Opinion | Must drinking always lead to debauchery?

By Grace McGinness, Staff Columnist

Upon turning 21, there are many reasons Americans engage in their freshly acquired right to consume alcohol. Alcohol can relieve inhibitions and become a source of relaxation, but as evident from the prevalence of America’s binge-drinking culture among young adults, many people think of drinking more as a gateway for careless, sloppy parties rather than a tool for relaxing.

Whether chugging warm beer or knocking back a neon-colored drink that smells strongly like nail polish is truly pleasurable can be debated, but what people decide to do once drunk to have fun is important. A party is a good place to start, but it is not the only option out there. For all the people who don’t need or don’t want to throw a roof-blasting banger every weekend, here are some activities that are just as good — if not better — than screaming like a lunatic in a South O basement.

  1. Board games

Alcohol impairs cognition and emotional control, so it can naturally be assumed that card and board games become hilarious when every player is intoxicated. It may take 20 minutes to explain the rules to everyone with multiple repetitions, because someone inevitably won’t even be paying attention, but friendly competition can inspire intimacy among peers. It also improves brain function, so playing while drunk is like training with weights on.

Throw in some reduced motor skills, and games like Jenga and Twister become a lot harder. Increased difficulty translates to more fun, and with Twister you’re already on the floor, perfect for passing out. However, be aware of hard edges and sharp corners when setting up your game. We don’t want any split noggins staining the tarp.

  1. Wine and cheese night

It’s bougie, but if you’re willing to drop $10 to stand in a dark room that smells like sweat, then don’t knock the cheese platter until you try it. Official wine tastings may be a sham — um, yes, I’m picking up hints of wine with an undertone of grape — but eating different foods paired with a bottle or two will bring out the tastes of the drink. And who doesn’t want to eat while drunk? Antoon’s wouldn’t be in business without the drunk party still raging at 2 a.m.

  1. Art circle

For the artistically inclined, a BYOB art night can liven up a small gathering. Whether it’s scrapbooking, painting or scribbling, reduced inhibitions can lead to greater creativity and artistic expression. When you wake up in the morning, don’t expect to find good art, but the process of coloring has been shown to be a great time for many stressed adults.

  1. Picnics

Picnicking is another outdoor activity perfect for a drink or two. Lying out in the sunshine on a blanket for the afternoon doesn’t carry too much risk with it, but both sun exposure and alcohol dehydrate, so be sure to pack water as well. If there is a playground nearby the picnic area, no one should stop a little childhood fun, but beware of wood chips. Many playgrounds use them to soften the ground for falls, but whoever had that idea was an idiot. Get drunk and fall hard enough, and the little chips can break right through the skin and become lodged there. A trip to the park then becomes a trip to the hospital.

  1. Walk out on the town

When you’ve had a few glasses of wine and the weather is comfortable, a walk through the neighborhood can be refreshing. Move beyond the patches of dead grass in the yard and experience the world anew with your altered perception. It is not recommended to go around complimenting how pretty everything is before barfing into the bushes, but if you do go out, be aware of yourself, your friends and the public drunkenness laws in your area. Drunk and disorderly citations are never a good time. Remember to look both ways when crossing the street and put your whipped cream vodka in the state store paper bag, so no one can guess that you’re sloshed.

  1. Movie marathon

Since everything is much more entertaining while intoxicated, rewatching old favorite movies will totally not bore you. Chugging Natty and crushing the can is exhausting, so take a rest by sitting on the couch in a dark room for two or more hours. After scouring every streaming service under the sun for the shows you actually want to watch, settle down with that one movie you watched 20 minutes of that one time. For an extra layer of fun, hold a competition to see who can stay awake the longest. I’m rooting for you!

  1. Pool time

Even if you can drag yourself up to the Trees pool, there’s no way you can swim while drunk. Alcohol may float on top of water, but you will sink like a rock and die. But you can wrestle into a swimsuit, plop down on the scummy tiles and watch the light reflect off the water. If you become thirsty from alcohol dehydration, there’s a big pit of water right there! If you need to go to the bathroom because your body is trying to urinate out the toxins you drank, there’s a big pit of water right there!