It’s a weird time to be a college student. Between the violence at Virginia Tech, the steady flow of bleak forecasts for our economic and environmental future, and the news that “Spiderman 3” failed to live up to even half its hype, things are rough for us 18-25 year-olds. That’s why it’s so important, vital even, that we continue to do what we do best – party. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I do think that there’s something to be said for the merits of making some time to take it easy. And nothing says taking it easy like that staple of college life, the big blowout bash.
It seems like no time of the year is as ripe for revelry as spring quarter. The weather is gorgeous, the skirts can be worn sans leggings, and unlike summertime, I.V. is still full of hot-blooded hotties. It’s the perfect time to pop open a few beers with your best buds and have the neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and Facebook friends over for some good times – Gaucho style.
I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. In fact, I think I can safely say that since spring quarter started, I haven’t had a single night off from going out. Not that I’m complaining about my crowded calendar of events to attend, but it does seem like the number of people throwing parties increases in direct proportion to the number of degrees on the thermometer. With that in mind, and inspired by a long conversation with my good friend and revered reveler extraordinaire Spencer, I decided to draw up the following list of commandments for creating the perfect party situation. There’s only five of them – mostly because a weekend of too much research on the topic has me too tired to come up with more than that. But, I would like to think these are still some pretty powerful precepts, and definitely pertinent to the particular party scene that is Isla Vista. After all, I have done my research – and plenty of it.
1. Thou shalt buy enough booze
This may seem simple enough, but it’s amazing how many people think that a couple of handles and a case of beer are sufficient to fuel an entire party. Once you mention a party to one person, you have to immediately assume that you’ve basically invited that person and their entire entourage; not to mention the stragglers that will inevitably seek out anyplace where alcohol is being served within the I.V. limits, and find a way to get in regardless of how many friends you have watching the door. When it comes to estimating how much alcohol you need, I’ve found that it usually works best to just double the amount you think you should buy, and then throw in a little extra for good measure.
2. Thou shalt invest wisely
This commandment goes along with commandment number one. Because once you’ve established that you’re going to need a lot of booze, the next question is always how you’re going to pay for it. The simple solution – when it comes to throwing a big party, always choose quantity over quality. Plastic handles and cases of Coors are just fine for a big crowd, especially if you make sure to hide a handle or two of the good stuff somewhere that only your good friends know about. Also, always make sure you have enough alcohol accouterments – particularly chasers and cups. Very few things in this world make for a sadder sight than a kitchen full of perfectly good plastic handles and nothing to chase them with – except maybe the lengths to which people will go to wash down Popov when you’ve run out of Pepsi.
3. Thou shalt invite wisely
Inviting the right crowd is key to throwing a good party. Too many extroverts make for an overwhelming evening, while too many introverts makes for a decidedly underwhelming one. And too few people makes a party not worth attending at all – five girls drunkenly dancing around their empty kitchen is fun and all, but it’s not a party by any stretch of the I.V. imagination. Whether it’s a big blowout, or an intimate evening in, Facebook it up and make sure you invite a good many more people than you actually want to attend – inevitably, half the invitees will end up missing your party because the piece of ass they’re chasing is somewhere on the other side of town. Make sure you adjust your invitation list accordingly.
4. Honor thy roommates
Sure, you’re willing to throw down all the cash for the Keystone and clean up every single empty cup when the evening is over, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the party-throwing business alone. You’re still inviting people to invade the personal space of your housemates, and you have to be aware of that before you plan any party. Keep in mind, if you get busted by the cops, your roommates could be held responsible and your landlord will most likely be notified. A few precautionary steps to avoid this unsavory fate include clearing any party plans with your roommates well before the actual date. You should also insure you have a plan of action in place to make sure that nothing gets broken, everything gets cleaned up, and the cops get a good story when they show up at your door. Likewise, don’t forget to put up signs on the doors that read, “No one under 21 allowed.” It seems silly – especially when the house has a significant number of underage residents anyway, but legally-speaking it helps lend credibility to any claims you might need to make to cops and/or landlords about how you really tried to regulate during your debaucherous affair, and how all those underage people must have somehow snuck past your state-of-the-art security system.
5. Thou shalt enjoy thine own party – but not too much
There’s no point in planning a party, purchasing enough alcohol to ensure that the entire town of I.V. gets properly socially lubricated, and spending your entire Sunday cleaning everything up unless you’re going to have a good time. Sure, it’s only fair to reciprocate for all the times your friends have funded a fete by throwing one of your own, but again, if you’re not going to enjoy it at all, don’t bother. Nobody wants to be a burden on other people, and nothing kills a good party faster than feeling like the host or hostess is too busy stressing out to savor the moment. Well, almost nothing. The only thing that’s worse than a stressed-out host is a passed-out one. So chill out, have a few drinks, but don’t think that it’s okay to black out just because your bed is closer than normal.
There you have it, my words of wisdom for how to have the perfect party in I.V. I suppose it’s only fitting that they come in the form of five commandments, given the fact that the ritual of revelry is almost like a religious rite in I.V. – every week, we sacrifice our livers on the altars of good memories and funny Facebook photos, and no matter how many hookups we regret, heels we ruin, and houses we trash, we keep coming back for more. Maybe it’s because we crave the escape from reality that comes with cramming a bunch of sweaty bodies into one tiny town-house and then bonding over our shared knowledge of all the lyrics to “Sexy Back.” Or maybe it’s because, when a long week of working and worrying is over, we all need a night off to relax. Either way, throwing a party is a venerated and celebrated facet of the collegiate tradition – dating all the way back to “Animal House” and beyond. And, given the current climate for us college students, I say we embrace the enjoyable parts of the college experience as often, and as well as we possibly can. Amen.