4 hours worth of drinking into the first 15 minutes you spend out of class on St. Pattys.
DON’T: Forget that you are only in college once and can therefore celebrate any holiday with binge drinking without being ridiculed by society. That being said, be as responsible as you would be at any other large social function revolving around drinking. Go ahead and eat that entire bag of Cheetos in the corner; no one’s watching (no one that will remember). Today is a great day for karaoke in line at the grocery store and by all means pinch the a**hole who isn’t wearing green.
[Photo courtesy of lessthanmrt on Flickr]