We here at the Institute of Drinking Studies got into journalism for the same reason as Woodward and Bernstein, George Will and Woody Paige: to get girls. We're still big fans of hard-hitting reportage, and when we see something like the piece 20/20 did a while back -- an entire hour of prime-time TV (which runs about $213 million, or about 10 million cases of beer) dedicated to the best way to remove hair from legs, naughty bits and assorted orifices -- it inspires hours of intellectual discussion and often further investigation. For example, after watching a vapid reporteress ask if shaving or waxing was the best way to maintain the bikini line, then giggle like a sixteen-year-old girl when she learned about a "Brazilian wax" (or, as we say here at the Institute, "stem to stern") and note how "naughty" that seemed, I knew I had to go out and continue ABC's work illuminating the human condition.
What I observed that night at Las Margaritas Uptown (1035 East 17th Avenue) was that drinking in a group can be a highly dangerous undertaking. First, as each member arrives, there's an evaluation process of his or her appearance. People typically want to look their best in case someone present might want to join them in a regret for one night. On this occasion, several people were wearing their best "nice-ass jeans," a fashion device that I'd thought was only available to women until I realized that a few guys apparently had them on, even though no guy -- myself definitely included -- has any business drawing attention to said area.
Then, of course, there's the drinking. The best way to handle a group drunk is to get everyone there in a timely fashion so that no one is left behind. Since we had an early quorum, we launched an important group activity: shots. One of our members (I'm not sure whether he was wearing flattering jeans or not) took the first bold step, much like Christopher Columbus, and soon led the group on a tour of Mexico through a series of tequila shots. Several hundred years ago, when I had the physical reserves of a marathon runner, I was a huge fan of shots -- but after waking up in the bathtub one morning covered with the aftermath of a night of salt, Cuervo and the occasional lime, I couldn't sniff a Dorito without tasting tequila and gagging for hours. But now here I was in a group that wanted to do shots and, although not usually a slave to peer pressure, I didn't want anyone to make fun of me. So I joined the tour.
1035 East 17th Avenue
Unfortunately, some Institute members didn't arrive until later, when there was very little left that was recognizably human. These late-comers showed extraordinary restraint, because they knew there was no way they could get drunk enough to deal with people who would fight tooth and nail over the last chipful of guacamole. I will say that I am proud of the Jewish and Oriental representatives, who made a valiant effort to atone for their tardiness and quickly sank to our maturity level. But I also blame them for my massive hangover, because I stayed out way too late as they caught up.
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The mob mentality often runs away with members of social organizations, even if they're more mild-mannered than Clark Kent. One moment you're pleasantly buzzed; then, in what seems like five minutes later, you're arriving at your fourth bar for that twentieth beer you just had to have. Don't get me wrong: We at the Institute are big fans of the group drunk, but we're trained professionals. Before you follow our lead, you need to consider who you're going out with and whether your destination will tolerate you. If not, you might be better off getting that long-postponed Brazilian.