Greetings once again my sweet readers! Wow, can you believe we are already on the fourth entry? Some of you have come to your senses and realized that I’m a moron and left, but others have stuck along for the ride, or maybe even are getting on this super lame train of pathetic life stories late, and either way: I welcome you.
For those of you who were around for last week’s post, you know that I just turned 21. Yeah! Alcohol! Drugs! Anal sex! Are those things 21 year olds do? I wouldn’t know! Inside of this fine-ass cellulite-laden body I am still a toddler. But anyway, I tried alcohol for the first time, and before I continue, I just want to know who exactly got this whole thing started. Okay, so I get that eventually you get a buzz (personally I just got the symptoms of a pancreas attack) (am I an 80 year old woman? maybe), but who in the hell tried this crap, thought “ah yes, my intestines are burning and my throat feels like I just poured motor oil down it,” and thought it was a good idea to keep going? I would like to experience being drunk, but not at this cost. The shots I had were one of the worst things I have ever tasted in my life, and I once accidentally brushed my teeth with diaper rash ointment. It’s not even like candy where it’s bad for you but it tastes delicious. Tequila tastes like poison. I can’t go through that again. I just wish I could bypass my taste buds and inject it directly into my bloodstream. That’s one thing heroin addicts got right. ANYWAY, all of that being said, I will probably do it again.
My experiences with finally drinking alcohol made me reflect back on a past of making up lame excuses not to, sipping on Hi-C while my close friends became alcoholics, and resisting peer pressure from my parents. (Because I know the question will inevitably come up, I waited to drink until I was 21, most basically, because I wanted to prove to myself that I could. Blah blah it’s very important to me that wherever I go, I don’t compromise who I am just because other people want me to blah blah. Pretty much just a self-control exercise for 21 years, it’s ok not to understand, my friends didn’t get it either.) So, one of the first things that came to mind as I took that first drink, after “EWW,” was, “wow, parties will be easier now.” I would be able to blend in better, and to appear to like the same things as my peers; I wouldn’t walk into the room with a social handicap. I wouldn’t panic or rely on old tactics. I had set myself free. I’d only ever re-live incidents like those at my first party one more time–in this blog post.
And so it begins: the story of my first party.
Now, I’m not really a partier, but I never thought of myself as completely socially inept. Until my first party. You know those moments in your life where everything is going good, and you just feel on-top-of-the-world and confident? Where you feel like you’re finally becoming the person you always wanted to be? That’s how I was feeling. Until my first party.
Set the scene: ambiguous break, sophomore year of college. My friend was going to the beach to visit some of her friends, most of whom I’d never met and those of whom I had, didn’t know well. She invited me to go too, and, under normal circumstances, having already been all over the tri-state area in the past week, and not knowing her friends, and not liking parties, I would have said no. But, as legend has it, a cute boy I had recently met was in the cards, and so, even though I wouldn’t even admit it to myself at the time, even though he could not have given two dead rat feet about me, even though I “was not crazy,” I went for him.
I don’t remember the order of the events leading up to the party very well, so we’ll just cut right to it. Evening. We were in a 4/5/6/7/8 (details, again, hazy) person apartment of all boys. The alcohol had been supplied and the attendees were on their way. This wasn’t a really big party. It was probably less than 20 people, but there was music, and there was alcohol, and it was ratchet. I remember that a number of the individuals there had begun to pre-game. Dreading the inevitable pressuring and guilt tripping that had always accompanied my aversion to alcohol, I knew that I would have to act fast. Over the years, I had developed a number of avoidance tactics. Except, they weren’t really tactics. It was more of one single tactic, and that tactic was to do the first thing that came into my head instinctively and without question. (Advice: this has a 10% success rate. Avoid at all costs.)
So, back to the story. I fared well through the pre-gaming, asking questions and maybe making one half of a person’s arm laugh, but I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to escape. Almost all of the guests were there, and as the pressure gradually rose, I gradually shifted down on the couch. If I had known more people, or if Cute Boy was more attainable, maybe it would have been different, but at that point in time, all I could think about was how I was like one of those Animorphs shifting back into cripplingly shy and scaredy-cat me from childhood. But I wanted to fight it. So, I thought, I’ll just act drunk. I’ll pretend I’ve been drinking. I’m a bit off my rocker (or should I say, off my…walker) (ha-ha I’m 80) anyway, so I wouldn’t even have to try that hard. My sober could pass for intoxicated. Just be cool, Melanie! Just relax! But my body betrayed me. I continued to scoot down on that sofa until I was almost perfectly horizontal. I could have gotten up and gone to the bathroom. I could have pretended that I was getting a very important phone call and gone into the hallway. I could have, I don’t know, tried to talk to another human being. But no. Instead of doing any of those things, I laid down on a couch in the living room, the center of the party, and feigned sleep.
After I had closed my eyes and established myself, I thought that maybe I could actually fall asleep. I was really tired, and that might be a little bit less pathetic. But my ears were alert, and my body drenched in self-loathing, and everyone knows that it’s hard to sleep when your mind is full and your stomach is empty and with alert ears and being drenched self-loathing. (There is a reference to some childhood story in there that probably no one will understand but I’m leaving it.) I waited for the standard “is she sleeping?” you always listen for when you’re pretending to be asleep that makes you tense up and put on your best fake sleep-breathing for a few seconds until you can determine whether the questioner believes you or not. It came. They believed. The party carried on.
Anyway, so I’m lying there, motionless, running through all of the things I could have done other than faking sleep, thinking about all the things I could be saying in the conversation next to me had I not trapped myself in this lie, and really questioning why I couldn’t have just been awkward sitting upright, when I start hearing these noises around me–a little pop, some tiny whooshes, more pops, some shuffling. A small hollow ball hitting the ground. A small hollow ball hitting the ground? And that’s when I realized, they were playing ping-pong over me. I wasn’t just the kid who had pretended to be asleep to get out of socializing at a party, I was the one who pretended to fall asleep and then got used as a ping-pong ball net. I had never felt like more of a loser in my life (that’s definitely not true, as future tales will reveal…but this was about a 6.7 on the Richter-Lameass scale). It was at that point that I realized that this was much less of an alcohol issue, and much more of an I’m-an-idiot issue.
After that, in one of the first not-ridiculous moves of the evening, I used the noises from the ping-pong antics as an excuse to wake up. I decided to have a better attitude. So, I talked to some people. I was feeling a little better. There was one girl who was quite friendly, so I just tried to focus on socializing with her and this one other dude. Then she tried to make out with him, so I tried not to focus on them at all. My friend was dancing with another girl in the corner, and they called me over, so I took the escape. I am an awful dancer, but I do love to try. We all tried to shake our hips properly and it was a disaster. The girl from earlier had joined us, whose pants were now so low in the front that her downstairs lady hair was showing. I remember seeing it and thinking, “oh no,” and then trying to decide if one of us should tell her or not. We didn’t.
I think at this point I returned to my sofa. The tides were turning–apparently a different cute guy had noticed me. My friend said that he had been asking about me. “She’s pretty cute, but…is she okay?” Yes, that is me. The equivalent of the person you see with a great profile in the cafeteria then they turn head-on and there is a third eyeball in their face and like four teeth coming out of it and a prematurely receding hairline. I guess my attempts to blend were not as successful as I thought. After that, we had our first pass-outer. I was feeling a lot less scared now, just focused on understanding the conventions of the American youth, plus I was friends with pass-outer, so I volunteered to help. I walked into the bathroom and saw what looked like a giant inebriated fetus/chipmunk hybrid lying on the floor. He was mumbling and looked about as pathetic as I did on the couch. We had to take him to the other room for some reason, so we tried to lift him, but he was starting to throw up, so he leapt from our hands and waddled away and his pants fell around his ankles and he just waddled right out of them the rest of the way down the hallway and threw up.
So by then, the party was almost over, but also not over at all. I kept trying to remind myself that this is what fun is supposed to be. The penguin waddle, the body hair, the random people trying to kiss each other left and right. I finally understood that people inebriate themselves at these things not for recreation or sport, but out of necessity. After a series of text messages, I finally convinced original Cute Boy #1 to pick me up and save me. I thought of it as an escape, but it ended up really just being a new way for me to end the evening making myself look like a complete imbecile. Out of the frying pan and into the ice-cold ocean, naked. As in, I met new people I knew even less, and he wanted to skinny-dip. (By the way, he did; I did not. I covered my eyes and waited on the shore for the peepshow to end.) Oh, and even so, he was definitely not on the same page as me in terms of I-like-you-ness. That is another story though, so I will leave it for another day. All I will say is that after the embarrassment of that, the return to the party was almost a relief.
My experience at my first party taught me that parties are weird, that I don’t know how to be a youth, and really made me question why I have not yet been medicated. I’d currently still rather go swimming (not naked) or roller skating than to a party, but maybe my journey into alcoholism will give me a new perspective. Who knows? The future awaits.
Anyhow, I am amazed if you’ve made it this far, and want to say thank you, thank you, thank you again for reading. I hope you’ve enjoyed tonight’s posting enough to stop by next Thursday for another tale of embarrassment, pity, or just plain tragedy. You are all awesome for being here. Stay beautiful, friends.