The return of partying hard: I Wanna Get Stupid with You

September 8 |

We used to party. During Drake Relays, I watched Scott do his part to help his frat kill a keg in an apartment parking lot. We danced in dimly lit, barely-furnished, white-washed, college-owned houses rented by a student maybe one person in the group knew. We watched Super Hornio Brothers and then hours of YouTube videos and laughed way too loudly and went out to the alley for 3 AM cigarettes. We played Chatroulette bingo and drank Eastern European hooch and fell asleep one by one in piles or were carried to bed in another room.

Me, my friends, my husband Scott — we just have fun and we're nice people, as I once drunkenly explained. But the fun faded. We got older. We started waking up feeling shittier, we got stung by party drama, and people started having babies, and worst of all: the parties started getting more polite. Even the most angry of ragers featured tiki torches and little smokies. Don't get me wrong! We still have beautiful friends and we're still having fun, but party life has gotten stale. It's not about the booze — there have been incredible nights when every guest was stone-cold sober — it was about the level of awesome our parties used to reach. It's like our friends just gave up the party ghost.

Case in point: we've lived in this house a year and only one person has barfed in our toilet. There's something about that morning after when you lay in bed (or on the carpet) for a while, trying to remember why your buddy was thrash dancing with a giant fire extinguisher or what, exactly, your disagreement with that monk was about. And there's no reason not to keep having college kid parties just because we're 27!

Believing this fully, Rockethaus planned "I wanna get stupid with U," a party meant to summon back our party spirit animals. Kegs were mentioned. Flyers were shared. Rules decided upon. We invited just a few people — not enough for a legit all-nighter, but our re-entry to the scene needed to be gentle. It was more about the spirit than the letter of the law.

After consulting Google calendars, my husband, my housemate, and I set a date: the Sunday before Labor Day, September 4.

Yeah! Party time!
When the day of the party came, I was not yell-talking over The Black Keys while someone made a tinfoil hat for the cat. I was not walking across a sticky kitchen floor wearing an appropriated costume of Things I Hoarded in My Studio for This Express Purpose. At 11:30 PM on September 4, I sat on the couch watching X-Files, eating cookie bars, and sipping on a High Life. Sipping.

Scott left for bed hours earlier and housemate Darby and I watched Overboard before she downed a Sudafed and hit the hay. They were both sick with the damn cold everyone seems to have.

Even Nelly got lame. Nelly LOVES parties.

I like to think any virile 21-year-old would have soldiered on, but that's probably not true. As the only housemate left standing, even 21-year-old Cat would have called off the deal. What the superstitious part of my mind thinks is, regretfully, that this party bummer is the nail in the coffin of our collective party animal. From now on, this house is bound only for family BBQs and movie nights that are over by 10.

But maybe not — we'll try this again: Festivus is only six months away.

  1. Don't feel bad. I'm 24, my husband is 27, my brother is 22 and our parties…no one shows up. My husband's friends mostly live in the city, so they don't want to haul it to the 'burbs, my friends are always busy with crazy schedules, and my brother's friends (our friends too now), well two of them might as well live with us. We're still having a Christmas party with proper invitations, bad sweaters, beer, and noms though! I figure, eventually people will be on our level, we're just all at an awkward point of life: trying to have fun, but growing up. Blech.

    2 agree
  2. Oh man do I know this feeling… the Guy and I were all set to go out for Halloween and hit up some bars. Being in Chicago, it was butt effing cold out, and the minute we walked outside, we decided it wasn't worth the trek to the other side of our 'hood and got tacos instead.

    We both had some hard partying post-collegiate years so we aren't that sad about being old about our lives (he's 26 and I'm 27). :)

  3. My friends and I never really did the crazy parties. My PARENTS made fun of us because they used to have those crazy parties. Then again, sedate totally works for us. We love talking and being silly. We died my friend's hair at her going away party.
    My dude was confused the first time I told him about a "party." He informed me it wasn't a party if neither the cops nor fire department showed up. He understands now. Just getting to chill and do things you enjoy with friends works. He even (while drunk after our wedding) said we need to have a housewarming party. It may be less crazy, but it can still be a lot of fun.

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  4. OMG, this happened to me, too! The most exciting party I've had recently was when we had a major thunderstorm roll in during a backyard bash. It says something about the level of partying we do nowdays that we all sat sedately on the porch, watching the thunder, lightning and torrential rain, rather than running out to dance in it … or turning off the lights and slam-dancing in the living room to the beat of the lightning strikes/thunderous rolls. On the other hand, nothing valuable has gotten stolen or broken in many years, so I suppose there is a bright side.

    That said, I feel incredibly lame that I've been able to invite both my parents and in-laws to my last few parties, and none of them has been horrified or weirded out at any point during the night. My inner party child says that it's not an event until someone is visibly wondering "Just what the hell is that guy/gal wearing on – or through – his/her ?" or "What on earth are we listening to??"

  5. FESTIVUS. MAKE IT SO.

    Before I dumped my fiance and moved out last year (oy) I had been mentally planning a Halloween party with a spooooky cocktail crafting station and some miscellaneous scare-tastic fun.
    But I kept running into the problem that I'm still having: all of my friends live too far away to come to party hard. They'd HAVE to stay the night, which means the party could last too loud for too long. At the time, sleeping space was an issue. Now, I live in an apartment, so space AND noise are issues.
    Nevermind the fact that most of my friends would have to take a minute to decide whether gas money is worth splurging to come party. SIGH.
    And the legal issues. Many of our friends are connected by illicit activities. My apartment is not illicit-friendly. (Indeed, a police officer lives in the building beside us.)

    1 agrees
  6. Haha! This is hilarious! I'm the same age going through the same thing. About a month ago my husband and I went to party with our grad student friends aka the Lost Boys- guys in their '30s still staying up till 4am doing shots of jäger, living in cheap dilapidated apartments, debating the merits of Thousand Plateaus or Foucault's Madness and Civilization. It was like a time warp back to our college days and left me wondering what the hell changed in the last three years to make me so…. Lame. I have a glass of wine, watch crappy sit coms, dream about a perfect sofa and go to bed at 9. I remember in college during March Madness I spend a grand at the local bar. Oh the good ole days.

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  7. Haha! This is hilarious! I'm the same age going through the same thing. About a month ago my husband and I went to party with our grad student friends aka the Lost Boys- guys in their '30s still staying up till 4am doing shots of jäger, living in cheap dilapidated apartments, debating the merits of Thousand Plateaus or Foucault's Madness and Civilization. It was like a time warp back to our college days and left me wondering what the hell changed in the last three years to make me so…. Lame. I suppose it's been the soul-crushing work. I have a glass of wine, watch crappy sit coms, dream about a perfect sofa and go to bed at 9. I remember in college during March Madness I spend a grand at the local bar. Oh the good ole days.

  8. Ha! Same age as you and had a similar thing happen when I planned a tailgate for a college football game in the town we live. A Big Ten school nonetheless. One person showed up other than me and my fiance. "Too cold", "too early", etc. Needless to say, it was a bit of a disappointment. But, they missed out on bacon cooked on the grill!

  9. Now that I have two kids and am officially "settled"… I go through periods of party withdrawals. Sometimes I go into over-planner mode, where I am certain I can create some kind of awesome event where people have a wildly fantastic time, "like we used to", but that pretty much never pans out. Every once in a while, when I'm not expecting it, we will strike up some kind of party-like things with friends and it will be absolutely amazing. So my party plan from now on is to try to make sure we get together with people often and when we're having a particularly ridiculously wonderful time, enjoy it for all it's worth.

  10. Hmm, my husband and I are 25 and still party hard, just much less often than we used to. Try joining an ultimate frisbee team. Those people know how to throw back a beer. Or make friends with older grad students, or people who enjoy demolition derby. Even just a few louder folks can get the party going. Also, make sure people know you don't care if they spill beer on the floor and try making a sweet beer pong table (ours has LEDs and team frisbees displayed under plexiglass). And don't underestimate the value of having a handful of awesome party games on hand, such as liar's dice, cards, battleshots, shotglass checkers, etc. Then lower the lights and crank up the music and pregame before anyone shows up. They'll try to catch up quickly and soon you'll have a loud party going.

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  11. My husband and our friends are the same way. Someone once left a New Years party at 10 pm because of heart burn (we had been downing coffee to stay awake).

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  12. Don't give up hope! My husband and I are pretty much the same way but last year we managed to throw an awesome New Years party. It involved classy champagne punch with vodka, jello shots, and all of us mature adults in our cocktail hour finest forming an impromptu dance party in the living room. We took shots, sang all the songs at the top of our lungs, and beat pots and pans outside at midnight. Of course the night ended with me puking outside barefoot in my party dress because my friend's 23 year old brother was doing the same in the bathroom. That hangover lasted the ENTIRE DAY. Still, it's nice to know we can still get down when we want to.

    1 agrees
  13. I recently started grad school after two years away from the college life, and at first I thought, "Wow, these English department types sure love to drink! I'm not used to this any more!" But turns out that none of us are true party-types. We drink, get hungry, eat, get sleepy, go home before 1am. But you know what? I haven't had a hangover in forever!

    But if you're bummed that you've lost your party spirit, think on this: my professors, most of whom are creeping up on sixty, get SILLY at parties. One lady busted out a Nerf gun and almost shot my buddy IN THE FACE. That could be you.

  14. Promptly following my 25th birthday (almost 28 now) the party meter went down, WAY down. The hangovers started to be unbearable, the noise at the bars too much, the clean up of some random dude's vomit off my floor too gross…as much as I hate to admit it, I got old. Maybe I partied too hard and too fast and too young but I've been done with the scene for a while now. Now my idea of a rocking night is a shared bottle of wine with my man and watching funny movies with a jay…ah how times have changed.

    3 agree
  15. same age, going through the same thing as more friends get married and start to have children. i'm so glad to see i'm not the only one that still has moments of missing the days of partying often.

  16. I think I partyed so hard when I was younger that I eventually just broke!
    I always used to never say no to a party and always be the last to leave but then one day I just had enough.
    The last party I had was at the last rented house i lived in. My friends clashed with my housemates friends they'd both dropped different drugs and the one thought the other was the cops and despite hating the cops this guy then went and called the real cops to our house! He also started a fight broke banistairs and nearly broke a wall. Luckily I'd gone to bed at about 11 so I was with it enough to get up and deal with the cop at 6am. He was lovely and could have probably arrested several of our friends but just took names and addresses then left.

    Now I stick to quite bbq's usually before we go out to gigs, that way if if gets out of hand it's not in my house. ;)

  17. We've also seen a drop off in good parties. Every now and then, what was supposed to be a relatively tame post-softball season BBQ turns into an accidental all nighter that ends with like 4 people watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force and having "tapering off beers" at 4 AM but more often we all wind up sitting in our own homes at night, getting slowly trashed with just our spouses, and sending each other movie quotes via text message. What happened to us?

  18. Never underestimate the awesomeness of an X-files marathon night! :-D

  19. The Hubs and I throw ragers. He's turning 39 this month and I am 32, and we have summer BBQs that have 40+ friends, acquaintances, and some strangers living it up. We're having one in October if anyone lives in Jersey and wants to come!

    The difference from a few years ago is that we usually aren't aiming for getting completely shitty (it's our house and our guests, so I worry about safety and property damage). Our friends are good, so aside from some BB Gun usage while inebriated, people are always safe and fun. I usually don't drink too much (if at all) because I can't function the next day. But parties aren't about drinking as much as they are about good times, good convo, good music, good food, and laughter.

    The only thing my parties never have had is dancing. I envy those movies with teen-parties where everyone is dancing in the living room and all through the house. Maybe my friends are lame, it's all bikers and bouncers and waitresses blowing off steam with beers, wine, and JD. Nah, they are awesome, but my inner fist-pumper just wants to bust-a-move!

    1 agrees
  20. Ah, the life of the party animal, wherein I used to have people stay on for most of the rest of the day after my parties ended … well, I'm 39 now, and those days have long gone. Still, we have a select group of friends with whom we can party (semi)hard – the kind in front of whom you don't mind being caught bleary-eyed, dishevelled and sticky from a few too many spilled shots. We're usually done by midnight, though, although in those cases we *have* been at it since midday.
    Nowawdays, if we're not at the entertainer friends, we're playing board games or D&D. Yep, we're up late, but I'd hardly call it rocking out.

  21. My wife and I throw PARTIES! We're pushing 30, and our friends age from 25-40. The trick is: make a really good, strong cocktail, and serve it in a dispenser. People can't effing help themselves – no matter how long they say they've been out of the party scene!!
    People may barf, but at this age, they tend to have a lot better control and aim – so not a lot of biohazardous clean-up. The DISHES is what's the kicker. We don't have a dishwasher and rarely purchase disposable dishes or utensils. Any advice?
    Even with the clean-up, it's way more fun to get rowdy at home with friends (and some strangers) than to go out to a bar.

  22. I am so glad to hear this! I thought it was just me and my hubby failing at being awesome. The last time I drank too much and stayed out too late was my FIL's 60th birthday party.

  23. I feel your pain.

    Once upon a time I would end up at parties in Manila (yes, the city in the Philippines, and I didn't even live there) hosted by people I didn't even know, or I'd find some dude in my closet the next day, or wonder if I'd hallucinated the trombone jam session. Or we'd go to a bar and the next day there'd be a picture of me passed out on a pool table. Or we'd throw a Christmas do and realize the entire night went by with our Australian friend curled up in our bed and **we hadn't even noticed**.

    Now in Taiwan, well, the culture is different, I'm not that keyed into the expat scene (long story but basically I don't feel I quite fit in) and my Taiwanese friends and few expat friends are the "oh it's 11:30 I better head out, the MRT will close" sorts. I love 'em anyway, but that's how they are. And I just – like literally just today – went to a boat party on the Bosphorus (we're in Istanbul for a course) and had a sedate evening of moderate wine consumption and polite socializing (which is probably good as I don't want the people we'll be on the course with to think we're too insane).

    I don't think it will go back to the Olden Dayes. My friends are not the party people type anymore. They're generally still youngish and single (all at or near 30), and the culture in Taiwan isn't one of all-night ragers.

    I still love my friends but I don't feel quite done with 4am crazies, and I do feel you can have those and still be an adult.

  24. If i go by how my parents roll – its just a lul… As soon as all their kids could be left alone or with the other older kids, they started having "game night" with their friends…Ladies in their mid-late 30s fighting over dominos is pretty awesome.

    But at 27 i enjoy small drunken parties with friends who end up sitting around a fire, MUCH more than i did with sloppy frat parties… Usually i remember these lower key. but still drunk and dumb, better the next day too.

  25. BLARR I totally feel this way too. Every once in a while, I really like having an excuse to be RIDICULOUS and random (and booze-drunk or music-drunk or candy-drunk, whatever) and no one seems down anymore.

    I also think house parties are THE BEST, and lead to the most hilarious situations, but now that we're all in our mid-late 20s, everyone seems to want to "hit up a bar" or "meet for a couple drinks at happy hour." I don't want to spend insane amounts of money to quietly sit/sip… I want to be in it for the long haul, and I want it to end with friends wrestling each other and my dog for orange booty shorts while No Wave music is blasting in the background. Just sayin'.

  26. I'm 28 and at my birthday party last weekend one of the guests barfed and then had to lie down on our bed. (OK, that was because she's 15 weeks pregnant, and the rest of us were chatting, drinking tea and eating cupcakes at the time, but, ya know, still counts.)

    1 agrees
  27. this makes me feel better : ) we are always noticing how lame we feel. like we outgrew all our awesome shenanigan days, but were oddly ok with it??!!?! i thought we were just getting old (26 and 29), my exciting friday night involved my awesome 20 year old friend coming over, eating dinner and making a melted crayon painting while my man listened to new music online. i feel better about getting older knowing that it seems like everyone else has caught it too. lol

    • but in our defence we did have an amazing halloween blowout in '09, it was supposed to just be us handing out candy, and accidently turned into a huge blow out complete with blueberry beer, and dildo's suctioned to the fridge. (i used to sell toys…)

  28. What a bummer! I think it'd be worth trying again later. We're minimally older than you with more boring jobs, and we had a party end at 3 a.m. last night. (Granted, it was such a polite party that someone brought a tray of deviled eggs, but it was still fun.)

  29. I'm 35 and newly married for the first time. Husband of 39 and I have moved from the center of all that's happening in LA to the VALLEY, of all places. But we used to party. I remember one Morning After at a friend's house when I was making myself coffee in a trashed kitchen, wearing a pair of hot pants, roller skates and sunglasses, while a chicken wandered through the littered room, clucking cautiously and quietly. Now that,I remember thinking, was a party.

    Now a Big Night Out will more likely involve a queiet dinner at a chain restaurant (and we don't even have kids to blame). We've already started calling ourselves The Early Bird Special.

    But we love it. We love the calm of the household, living in peace, decorating a Space for Adults that won't get ruined by barf or urine… the lack of Party Drama, as you stated…

    And once every so often, totally unsummoned and unexpectedly, The Party Animal Spirit returns. One was our wedding. Once was just a regular BBQ which for some reason turned into a Rager thanks to some great bottles of wine. Another time it was over a friend's house with a pool and scotch tasting. The important thing is that you *MISS* having balls to the wall fun, and when you miss it, it will come back, on occasion, to your delight. Just not every weekend.

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