Back to School
Bethany Jean Clement's Guide to Immoderate Drinking
Advice About Hangovers, Vomiting, and Generally Going Too Far
Back to School
- The Stranger's 2011 Back to School Guide
- Everything You Could Possibly Need to Know About Sex and Dating—Including Abortion Stuff!
- You're Not Fooling Anyone—You're Gay, Okay?
- A Handy Guide to Immoderate Drinking
- Experimenting with Drugs and Not Dying
- How to Listen to Music Without Embarrassment
- Did You Know That Museums and Art Galleries Are Free?
- How to Read a Book
- Be Political Without Being an Asshole
- A List of Places and Things in Seattle I Wish I Knew About When I First Moved to the City
- Five Places to Eat Delicious Things
- The University Campus Is the Ideal Society
- What Happens After You Graduate
How to Deal with a Hangover
You poor thing! Here, take these Advil and drink some water. Go back to bed or watch a soothing movie. Drink some more water; you're dehydrated. When you're ready, locate some bland, preferably greasy food and eat it.
You still feel like total hell exhumed from a place worse than death and oh my god your head and why isn't there such a thing as a tongue transplant and WHY DID YOU SAY THAT ONE THING if in fact you can even remember that one thing you said? Take it easy; everybody's been there. The bad news, aside from your crushing hangover, is that you're just going to have to wait your crushing hangover out.
People have sought relief from the after-effects of overindulgence in our friend alcohol since the first caveman made some prison-style brew, and no one's found anything truly efficacious yet. Some swear by the spicy Mexican soup menudo, or pho with lots of Sriracha hot sauce in it, but they're just as likely to irritate your already very irritated stomach. Sports drinks and vitamins might help a little, or that might just be a placebo effect. If you'd thought about it last night, you could've alternated one alcoholic drink with one water all night, which does work, but probably only by slowing you down (in large part because you're spending so much time in the bathroom), but it's not last night anymore, is it? OH GOD, LAST NIGHT.
A little caffeine—not a lot—could make you feel slightly less horrible. (Plus water! Always more water!) A small amount of the proverbial hair of the dog that bit you—that is, alcohol—might assist with launching you into a restorative nap. But more than that, and you're looking to get bit again by the dog that already bit you whose hair you just drank, or whatever. You know.
British novelist Kingsley Amis maintained that a hangover could be helped by either (1) a half-hour flight in an open-air plane, or (2) vigorous sex. If you have the opportunity for either (or both), you should clearly take it—though he rightfully cautions against option two "if you are in bed with somebody you should not be in bed with, and have in the least degree a bad conscience about this." You will want to acquire a copy of Everyday Drinking, Amis's collected works on the topic written between 1971 and 1984. The essay "The Hangover" addresses "all that vast, vague, awful, shimmering metaphysical superstructure that makes the hangover a (fortunately) unique route to self-knowledge and self-realisation." Here you will further find helpful recommendations for reading and music that may enable the embetterment of the hungover soul (as well as a consideration of Kafka's The Metamorphosis as a metaphor for the hangover).
Some people swear by Alka-Seltzer, but good lord, does it taste terrible.
The internet reports that an old Irish remedy for a hangover was to bury the hungover person up to the neck in moist river sand. However, if a body of water such as a river happens to be at hand, brief immersion in it is clearly superior to burial of whatever kind.
Like a broken heart, a hangover can only truly be mended by the passage of time. Meanwhile, more water, more ibuprofen (though not significantly exceeding the amount recommended on the label), more rest, some food. Don't torture yourself about the stupid things you did or said; it happens to the best of us. There, there. This, too, shall pass. Until next time.
How to Vomit
It's only human: Sometimes people barf.
Or throw up, puke, hurl, spew, retch, regurgitate, disgorge, de-food, ride the porcelain bus, do the Technicolor yawn, enjoy some hot liquid breath, chunder, heave, hork, honk (chiefly British), toss a pavement pizza, upchuck, blow chunks, boot, lose your cookies, lose your lunch, whistle a solid tune.
Drinking, especially in a purposeful fashion—doing shots, playing beer pong, or just really applying yourself to the alcohol at hand—increases the chances of hurling. Vomiting isn't bad, per se; it's just your body's way of saying, "HEY, FRIEND! YOU'RE POISONING ME!" And it's true: Once you puke, you'll feel better.
But! You don't want to be That Person: the one who spewed in the middle of the dance floor, or in somebody's car, or on someone's feet, especially if they're wearing sandals. If you feel like you're about to throw up, heed that feeling and act immediately. Your time is limited, and hemming and hawing just increases your chances of problematic regurgitation. This is no time to stand on ceremony: The most polite thing you can do is spare others the horror of seeing and smelling what you're about to do. No need to excuse yourself; just go! (If you're in a car, don't be shy; the driver would much, much rather pull over than deal with the interior aftermath.) Get to the nearest restroom or get outside, away from others—then have at it. Ugh! But wait: That's better, isn't it? And no one thinks you're an asshat.
If you feel woozy, don't lie down in the locked bathroom or shrubbery; get back around other people, and tell your friends about your predicament. Not to put too fine a point on it, but no one wants to find you dead in a pool of your own vomit later.
If you feel SO MUCH BETTER, well, good on ya! Some stalwart people have been known to celebrate by drinking more (aka the boot-and-rally). If that's you, you're now firmly in binge-drinking territory.
How to Binge Drink and Not Die
It must be said: Binge drinking is not a great idea. You could get raped, you could fall out a window, you could die of alcohol poisoning or aspirating your own vomit. You ought not to do it, but if you do, best to do it as safely and non-assholely as possible.
Good friends with whom to binge drink are of paramount importance, as is being explicit about what being a good friend in this circumstance means (including but not limited to: preventing predatory characters from luring a friend away; moving a friend away from any open windows near which they are teetering; putting a passed-out friend to bed on their side—not their back or front—then checking on them; not putting a passed-out friend in a cold shower, as the friend may die of shock; calling 911 if a friend is dry-heaving without stopping).
While the goal may be obliteration, a little self-awareness along the way helps immensely: Are those around you enjoying you as much as you're enjoying yourself? Is the lamp shade on your head completely necessary? Are you about to vomit?
Skip the mid-drinking-binge joint (same goes for the bedtime bong hit): It will very likely have an emetic effect. Drink some water (though your hangover is inevitable—plan for it). At bedtime, if you get the spins, hang one leg out of bed, foot touching the floor.
And know when to say when, even with excess: If you binge drink frequently over a long period of time, get some help. If your relationships/schoolwork/work/life suffer because of your drinking—if you can't make it to class or miss shifts, if your friends tell you that you have a problem, if your significant other wants to dump you—ditto.