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I’m just going to cut to the chase here — I’ve been throwing up from drinking a lot lately. I’m not sure if it’s because my tolerance is down or because I decided to give tequila another shot, but either way, I’ve found myself head-first in the toilet at least once a month for the past five months. As someone quickly approaching her twenty-fifth and a half birthday, I started wondering if my vomiting was getting out of control. No, I hadn’t upchucked on a bowling alley lane like that one time in high school, but as someone who now does her own taxes and worries about the health implication of tanning beds, I’ve been wondering if maybe, just maybe, I’m too old for this shit.
So, I decided to dig a little deeper to figure out when, exactly, throwing up from drinking stops being cool and starts being a reason to lie and say ten Hail Marys.
Back in the days when you slept until 1 p.m. and started drink at 2, the ole puke and rally was a common move. After having one too many vodka Crystal Lights at whatever darty you attended, you’d drunkenly go to your college’s dining hall, fill up on lukewarm pizza and chicken tenders, and then throw it all up in your roommate’s sink thirty minutes later when you got the spins.
Still, that didn’t stop you from donning your sluttiest freshman skirt (or a clean pair of cargos if you were a virgin or freshman boy) and hitting up whatever underage bar hadn’t been busted by the cops yet. There, you’d enjoy back-to-back sex on the beaches or amaretto sours until the lights got turned on and you realized you were grinding against a bar stool. Back then, vomiting wasn’t a point of shame. It was a point of pride, and if you didn’t puke by the end of the night, you sort of felt like a failure.
Hitting 21 is when most of us finally decided to become a little more mature drinkers. We ditched the water bottle full of vodka and switched over to actually buying drinks at the bar (or at least investing in a solid flask). We realized just how miserable the under-21 crowd and bars were, so we started going to nicer bars that actually checked IDs. Sure, we’d slum it occasionally when our younger friends wanted to go out, and yes, we still found ourselves throwing up in the toilet at 3 a.m. every now and again. Thanks to the fact that this group still thoroughly enjoys going out and consuming almost all of their calories in booze, though, our tolerances rose and the number of times we threw up per outing went down. Still, if it happened, it was just an excuse to talk about how fucked up you were last night on social media. Like you even needed an excuse.
The 22-24.11 age group is pretty much the golden area of drinking. You can do anything you want concerning alcohol without looking like an asshole. Feel like doing body shots off of some random at the bar? It’s all good! You’re still young! Want to stay in and nurse a bottle of red? Do you, you’re an adult. Feel like nostalgically visiting the baby bar or hitting up a nice lounge? Change your shirt and you’ll fit right in. Throwing up at this age is just as acceptable as not throwing up. If it happens, you can laugh about what a crazy night you had, and if it didn’t happen you can go about your morning a little less fuzzy-headed. The hangovers start to get a little worse, but the shame of throwing up in your Bumble date’s shower hasn’t yet set it.
This is when things start to get a little iffy. As your metabolism gets slower and your bedtime gets earlier, your binge drinking days get fewer and further between. Sure, you can still crush a carafe of mimosas at brunch and your weekends are spent in an alcohol-induced haze, but you don’t have the tolerance you used to. Now that weekdays are reserved for cardio and a beer or two if you need to take the edge off, when you finally get to go hard, you go *hard.* It’s always a tossup between being pleasantly buzzed or browning out and insisting that everyone does shots. Except now, for some reason, you always insist on paying for the shots.
You have a real job and real responsibilities so you tend to drink to forget about all of that. Maybe you have kids, maybe you don’t, but you realize that actual kind of adulthood is around the corner, so you do what you can to numb the pain of the future. Like shotgunning four beers in a row even though you’re 28 and have a safe, manager position at Enterprise Rent-A-Car. If you throw up, you feel bad about it but not as bad as the all-day hangover you have. Still, you’re young. It’s fine! Right?
I didn’t want to have to do it, guys. I didn’t want to throw anyone under the you’re-too-old-to-be-throwing-up-$14-drinks bus but alas, I have to. Thirty is a great age! You might finally have a job you like, you might finally be thinking about kids, or maybe going to Ikea and getting an ole ball n’ chain. If the movies tell me anything, you’re super flirty and super thriving and all of that means you’re having a great time. You’re just not having the same kind of great time that you used to have. You have a dog. You have a serious significant other (or you’re seriously thinking about getting one), and you’d rather spend your money on a trip or a new vacuum than on a blackout.
Sure, there might be the occasional night where you go too hard on 2-for-1s at Chili’s, but waking up by the toilet and finding a receipt for $37 from Taco Bell isn’t as funny or as cute as it used to be. Odds are you’ll close the blinds and keep the fact that you threw up four cheesy gordita crunches to yourself.
So, if you’re in the age bracket where throwing up is still cool, embrace. that. shit. But if not, just know, that almost everyone else is still puking up vodka on Sunday morning. We’re just all lying about it and deleting our stories from the night before..