Columnist Kenny Thapoung offers advice on consuming alcohol en masse in France.
“Dude, I completely blacked out last night. What did we do?”
“Yo bro, you got me. I was just as crunk as you.”
Sounds familiar but without the ‘brocabulary,’ right? Yeah, not so much in Paris.
No matter how many mediocre, anti-alcohol films we watch or the number of alcohol-related–sometimes deadly–incidences we hear about, most of us will chug barrels of Natural Ice and throw back shots of Vladimir at some point in our lives–unless you’ve sworn off booze for reasons I can’t even begin, nor want to, comprehend.
Admit it: We’ve all had those belligerent nights when alcohol gives us the liquid courage to make complete fools of ourselves, but we all behave differently.
Some people can quietly sip their beer and monitor the crowd, judging all the way. Others believe that “how are you?” and “thank you” are fighting words.
And then there’s that girl or guy. The person who thinks they’re super fun, super hilarious and the inspiration behind the movie, “Animal House.” But really, they’re obnoxiously loud, disheveled and the poster child for Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab.”
You could call that person Kenny.
Like any Temple student, I’m always down for a good house party along 18th and Berks streets or a fraternity dance session if I’m desperate. And because I haven’t taken a math course in like, what, three years, I can’t count how many drinks I’ve had beyond my 10 fingers.
Let me put it this way: Alcohol and I are “The Jersey Shore’s” Ronnie and Sammi.
Now I’m in Paris where the wine stores post, “We do not serve under the age of 18” signs. I’m 20. Let’s go.
On any given day, whether it’s a school day or weekend, my Parisian friends and I are always down for a good French happy hour that usually begins at 6 p.m. and lasts until 9 p.m. or 10 p.m.
During this time, businessmen unwind from their long days at the office, women catch up on their frivolous gossip and Americans get hammered, of course.
I decided to venture out to the Marais, the gay district, alone for some mental stability and a leisurely guy cruise. I sat myself down and immediately ordered a super-sized Heineken for 2.80 euros. I love happy hour.
And because it takes me less than a 40-ounce bottle of Hurricane to get buzzed, I was sloshed by the time foam fizzled at the bottom of the glass.
Did you know it’s my dream to find a nice French guy and get married in Paris? Well, here’s my chance. So I hit on the closest moving obstacle at this gay bar full of beautiful French men–two Norwegian women.
Needless to say I went home fiancé-less that night, but these two women and I were having a blast tossing back “Sex on the Beach” cocktails and Mojitos. When we asked the waiter to bring another round, the bar’s owner came over to us.
Apparently our cackling and full-moon howling had disturbed the neighbors who lived above the bar. (Side note: What would you expect living there?) Not only that, but the people at the surrounding tables were embarrassed for us as they fingered the rims of their glasses.
While everyone else’s bills were probably less than 10 euros, I rang up a 25-euro tab. Not bad for a Parisian outing, but considering I was “casually” drinking alone on a Monday night, a life re-evaluation may be in order.
For your dignity and wallet’s sake, chill out on the booze intake, especially in Paris. Unlike Carlisle Street, or as I like to call it, “teenage wasteland,” you won’t find people face planted on the floor here unless they’re homeless.
The French don’t need to consume a ton of alcohol to have a good time. Conversation and friends make an occasion an event in Paris.
For me, I’ll stick to my shots, beer and blackout nights. Judge me.
Kenny Thapoung can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.