At Drinking In Public

 

Hey! You know what sucks? Underage drinking. Don’t do that. If you’re under 21, nothing about this post should pertain to you. See you next time!

All right, now that we’ve got that disclaimer out of the way, us *~adults~* can chat in peace.

Most of the time, I still feel like a kid. I have no idea what I’m doing from one hour to the next, I can’t resist plush toys of video game characters, and one of my favorite TV shows is a cartoon. I’ve even recently gotten in on the coloring fad. But I never feel more gloriously

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It’s classy if it’s sandwiched between a Cosmo and two books about French art.

like a grownup than when I’m sipping an ice-cold cocktail, flush with the knowledge that if the cops show up, I don’t have to throw my cup on the ground.

 

Not that’s an experience I’ve actually had. I was never interested in drinking as a kid. I’m not just covering my butt when I say that: my mom didn’t really drink, and also I was a nerd, so I didn’t get invited to parties where there were red Solo cups. (I was okay with that. Hogwarts was way more fun.) Today, I’m nowhere near “hardcore drinker” status, but I do like my Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio.

I’ve been to a couple of clubs and had an okay time, but my favorite places to hang out and sip some juice for grown-ups are intimate little holes in the wall where you can do stuff other than drink and laugh at drunk people. Indie retro arcade bars are where it’s at–liquor makes me better at Space Invaders.

Since I didn’t start drinking until I was older than all the characters in The Breakfast Club, I missed a lot of opportunities to do stupid stuff and then forget about it. I’ve been described as a “graceful drunk” by friends, which is about the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me. However, I’m aware that not everyone compulsively studied alcohol safety before taking their first drink. Here are some tips that have helped keep me from becoming any bar’s “that girl”.

What is not sucking? In the world of drinking with other people, not sucking is defined as leaving the bar upright, conscious, and no more debt-ridden or social media-ruined than you were when you arrived, as well as making sure to the best of your ability that everyone else leaves that way too.

1. Hydrate. 1 drink=1 glass of water. Most bartenders will give you water for free. (They know that if you hydrate properly, you probably won’t throw up in a dark corner.)

2. Watch your tab. If you’re trying to stick to a budget when you go out, use cash. Stop at an ATM on your way out, get however much money you want to spend, and then stick to that–do not open a tab when you run out of bills.

3. Watch your drink. People are horrible, and some of them will try to hurt you by tampering with your drink. If you’re chatting with a guy (while victims of drink spiking can be any gender, drink spikers are overwhelmingly men) and he offers to get you a drink, here’s a flowchart to help you out:

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The above applies to everyone who has received or regularly receives offers of drinks from men, regardless of gender or actual sexual orientation. Don’t worry, people who like to buy people drinks! I made you a flowchart too:

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4. Watch your friends. Obviously regular party behavior involves a little willing embarrassment; where would we be if no one had any shame about singing “Girls Just

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We are the fortunate ones. Still from The Office.

Wanna Have Fun” on karaoke? But if one of your buddies is going over the top in a way that could affect them when they’re sober, take them in hand. No texting exes, no posting incriminating photos on social media, no crying on strangers, and no putting your feet up on the bar. Anyone exhibiting this kind of behavior should be gently coaxed into drinking some water and eating a little junk food.

 

5. Leave no one behind. Everyone should have an idea of how they’re getting home before they start drinking. Sucky people leave their friends to fend for themselves against predators, questionable transportation choices, and alcohol-driven impulses to stand on non-floor surfaces. If you see someone whose group has abandoned them, try to make friends. Get some water in them and encourage them to call an Uber or take the bus.

If you’re a girl talking to another girl, this should not be difficult, as drunk girls are the nicest people in the world. In my experience, when women drink, they become eloquent angels who have something kind to say about every other woman they see. I have been complimented more beautifully and effusively by drunk girls than I have by any other group of people, intoxicated or otherwise.

Regardless of gender presentation, always ask before touching people, introduce yourself, and explain to them why you want to help. Something like “I’m worried about you, and I want to make sure you get home safe” can help ease tension. If you approach people as respectfully as possible and genuinely want to help, with no creepy intentions, it should be okay.

However, it’s also important to listen. If they refuse your help, don’t push. Back off and try to find someone else to help them. If the drunk loner in question is belligerent or creepy, let security or the bartender know that you’re concerned about them and how they’re getting home–do not engage.

Drink responsibly, everyone. For more stuff like this, follow me on Twitter and like this blog on Facebook.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 17

Ok… so, definitely not great at the whole “blogging every day” thing. But since today’s theme, “Where do you work?” is kind of impossible right now for reasons I’ve already covered, I’ve decided to go back and do a couple themes that I missed.

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Love me some Meg Myers.

This first one, music, is weirdly emotional for me. I have a history of changing my music tastes based on who I’m friends with or dating at the time–that stopped a couple of years ago, so I’ve had some time to actually develop my own taste. Here it is.

My 10 Favorite Albums Right Now

  1. Sorry, Meg Myers
    • Highlights: “Desire”, “Lemon Eyes”, “Motel”
  2. Hamilton, Original Broadway Cast
    • Highlights: literally all of them, no bad songs, everything is great but you can’t play it on shuffle because you’ll be bopping along to “My Shot” and then “It’s Quiet Uptown” starts and you just. Start crying
  3. Waitress, Original Broadway Cast
    • Highlights: “Opening Up”, “What’s Inside”, “She Used to Be Mine”, “Bad Idea”
  4. Badlands, Halsey
    • Highlights: “Roman Holiday”, “Castle”, “Control”
  5. Infinity On High, Fall Out Boy (I know, I know, what year is it)
    • Highlights: “Bang the Doldrums”, “thnks fr th mmrs”, “Fame < Infamy”
  6. ACT ONE, Marian Hill
    • Highlights: “Down”, “I Want You”, “Bout You”
  7. American Beauty/American Psycho, Fall Out Boy
    • Highlights: “Uma Thurman”, “Jet Pack Blues”, “Immortals”
  8. Pink Friday… Roman Reloaded, Nicki Minaj
    • Highlights: “Beautiful Sinner”, “Marilyn Monroe”, “Va Va Voom”
  9. Red, Taylor Swift
    • Highlights: “State of Grace”, “All Too Well”, “Treacherous”
  10. The Fool, Ryn Weaver
    • Highlights: “OctaHate”, “Sail On”, “Pierre”

These are some choice items from my bucket list: things I want to do before I die. Some of them are a little more immediately achievable than others. For example, I’m probably never going to do #3 until I’m actually on my deathbed.

My Bucket List

  1. Live in Europe
  2. Swim with whales
  3. Tell all of my secrets and live in a state of total honesty
  4. See the Hot Air Balloon Festival in Albuquerque
  5. See the autumn leaves in Vermont
  6. Be the village witch in a big-city apartment with lots of plants and constantly bubbling glass tubes, a la Kiki’s Delivery Service
  7. Write a series of young-adult fantasy novels
  8. Write some young-adult contemporary fiction
  9. Write some fiction for grown-ups
  10. Be a recognized regular at a local bookstore

What music do you like? What’s on your bucket list? Come talk to me on Twitter and make sure to like this blog on Facebook

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 9

What’s in your purse?

Oh… oh boy. See, the answer to this depends on which purse you’re talking about. See, in my tiny, adorable Betsey Johnson bag from TJ Maxx with the little ladybugs on it, I have

  • my keys
  • my phone
  • my debit card
  • my driver’s license
  • a new Chipotle membership card (because I have a problem)
  • my Torrid Insider credit card (because I Have A Problem)
  • a Torrid gift card (because I Returned Some Bras Without a Receipt)
  • a Publix gift card (because My Mom is Great)
  • an inhaler (because I have asthma)
  • an Epi-Pen (because tree nuts will kill me)

But, see… I can’t always carry that bag, because I’m a grown woman and grown women have a lot of stuff. So, in my Great Big Functional But Still Cute Michael Kors bag (also from TJ Maxx),

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My big bag o’ shame.

there is

  • a wallet containing other forms of ID and cards
  • some CVS receipts that are 2 months old (in case I ever need an expired coupon for tampons)
  • a copy of Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • two pairs of sunglasses
  • a pair of 3D glasses I accidentally took out of Finding Dory
  • some earbuds
  • a flyer explaining the Chipotle rewards program
  • a bag from the dentist (contents: 1 toothbrush, 1 tiny tube toothpaste)
  • a bookmark from my local library
  • a dead Barnes & Noble gift card
  • seven loose mints
  • ten pens: 1 Sharpie Extra-Fine Point, 9 Pilot G2-07s
  • 3 lipsticks: 2 Elf Cosmetics, 1 Tarte
  • receipt from the FDLE, dated May 20th, from the background check I had to pay for in order to start working at my last job
  • Torrid coupons, expired 1 month
  • 1 empty saltine box
  • 2 empty boxes of generic Claritin
  • business card from my eye doctor
  • a bookmark from my favorite local bookstore
  • a checkbook, empty except for carbon copies
  • a flyer for a local production of Sondheim’s Assassins, which my friend Ira is performing in this week
  • a ColourPop contour stick in Dove
  • several Starbucks napkins

What’s in your purse? (Or your… I dunno, pants pockets, if you’re a guy. What do you people even carry around??) Let me know on Twitter.

 

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 8

What are you reading? 

First, a note: turns out I suck a little bit at this whole daily-blogging thing. In my own defense:

  • Day 4: “Name your favorite 5 blogs” has pretty much been taken care of on my “Friends Who Don’t Suck” page. Also, it was the 4th of July and I was mixing Everclear, blue Kool-Aid and grenadine at a barbecue like a True American.
  • Day 5: “Share the best advice you ever got” is deep as heck and I’m still working on it
  • Day 6: “Something for your kids to know” is irrelevant because I don’t have kids and don’t want them
  • Day 7: “Share your earliest memory” is boring: I’m three years old and receiving ear drops in a hospital parking lot.

Great. Now we’re caught up.

I’m always reading something–it’s usually a paper book, though some of my favorite authors (Shira Glassman, R.L. Naquin, and Briana Morgan come to mind) are primarily digital. At the moment, because I am an unemployed masochist, I’m tackling Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton, otherwise known as the book that inspired the Tony/Grammy-award winning musical Hamilton. It’s 700 pages of history, plus another hundred of bibliography, so it’s not exactly light reading… unless you’re Hermione Granger.

Best tidbit so far: according to an astrological chart I did with an app on my phone, Alexander Hamilton is a quintuple Capricorn. That explains a lot. Basically it just means 5 of the planets visible from Earth were in the Capricorn “zone” of the sky when the ten-dollar founding father without a father was born in St. Kitts. If you’re into astrology, you’re probably cringing. One-planet Capricorns are stubborn–now raise that to the fifth power. This text exchange sums it up:

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That’s all I’ve got today. What are you reading? Come talk to me about it on Twitter

 

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 3

Why do you blog? 

Mostly it’s to keep myself from losing my mind.

There’s also some reasoning in there about helping people and junk, but to be fair, a lot of the reason why I blog is selfish. I just need a place to keep my words where people will see them.

The reason I blog here is because of all the reasons I talked about in my last post–I want to help people realize it’s okay to be okay instead of great all the time. We see so much on social media about how to be Supermom, how to look like a model, how to be the Pinterest-perfect homemaker while also holding down a killer executive career and going out with friends every night. That’s not what life looks like for most people. If my friends and I are any indication, life mostly looks like deciding whether to do the laundry or just sniff test something to wear while you watch Netflix. And, for a generation of people that’s been royally screwed over re: the environment and the economy, sometimes that’s okay.

I want to make people happy with themselves. That’s why I write what I write. But the reason I write at all is mostly because if I didn’t, I’d go completely stir-crazy inside my head, home of the question “Why aren’t pandas called orca bears?”

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See??? It’s RIGHT THERE. Science has missed an opportunity, I tell ya.

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 2

Day 2: What’s the meaning of your blog name?

The How Not to Suck Blog started as a way for me to combat lifelong perfectionism. I’ve since adopted the philosophy that being great at things you’re passionate about is, well, great–but it’s impossible to be great at everything. We’re human. We’ve only got so much energy, and physics tells us that energy cannot be created. Therefore, if we want to conserve our energy for the things we care about, we’ve gotta let some stuff go.

However, even the stuff you don’t necessarily love sometimes has to get done. Cooking. Social dancing. Feeling (ugh) feelings. So you’ve got to be adequate at most things, even if you don’t like them all that much.

Basically, The How Not To Suck Blog is all about getting okay with being okay. You don’t have to be the world’s best or your country’s best or your family’s best at everything. You just have to stay alive and hopefully have fun doing it.

That got serious fast. Here are some public domain red pandas.

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If you like competence, realistic life philosophies and endangered animals, you should follow me on Twitter and like this blog on Facebook

 

31 Day Blog Challenge: Day 1

Hey, everybody!

Because of my aforementioned unemployment and general need to keep busy, I’ve decided to participate in a blog challenge I found on Pinterest–apparently it came from the now-defunct whileonthisside.com.

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If you’re particularly astute, you might have noticed that this is the post for Day One.

This is the most recent photo of me, and the one I would like put on TV if I discover crude oil in my apartment:

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Of particular note in this photo:

  • my shirt, which I stole from my friend Tai and which has a pictorial depiction of the lyrics to “Friday I’m in Love” printed on the front. I like this shirt because I think it’s clever and the whole off-the-shoulder neckline thing is flattering to what my high school drama teacher deemed my “linebacker shoulders”.
  • my lipstick (MAC Ruby Woo) and eyebrows (Maybelline Eye Studio Brow Drama Pomade Crayon in Deep Brown), which look fantastic
  • my crystal pendant, which I wear everywhere
  • my hair, cut and styled by the fabulous Chisa Rollins, recent graduate of the North Florida Cosmetology Institute and CEO of the art non-profit Barbi3 Headz
  • the vitamins and Aleve on the table behind me
  • the faint outline on the wall of the whiteboard I hung up three years ago to keep track (with my roommates) of who last emptied the dishwasher and took out the trash (who says I’m type A?)

As far as introductions go…

Hi. I’m Shelby, and I’m just trying not to suck. I recently graduated from Florida State University with a double major in English (with a concentration in creative writing) and Media/Communications Studies. Basically, I can make words and tell you, in highly technical language, why Parks and Recreation is the best sitcom ever to be on TV.* I’m currently looking for a job opening that could use someone with those skills.

I like reading books, playing video games, petting animals and traveling in order to do those things in places other than my apartment. I’m not crazy about interacting with humans IRL, cleaning or cooking, but I do them anyway because in order to do the things I like, I have to be alive.

I actually really enjoy talking to people online, so if we haven’t “met” on Twitter yet, tweet at me! Tell me about stuff you like, stuff you hate, what you ate for lunch… seriously, whatever. I’m at Starbucks right now because the power is out in my apartment.

*If any of my prospective employers are reading this, my degree also carries with it a certain amount of “people skill” and advertising and marketing ability. It’s useful.