I know a girl who barfed in her purse at Smith & Wollensky.
I also know girls who have barfed in taxis, in potted plants, and on the pavement outside a Unitarian church. (Okay, that last one was me.) These girls—myself included—are not drunks, not tragic ne’er-do-wells face down in a gutter (fig. 1). They are just everyday young women struggling with the delicate art of surviving happy hour.
(fig. 1, gutter. Ideally, your face is not here.)
Making it out of happy hour alive is a universal skill, good for both networking mixers and Fifteen Cent Wing Nights. Here are a few helpful ways to survive unscathed:
1. Eat a sandwich.
First of all, let me just revel for a moment in the knowledge that I’m saying “eat a sandwich” on a blog targeted towards independent, empowered women. Mmmmmmm.
Seriously, though, the biggest problem with happy hours is that they occur at really inappropriate times: way after lunch, but still too early for dinner. Eating a PB&J at 5 p.m., weird as it may feel, will give your post-work booze something to soak into. Plus, an early snack can help you avoid later piles of deep-fried horror (fig. 2).
(fig. 2, quesadilla bites and onion rings. I think.)
2. Think like a Christian.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of messed up things about contemporary Christianity. But if there’s one thing Christians are good at, it’s inventing systems to keep themselves out of trouble.
Remember the “WWJD” bracelets from high school? Every time you flailed towards the inappropriate, you were supposed to look at your bracelet and think, “What would Jesus do?” If the answer was not drugs/sex/sassing your parents/getting a C in pre-algebra, you’d reconsider your decision and your life path.
I’m not telling you to strap on the word of the Lord. But try throwing on a brightly-colored bangle as a reminder to not get obliterated. When you see your hand reaching unsteadily for that fourth glass of chardonnay, the bracelet will remind you to drink a freaking glass of water, drunko.
3. Make plans for later.
Let me make this as simple as possible for you:
Dear Grandma (fig. 3),
I hope you’re having an excellent Thursday! I’d love to hear more about this week’s Bunko game, and I hope you’ll call me tonight at 6:30 p.m. If I don’t answer right away, I may not be able to hear my phone ring; please call again until I pick up.
(fig. 3, beloved elder. “Are you tired, sweetheart? You sound like you’re slurring your words.”)
So slip on those walkin’ shoes, hold your head high, and stride into that awful chain restaurant with confidence. You’ve got this one.