My boyfriend Brad and I had just enjoyed an elegant evening at the BYU Student Ball. It was a fantastic night of dancing, romance, and fake champagne (grape juice). He was clothed in his finest suit and I was wearing a fancy evening dress. The pavement glistened from the freshly fallen rain. As we were walking home from the Ball we saw some freshmen setting up a game of laser tag.
“Hey, do you guys want to play with us?” Said one of the youngsters, already covered in mud. I responded as any sober woman in an evening gown would…
“Umm….YES!”, I shouted. I then hiked up my gown, kicked off my heals, and destroyed those little rascals. My boyfriend and I darted thru trees, and hid behind the statue of David O McKay. 007 style baby. And we did it all without alcohol.
One of my favorite things about the Mormon community is our ability to get crazy without getting drunk. My friends and I would do some of the most outrageous things. Poll dancing on subway cars, late night dance parties in our underwear. I remember one night I dressed up a butter-nut squash and made my friend go on a date with it. I gave him a little mustache, a French ascent, and he kept trying to kiss her. The patrons of Dairy Queen were thoroughly entertained. Another time I dressed up as a convincing man and tried to see how many chicks’ numbers I could get. One girl responded with a hint of pity “I’m really busy and can’t date.”
It’s funny to me how people outside the church need “liquid courage”. They seem more inhibited. Every year Forbs Magazine awards BYU the title of most Stone Cold Sober school. So as you can imagine it is quite a shock for me as I am now living near the university that wins the award for being the “Most hung-over”. Drinking surrounds everything people do here. The other day I went to a picnic and I brought Mikes Hard Lemonade. I was shunned. People told me I needed to bring “real stuff”. One guy told me I needed to get better at drinking because this was just sad… Better? Better at what? Training my body to cope with poison? I took a sip of my friend wine…
“blagh…why does it burn?” I said
“oh haha, I forgot. You are new at drinking.” They said.
“I know,” I said “but seriously why does it burn, and you. Why are you still drinking it?”
I guess there are some things I just don’t understand about alcohol. When I first left the church I was pisst about all the typical collage experiences I missed out on. You know, getting drunk, hangovers, drinking games, one night stands, and waking up with a lamp shade on your head. I have realized that I actually have not missed out on anything. In fact I have a very clear memory of the time I dressed up as a billy goat and played guitar for people in the library while my friend in an ape suit danced. I don’t have anything against drinking. It is a different type of crazy fun. I have yet to get drunk and I do look forward to the experience. But I have no intention to make it a regular weekend activity. It would have been nice if I could have had a drink now and again to relax at BYU. However, I would not trade in my blanket fort memories for all the Mikes Hard lemonade in the world.
Mormons have learned to get drunk on life. Outside the Mormon community there is a mentality that you need to be drunk to spray paint a pumpkin gold and throw it off the roof. Our craziness is slightly more organized but still just as wild, I’ll be it childish, and fun. To anyone who thinks you need alcohol to get goofy, it is just not true. People think they do because they always have. You don’t believe me? Spend a weekend in Provo. If you don’t see at least one gang of boys long-boarding down the street with light sabers or one group of woman dressed as aliens for a space themed dance party, I’ll give you my translation hat.