Living far away from home this time of year is both a blessing and a curse. Curse: I can't see my family for Thanksgiving. Blessing: I get to watch my idiot friends in their hometowns on Thanksgiving Eve.
The night of the fourth Wednesday of the 11th month of the year, a.k.a. Thanksgiving Eve, is the greatest night of the year, and should be considered a holiday unto itself.
I've had the pleasure of being an observer, nay, an anthropologist, of my idiot friends for four Thanksgiving Eves now. I've been like Patrick Fugit in Almost Famous, except the band I’m covering for Rolling Stone is a bunch of drunken townies in a dungeon bar.
The planets align for Thanksgiving Eve. Everyone is back in town, no one has religious or familial obligations, everyone’s on vacation, and everyone is trying to make out. "It's like shooting fish in a barrel," said one friend. "I'm dreaming about who I'm going to make out with this year even though I should be paying attention to this conference call," said another. You know that feeling when you know your crush is going to be at the same party you’re going to, and you think you guys might make out? That’s the feeling for everyone, and it’s glorious.
Each town has a long tradition of which bar or home hosts the Thanksgiving Eve festivities. If it’s a bar, it will probably be the only bar in town, but no matter where it is, it WILL resemble a dungeon. Over the past four years, the only bars I’ve been to on this night have been underground. (Though, even if it’s above ground it can be dungeon-y.) It will be dark and sweaty. There won’t be visible torture devices like in a normal dungeon but the audio will serve as that. The music will be strictly top 40s hits and so loud your ears will ring you to sleep at the end of the night. Also keeping with the medieval theme, there will be trolls. We’ll get to that in a minute.
When you walk into the dungeon, you’re going to feel like a piece of meat. Everyone and their weird cousin is going to turn to check out your entire body. Hopefully you’ve covered your bunions. If you’re the outsider in this scenario like myself, everyone’s going to squint at you trying to place you, and then quickly give up on you, which is ideal.
When you start talking to people, it’s ridiculously easy because either you already know them, or you don’t know them but have so much in common already. And you’re all only home for a few days! No one expects to keep in touch. No one asks deep questions. No one asks what you do, and if they do, it’s just to be nice, because they don’t actually listen and nor do they care, which sounds terrible but is great. “I can’t tell you what any of my friends from home do for work,” said one of my friends. These are people who probably saw you go through puberty. Small talk is a waste of time and everyone is on board with that fact.
So most of the time, talking to people is great. But then, there are the trolls. Trolls come in two forms here. It’s either going to be someone who says something like, “Whoa, [YOUR NAME MISPRONOUNCED HERE OR THEY CALL YOU YOUR SIBLING’S NAME] I now find you much more attractive than our days in school together,” or it’s going to be a douchebag that still doesn’t notice you. Feel free to make out with either type of troll, but this should be purely for revenge and for revenge only.
There are always those people that dress up way too much for a night at a dungeon bar. Certain people are fueled by the need to prove they’re hot and cool post high school. But c'mon—we all have social media. We all know what everyone’s up to now. The funniest thing about this is there’s this amazing juxtaposition at work. There’s the try-hards attempting to stunt the hardest they’ve ever stunted, and then there’s the sloppy drunk crew who are planning to walk home from the bars without shoes on.
However, there's always that one randoid that got hot and evaded all social media for years and pops up out of nowhere. Be ready for it.
Also be ready for the fact that your parents can drive you to the party, and take. advantage. of. that. Roll up to the party like it's a middle school dance and have absolutely no shame in that game. After you hitch a safe ride home later (ideally not from your parents this time) and you need a place to make out with your neighbor, you can make out in that same car.
And the best part is, if you’re drunk during Thanksgiving Eve, there’s probably food from the next night’s dinner that you can sneak. I'm talking drunk sandwiches with inspiring combinations of Thanksgiving food. To quote my friend: "My brother was so inebriated he microwaved a bowl of gravy thinking it was soup and ate it."
To close this vital piece of journalism, I would like to leave you with the following. Here's the real text history between my friend (Girl) and her Thanksgiving Eve make out last year (Boy):
Boy: What's up tonight?
Girl: *Name of bar!* [Writer's note: the only bar in town]
Boy (40 minutes later): Here.
And like that, they made out. They haven't texted since. She asked me, "Do you think I have a chance for a repeat?"
Ahh, the winds of possibility are in the air, and frankly I’m giddy.