Where did we go wrong? Or am I the one who went wrong here? Maybe I’m suffering the effects of global laming, but I swear, somewhere along the line happy hour died and weeknight raging was born.
I know. Of all the absurd things happening in the world, I pick happy hour to go in on. Trump, rompers, fusion restaurants, the price of oil, dipping your pizza in ranch — I could go on and on, but at this moment, I’m concerned about one thing: taking happy hour to its roots.
Forgive the musings of a crotchety, self-righteous 30+ grown man, but I don’t like what my happy hour has devolved into. What used to be a great tool to bond with coworkers and blow off steam after a power fuck of a workday is now nothing more than another Friday or Saturday night out disguised as a harmless happy hour. I don’t know how we let this happen, but we did. I’m not pointing fingers, as we are all guilty of this in our own right. But the signs were there, and we were either just too naive to notice, or we were just willfully blind.
Take a look around tonight as you peruse the “happy hour” menu for an overpriced proprietary bourbon craft cocktail at your local yuppie factory. What percentage of these people look like they just crawled out of a cubicle after having a pile of shit in the form of spreadsheets dumped on them, and what percentage looked like they went home, showered, went through the Patrick Bateman morning routine in its entirety, cranked out some pushups to get some blood flow to the arms, and threw on some Seven jeans with an ironic t-shirt? 80-20? 50-50? Unless you work construction, or any job that leaves you smelling like me after 18 in the Texas heat, you don’t get to go home and get ready before happy hour. Okay, you can do whatever you want.
Just don’t call it happy hour.
Happy hour is about riding the beaten down wave of a work grind directly into a bucket of Bud Lights while you wear the corporate uniform you picked up at the Brooks Brothers (Jos A Banks?) outlet. It doesn’t matter that you’ve worn the same olive green slacks three days in a row, and that the button down you’re wearing has Arby’s sauce on it because you were a psycho that thought eating a roast beef sandwich and curly fries in your car was a good idea. You’re allowed a pass at happy hour, because you fucking earned it. You should never be looked down upon for donning a wrinkled oxford tucked into a pair of khakis that haven’t been dry-cleaned in two months.
These days, the idea of “happy hour” invokes thoughts of dread and head-shakes from many. In the past, happy hour was a way to boost office morale, but somewhere along the line it became a wolf in sheep’s clothing. We’ve all been guilty of it– showing up a little late one morning looking like Roy from The Office after Pam canned his ass and he got a DUI. Someone playfully asks, “Late night?” and you immediately pull the happy hour card. Why? Because happy hour is an American institution, and you can’t be shunned for partaking in such a classic activity.
But the truth of the situation was far more perverse. Sure, you may have trolled a bar and reaped the benefits of happy hour drink specials for 30 minutes, but your night went on to include multiple bars, 3 Ubers, shots, and a lost debit card. You went hard, which I respect, but you tried to cheat the game by blaming it on happy hour. That’s a problem.
It’s a problem for good, honest working folks like myself that would love to round up a happy hour with the sales team every now and then without being looked at like we’re nut jobs that want to rage on a Tuesday evening. It’s a problem for those young up and comers in the office that would like to honestly respond to a coworker that asks, “Do anything last night?” but they can’t, because the concept of happy hour has been sullied.
The sad truth is that to many, attending happy hour no longer means having a few drinks, ranting about clients, and enjoying some apps. It’s just another night of raging. Regrettably, being known as the dude who will always attend a happy hour is seen by many as red flag.
“Happy hour again?”
I don’t judge anyone that wants to lead a raid on uptown on a Wednesday night. I just want to be able to enjoy a few beers in full business casual without becoming a pariah. I don’t think that’s asking too much. See you at Chili’s tonight. .
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