By Sagar S Jan. 16, 2018
How did binge-drinking ever become a thing? It’s almost as if the world got together one day and decided that zero-calorie diet water wasn’t a stupid enough idea. Has the educational franchise of Hangover movies taught us nothing?
It’s Tuesday, the second day of the week, and you’re still in a haze from the bender you went on over the weekend. You’ve tried, with your “The hangover was soooo worth it, bro,” but no matter how hard you work, it is impossible to give this spot of fake news a positive spin.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact date of the first-ever binge-drinking session, but it is safe to assume a few villages were pillaged by a violent mob that night. It’s not their fault, they said; the tavern was lit from the moment they walked in, the bard was playing all their fave jams, and there was warmth emanating from the fireplace as well as the crowd. So they danced and sang and plundered all night, only to wake up and find all their supplies covered in chunky puke, and their chieftain, Ragnar, spooning his horse.
You’d expect one of the clansmen to consider that morning that drinking all the ale in the land was a terrible idea that should never be repeated by generations to come. What you wouldn’t expect, is that this would become a trend that lasted a few thousand or more years, spanning hundreds of societies and years of scientific evolution.
Cut to present times, where it’s, amazingly, still perfectly acceptable in most countries for you and your buddies to decide to spend a night pumping large amounts of liquid poison into your body, so you can actually enjoy each other’s company for once. Maybe one of you will get really wasted and sing that song “all of you hate” for “Snapchat lulz”. Maybe another will confess that they always had a soft corner for someone sitting on the table right across them, and feel awkward for the rest of their lives. Perhaps one of them will get so out of control, that they flick the ash off their cigarette into the starters. Wouldn’t that be a great way to cap off this night of mixing red wine with gin, sambuca, Kingfisher, and Backstreet Boys?
I know how duplicitous this sounds, coming from a twenty-something who spends his weeknights belting out “Zombie” in a dive where the hygiene is sketchy but the men are not. But, as the voice of reason and experience, I can declare with the wisdom that comes from one too many hazy encounters that binge-drinking should be cancelled.
“Is any of it really worth waking up the next morning knowing you performed the ‘Macarena’ for a whole suburb?”
Think about it. How did we get here? It’s almost as if the world got together one day and decided that zero-calorie diet water wasn’t a stupid enough idea, so binge-drinking became a thing. Not deterred by the dire warnings that the educational franchise of Hangover movies has been peddling for three straight editions, people have now started to take it so seriously that they’ve even devised pointless games to encourage you to get closer to overdose levels of drunk every time you go to a bar.
– “Hey, rando no 1, you must down a litre of beer every time I throw this ping pong ball into your alcohol-filled glass.”
– “Sure, rando no 2, that seems like a totally reasonable thing to do since this is a TV show and there are no actual consequences to anything we do here.”
Any time you find yourself in this position, you should know that you’ve more than doubled the chances of puking in your mouth during a conversation that night. And, if it gets to that point, because you know you deserve it, you’ll swallow.
But enough of all the pros, let’s get to the cons. Sure maybe you had a fun time planning your wedding with Gal Gadot. Maybe you made a new friend who told you about that time they went snorkelling with Amitabh Bachchan. But is any of that really worth waking up the next morning knowing you performed the “Macarena” for a whole suburb? Do you still think about “that sick beat” when you’re spending the day dry-retching into a toilet bowl?
No, you don’t, because let’s be honest, alcohol is fairly disgusting. It doesn’t taste as good as a solid (non-alcoholic) ice-tea, and contains as many immediate health benefits as a small dose of cyanide. It’s almost guaranteed that no person has ever gone on a fruit juice bender and woken up the next morning considering shooting the bird chirping in their window. And anyone over the age of 25 who can drink half a bottle of alcohol the previous night and make it to work the next morning fresh enough to smile, is proof that alien life both exists and has mingled with society.
So really, how did we get here? They say drinking low to moderate amounts of alcohol could (maybe) be good for your heart in the long term, but then again so are pomegranates. Yet, you never see a person walk into a bar, do two quick anaar shots, and walk out looking even remotely cool. Which round about settles it. As for me? I’m the one standing in the darkened corner showing my colleague how the Macarena is done. Come over and say hi.
Sagar has lived in Mumbai for most of his life. You can often find him complaining about potholes and local trains when he isn't out having a mediocre time.