After college, most postgrads reluctantly move past their favorite college establishments to hang with a more yuppie crowd at places that have more to offer than $5 all-you-can-drink cheap keg beer and a ping pong table on its last leg. The reason one must do this (against one’s will) is because at some point, the actual college kids at college bars start to realize you’re not their age. They will realize it long before you accept that they figured you out. You don’t see it coming. You’re just hanging out amongst the masses, keeping up with everyone else on the booze game due to your years of practice, experience, and failure to bring your borderline alcoholism down to an acceptable 8 to 5 level. All of a sudden, it hits you. Not only do you look around and feel old, but you realize everyone else thinks you’re older than they are, too. It’s sad; you thought you fit in. However, had you noticed the signs as they occurred, you might have had the luxury of coming to terms with this gradually, rather than having this epiphany come over you all at once. This realization might send you into a state of depression, which can only be remedied by more alcohol and embarrassing actions in public to let the world know that you’re still on top of your party game. Or, maybe just booze. Alone. In a dark corner.
You didn’t get drunk before you went to the bar.
I have no idea when pregaming became a thing of the past. Most nights, we didn’t even think about going to the bar before 10:30 in order to ensure a sufficient head start to brownout town without spending a fortune to get there. Now, you get to the bar and it seems quaint; you can really stretch out and get your buzz going without people piled on top of you. Oh wait–it’s only 9. Give it two more hours, and you’ll realize that people are, in fact, attending that bar tonight. Very already drunk people.
You find yourself feeling sorry for, not hating, the try-hards.
Now, when I see a group of young girls and guys mingling at a bar, it’s cute to see the anticipation of a drunken hook up on their faces. The guys are throwing out ridiculous game that I (for the most part) quit buying years ago, and the girls might as well have signs on their foreheads that say “DTF” as they eat up every word. I’d like to think my friends and I didn’t look that naïve as fresh 21-year-olds, but who am I kidding? Of course we did. However, you do find yourself feeling jealous when you see two young future lovers sloppily making out in the bar.
You don’t get hit on (as much).
As you sit there and watch the future bad decisions of others come to fruition, you start to wonder, “Hey, where are all my potential suitors, and why aren’t they standing over here in line to talk to me?!” Someone will probably eventually come run some game at you, but when you realize it’s because he decided the 21-year-old he was talking to is too stupid drunk to put up with at the moment and he wants to try his hand at something a bit more “refined,” it loses its appeal.
You find yourself watching the dirty dancing rather than participating.
We used to be the ones out there shaking it like a saltshaker! I think I can still do it. Should I do it? Let me get a shot first. Okay, I think I’m gonna go do it. Eh, never mind–maybe at the after party, if there is one.
You’re not there with a huge group people, and you don’t know everyone anymore.
Why are you a group of three? Because that’s the only amount of people you could round up and convince to go get shitfaced with you after having to be productive all day. And no, you won’t just run into other people to hang with, unless you make new friends which is hard considering no one cares about your job. Your friends have moved on to lame adult things. At this point, you’re on the verge of tears.
“You go here??” Or “Where DID you go to school?”
A) Don’t give me that weird face when you ask me that, you little twit. B) Why are you assuming that’s past tense? I hate you.
“You wanna go somewhere less crowded? It’s impossible to get a drink in here.”
I used to love being wedged between 200 other people in one drunken debauchery of an orgy. Now, the first person who falls into me or who won’t get out of my effing way so I get to the bathroom? Grrrrr.
“Are you ready to go ahead and get a cab before we have to wait? I have booze at the house.”
Once someone says this, you give up on the game and are just ready to drink yourself into oblivion and hopefully not remember how old you felt in the morning, even though you inevitably will because, well, hangover. Duh.