My friends are all younger than me. The shocking part of that sentence is I have “friends,” plural. Technically, any number greater than one counts, so I meet the minimum requirements with my one and a half close acquaintances. I’m including the guy who only partially hates me. There’s a reason I have to stretch the definition of friendship to contain everyone who somewhat tolerates my existence. My debilitating immaturity makes me a social pariah among my peers but a beloved creepy old man to the younger generation. The guys I hang out with were all born a few years after me, so we share a passion for shirking responsibilities and screwing up at life. I can keep up with the younger crowd as far as failing as a provider, but I reach my limit when it comes to drinking. Unlike me, the other guys don’t wheeze like they’re doing a triathlon when they climb the stairs. I recently watched them drink effortlessly while I teetered on the brink of death, and it made me realize I can’t pretend to be young anymore. I’m too old to act like a college kid, and I’m not alone. For everyone who is now well past their drinking prime, here’s how to party like an adult:
Hold the party early in the day.
In hip bar districts, the action doesn’t start until midnight. By then I’ve been asleep for two hours and my wife has been out for four. I’d like to go to bed when she does, but it’s hard to close my eyes when the History Channel is showing yet another riveting documentary on potatoes. Even with that spud-induced excitement, staying up until midnight is out of the question. My kids wake up at the crack of dawn, regardless of what time I go to bed. I’d be more than happy to stay asleep while they get up and make their own breakfasts, but that’s how fires start. Apparently that box of Froot Loops is trickier than it looks.
All my previous attempts to party late at night ended the same way. Mixing alcohol and sleep deprivation sounds like a recipe for a wild time, but in reality all it leads to a state of hibernation bordering on death. My wife promised the next time I get that way, she’ll skip the hours-long process of waking me up and just bury me. I love getting drunk, but I need to do it at an hour when I don’t start out on the verge of a coma. The only way I’ll show up at a party is if it’s at 8 a.m. Then I can get day drunk like a respectable alcoholic as I cope with the shame of yet another unexplained Froot Loops fire.
Provide plenty of seating.
I don’t stand, period. I spend 99 percent of my time in a chair at work or on my couch at home. Cavemen invented the loveseat in 9,842 B.C., and seating technology has been getting better ever since. I’m mystified as to why trendy bars haven’t masted the concept yet. The last pub I went to had eight rickety bar stools to accommodate 300 people. Every bar fight in the last 20 years has been the result of this drunken game of musical chairs. In my state, battling to the death over the last seat is considered a justified homicide.
My legs are conditioned to keep me vertical only long enough to take me from one cushioned surface to the next. Asking me to stand in a cramped room for two hours is a cruel and unusual expression of friendship. Alcohol amplifies my laziness. After the first few drinks, I’d sit on the floor and make everyone else step around me. If the bouncer questioned me, I’d just say it was a new dance move called “screw you, I’m tired.” Then I’d get thrown out and sleep in my own bed. I know how to make an exit.
Make sure there’s an adequate number of power outlets.
A party is really just a chance for a bunch of people to gather in one place and play with their phones. The entire premise falls apart if my battery dies. That would force me to engage in actual conversations with other human beings, a situation I’ve spent most of my adult life actively avoiding. A good rule of thumb is a venue should have one outlet per person. Anything less than that is considered camping.
I could still participate in a party while tethered to the wall. If people wanted to chat with me – I have no idea why they would, but I suppose it’s theoretically possible – they could send me a text. I could’ve done that from home, but if I don’t go out at least once a year, my neighbors bang on my windows to see if I’m dead. They don’t care about my well-being, but if someone finds my mummified corpse years down the road, it would really hurt property values in the neighborhood.
Put out plenty of snacks.
It’s not an accident that nature gave me one hand for my phone and one hand for food. Millions of years of natural selection prepared me for these very specific party functions. If either of my hands ended up empty in a social setting, it would flail around awkwardly in search of something to do. In the best case scenario, people would think I had a neurological disorder, and in the worst case one I’d accidentally slap someone and start a fight. That would be tragic because I would lose – unless both of my hands were empty. Then I’d put on a display of random hand flailing the likes of which the world has never seen. There would be no survivors.
Keep it quiet.
To have a good time, I don’t need music loud enough to drown out a nuclear explosion. Call me old fashioned, but I have more fun without the searing pain of a perforated eardrum. Turning up the volume doesn’t make the music better, anyway. I haven’t liked a new song since 1998, which officially makes me a senior citizen. The only thing extra decibels do is stop people from interacting with each other. I have no intention of holding a conversation with anyone, but sometimes verbal communication is required. I can make it through entire parties saying only “Move” and “Are you going to finish that?” Coincidentally, those are also the only two sentences I need to get through my marriage. While these phrases are succinct and efficient, I don’t want to repeat them 19 times at full volume to get my point across. If I wanted to spend all night with people who don’t listen to a word I say, I’d hang out with my kids.
I’d be fine with skipping the party altogether and just enjoying several beers by myself, but at my age drinking alone stops being a fun personality quirk and starts being a problem. If I kept at it, I’d come home one day to find a bunch of people in my house staging an intervention. There’d be lots of boring words, the snacks would be bad, and afterward no one would stick around to vacuum. I don’t want to get stuck on cleanup duty by myself. I’ll continue going to parties, but only if they’re early in the day and have a spot where I can sit down and eat next to a wall outlet in a quiet room. I’m truly a party animal.