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The Art Of The Solo Rager

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A rambunctious night out with your boys or guuurls is often the cure for whatever ails you, but sometimes you just want to get drunk with the person who understands you the best. No, not Mr. Rogers — he’s still dead, guys. I’m talking about yourself. Friends, bars, dancing, and collective sport-watching are great, but there are some nights where the best strategy is to board up the windows, raise the drawbridge, send Jeeves home for the evening, and spend the night spooning a bottle of bourbon on the couch. I’m talking about the solo rager, and I have it down to a damn science.

First, you need your materials. Start with the booze. Sure, you can drink beer if that’s your thing, but papa don’t play like that. I’m a whiskey guy through and through, and while the stereotypical bachelor visual of a coffee table covered in beer cans is comfy and familiar, I prefer to get my solo drink on with something that’s going to have a little more kick. I’m trying to dance around my apartment like an idiot later, not lean back in my easy chair and complain about lib’ruls. If you prefer to mix your liquor of choice with anything, make sure you have plenty of it on hand. Same goes for the booze itself. Having too much is significantly better than having too little. Your apartment is now a castle under siege, and you don’t want to have to raise the gates to stumble to the corner liquor store halfway through the night.

So you’re well on your way to seeing double of your dog. What activities should you participate in? Well, given that you’re not at a low-key house party, the typical Cards Against Humanity-type games are out. You have two options: Netflix and nostalgia dives. Netflix is a great resource, because it’s chock full of the kind of movies that you don’t really need to remember watching. Last solo rager I had, I watched the latest Schwarzenegger movie, Sabotage. Was it a great movie? Not particularly. But it was way better than I expected, because I was alone, I was drunk, and all I needed was some over-muscled dudes punching the shit out of each other and blowing stuff up. Nostalgia dives are more complex. I can’t tell you what this means for you. For me, it means watching music videos from my adolescence. Solo drunk me loves Blink-182 videos and live Goo Goo Dolls performances. He also loves the movie trailer for The Three Musketeers, ‘90s Dallas Cowboys highlights, and Teen Girl Squad videos. He’s a weird dude.

In fact, that’s what the whole point of the solo rage night is: self-observation. We’re all weird people, and we don’t allow ourselves to revel in that simple fact enough. Sure, we get a few drinks in us and dance like Carlton at the club, but when we’re totally alone with our thoughts and heavily-poured drinks, we’re able to be fully silly with ourselves — and totally enjoy it. I walk around on my tiptoes, drink in hand, and do little spin moves while I listen to classic rock songs mashed up with rap music. It ain’t pretty, but it sure as hell is fun. I’m a great guy to hang out with alone, if I do say so myself.

However, for all the benefits of a night to yourself, you’re inevitably going to get lonely. Thus begins the frantic moment in which you start texting everyone in your phone book. Exes, friends from college you haven’t talked to in years, and, of course, girls you’re sort of “talking to,” but haven’t sealed the deal with yet. This is neither a good or a bad thing. Sure, you’ll inevitably say some things that you’ll regret, but it’s all a part of the solo rage process. You’ll make plans to visit friends that you’ll never follow up on. You’ll make strides toward reconciliation with girls you’ve already cut ties with. You’ll admit your feelings for girls who probably have no interest in you. But that’s okay, you’re supposed to tell the girl you went on one date with and were too much of a pussy to make a move on that you’re into her, because sober you doesn’t have the stones to do it himself. Hell, entire relationships could happen because solo drunk you decided to take a flyer and put the two of you out on a limb with a girl. You just can’t assume this is going to work every time, because in practice, you’ll probably just end up waking up to a message app full of “oops.”

Once you’ve stayed up late enough to exhaust all the videos and movies you can think of, and everyone you’ve annoyed with your electronic correspondence has gone to bed, it’s time to grab a quick bite in the kitchen, chug some water, and pass out somewhere. I say “somewhere,” because it’s important that you don’t make it to your own bed. This is a special night for you. You’re basically on an adventure in your own apartment. This is no time for sleeping in your room. Grab your animal print blanket and collapse on the couch as Scrubs episodes play in the background. Crash in your roommate’s bed just to spite him. Hell, I’ve woken up in the bathtub more than once for reasons that are still unclear to me.

The morning after is a time for self-reconciliation and reflection. You wake up, drink the water you forgot you set out for yourself, and pray that it isn’t vodka. You get on your computer and close the ten tabs of paused guitar instructional videos, and you eat some gut-busting food to settle your stomach. When everyone asks you on Monday about what you got up to over the weekend, you just smile and say “not much,” all the while reminiscing on how much fun you had alone. You’ll have plenty of time to get rowdy with your friends, but in this moment, you’re totally satisfied with how great of a time you had with yourself. You’re a lot of fun to party with. Never forget that.

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Randall J. Knox

Randall J. Knox (known colloquially to his friends as "Knox") left his native Texas a few years ago, and moved to Los Angeles in his '03 Buick Regal named LeRoi to write movies with his jackass college buddies. His favorite things in life include bourbon that's above his pay grade, mix CDs, and Kevin Costner films. He isn't sure what "dad jeans" are exactly, but he knows he wants a pair.

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