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7 Tips for a Safer Girls' Night Out

by Jessica Klein on Oct 13, 2014 in Culture
7 Tips for a Safer Girls' Night Out

If you’ve made a point to read up on New York’s best fall beers and cocktails, chances are you’re an adult, and adults should know how to handle their liquor—they’ve had plenty of training at college keggers and, going further back, maybe even in parental liquor cabinet raids. Unfortunately, it’s often other people you have to watch out for when of legal age and drinking out on the town, especially now that the leaves have started changing color.

Why is it so important to hold onto your drink at bars this time of year? Well, school is now back in session, and so is New York. Students, undergrad and graduate, have migrated back to the city for autumn classes, and everyone who vacates for the stifling summer months has returned to get back into the swing of normal, city life. Thus, bars are particularly packed, and people are particularly enthused when it comes to mingling, and then co-mingling.

Most people know the basics when it comes to protecting yourself from watering hole predators—don’t leave your drink unattended, don’t take candy (read: drugs) from strangers, and eat dinner so you don’t get blackout drunk (no matter how much movies like “The Hangover” franchise insist it’s the most fun you’ll ever not remember). However, there are other, subtler ways to make sure you and your friends stay safe during this particularly rambunctious drinking season that may be worth thinking about next time you find yourself chugging a pumpkin ale or draining your fourth sherry cobbler.

Befriend the bartender.
And the bouncers. In fact, especially make an effort with the bouncers. Bartenders can get pretty busy, and the bouncer’s job is largely to make sure total douchebags stay out of the club/bar he or she is patrolling. Thus, if someone won’t leave you or your friend alone at the bar, his behavior having graduated from harmless but hopeless to aggressive and creepy, you already have a couple important figures on your side. A bartender will speak up on your behalf if you’ve been friendly and indicate a douchebag, while a bouncer will also be more than happy to kick someone harmful out. The bouncer will also be thankful that you’re helping out with his or her job—identifying troublemakers.

Watch who’s buying.
There’s no reason to completely eschew “free” beverages. However, the power to aquire said beverages becomes a curse if you’re not careful with it. When that unassuming nerd with the kind eyes offers to buy you a bourbon on the rocks, say yes if you want—but then stand next to him while he orders, pays, and hands it over to you. Do this even if you’re on an early date with the person who’s buying. (It’s called “date rape” for a reason.)

Have a shot buddy.
When you’re out with a bunch of friends, or even just end up joining a big group at a bar, a celebratory atmosphere often ensues. This means the opportunity to take lots of shots. First, someone calls a shot to honor your friend’s recent promotion. Next, someone else proposes a shot for the people staying in their dead-end jobs. After that, another person feels compelled to cheers the fact that you’re at least all employed.

This cycle may continue on for hours, adding up to plenty of shots. A good way to avoid participating in every round, therefore getting detrimentally drunk, is to designate one person as your particular shot buddy, meaning that you only take a shot when she takes a shot. Thus, when you find yourself zigging and zagging back and forth between different groups who all want to honor something with a fresh swig of tequila, you’ll have a partner to keep you in check and prevent you from partaking in every proposed glug of liquor.

Take the lipstick test.
This only really works for those who wear makeup (it doesn’t have to strictly be lipstick), but I’m sure one could easily develop an alternative for people who prefer to keep their faces bare. Here’s how the test works: If you find yourself in front of a mirror trying, in vain, to apply lipstick within the lines of your mouth, you’ve failed the lipstick test. If one is drunk enough to fail such a test, it might be hard to notice the failure. This is when friends should come in to help enforce the test’s results.

If you don’t wear makeup, perhaps substitute with a pen and the line where you sign your bar tab (though by then it’s probably already too late and the next stop on your bar crawl should probably be your bed)…

Use cash to mark your budget.
Killing two birds with one stone, this method keeps you from spending more money than you desired, as well drinking more alcohol than what falls safely below the massive hangover limit. Leaving your card at home may be taking this a step too far, but if you withdraw a certain amount of cash and determine that that’s the only money going towards your drinking on a given evening, you’ll limit your spending and BAC accordingly.

Memorize a few, key numbers.
Getting drunk and misplacing belongings happens. If said belongings include your phone, you don’t want to be stranded because “all your numbers are in there.” Numbers can be in your head, too—they were there during the (now unimaginable) pre-cellphone days. If you get separated from your friends or find yourself in a situation where you don’t have your phone but need to call for help, you’ll be glad you stored your best friend’s number there in addition to your digital address book.

Don’t trust your friend’s instant, new love.
Believe in love at first sight all you want, but remain skeptical of love at first drunken sight. If your friend starts to follow someone out of the bar like a zombie or insist that the guy she’s about to go home with might as well be her future husband, don’t let her leave without forcing to her think twice about her decision.

Have some tips that have helped you out in the past? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo via Flickr


Tags: Beer, Cocktails, Wine
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