Surefire Shoremal safety for sloppy students

edited.shoremal_liztilley(1)By Mary Sprague

Copy Editor

Shoremal swings around only once a year — the key to enjoying (and remembering) this special night is safe, responsible drinking. 

Sounds fun, right? 

Hear me out — staying healthy, comfortable, and puke-free is self-explanatory, low-effort, and does not have to be as boring as alcohol education websites can make it seem. So, for all my fellow legal drinkers, here are some quick and easy Shoremal tips that do not involve math of any kind. 

“Pre-game” the pre-game. Load up on food and fluids before the big night — eating and keeping well-hydrated puts a much-needed barrier between the alcohol and your stomach. Now, don’t dismiss this as an old wives’ tale. According to a New York Times article by Anahad O’Connor, “[h]aving food in the stomach — particularly proteins, fats and dense carbohydrates — slows [the] absorption process.” The body’s intake process, as O’Connor outlines, begins immediately and molecularly when alcohol enters the system. The more buffer you have in your body, the harder it is for the booze to affect you. In this way, it’s helpful to think of your body as a mixed drink. Proportionally, the more mixer there is, the less you taste the alcohol. The less mixer, the more sting. 

B.Y.O.B. Bring your own drinks (to the pregame). Make your own drinks. Drink your own drinks. Watch your own drinks, and your friends’. At the event, watch the bartender make or open your drink. This tip is the maybe-scary one, and most explicitly for your personal, bodily safety. Keeping a close eye on what you’re drinking not only drastically cuts the chance of somebody creepy sneaking something nasty into your cup, but it forces more conscientious consumption. Being aware of how much alcohol actually goes into your drink will help you more accurately monitor your drinking — and how close you are to your limit. 

See something, say something. If you see any predatory behavior at Shoremal, tell a Public Safety officer, nearby authority figure, or bartender. If there’s anything sketchy at the pregame, I would recommend getting yourself and your friends out of the situation and spreading the word to others who might be affected. This isn’t just drink tampering. Predatory behavior could mean a sober — or comparatively sober — person encouraging a heavily intoxicated person to drink more, or isolating them in a separate room. 

Commit to the buddy system. Pick and stick with a pal — your roommate, your best friend, your project partner, your mom, your friend’s mom, anyone. Make a pact at the beginning of the night, and party with confidence. The two of you don’t have to be joined at the hip, but you should check in (decide on an incremented time) throughout your outing. The benefits are endless — you’ve got a built-in conversation partner, an excuse to leave awkward dance-floor encounters, and back-up in case you finally have to fight that kid from philosophy 212. Additionally, I’ve found that having a pal around keeps me honest about my own drinking. It can be useful to compare how sloppy the two of you are getting, and at what rate. And, to go back to tip 2, I always feel more secure — and have a better time — when I know there’s another person on my side. Have a buddy, but watch out for all your friends. Step in, please, if you have to.  

Slow’n’steady. Pace yourself. Eat snacks and drink water frequently. This doesn’t have to mean skipping flip cup or pong, but filling up some Solos with water instead of alcohol. Water is easier to chug, anyway. If your competitors are sticklers for the rules, you can always drink water when it’s not your turn. Like in the first tip, water and food help dilute and digest the booze in your system. It’s also important to note that different alcohols will produce different effects. Combining liquors will likely result in an unpredictable and intense condition. Similarly, crossfading is another wholly different entity. You may already know how alcohol and drugs affect your system when taken separately, but combining the two will likely react in a new, surprising way. Partake safely — sometimes it’s easier to stick to one type of alcohol, or to pass on the circle for the night. 

Now go forth, you party animals, and celebrate the fact that you’ve made it this far in the semester, because, yes, you can make it to the end.

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