Saturday night’s alright

As many students can surely attest to, Saturday night can be the most hectic night of the week. Sure, on Monday and Tuesday you may have to rush off to work for the evening, and perhaps Thursdays consist of microwave dinners and a three-hour lecture on political research methods, but as draining as these days can be, there still exists some form of consistency — you have a general sense of what you will be doing and when you will be doing it. In contrast, Saturday night plans never seem to stay constant as things get left up in the air while options are weighed and debated.

The frenetic energy in the lead up to these nights can be attributed to the unfortunate reality that Saturday comes only once per week. Expectations for a Saturday night are simply held up to much higher standard then for any other night. After a week spent hitting the books and stressing out over the next midterm, most students could use a crazy night of drinks, loud music, attractive people and good friends. However, if it were that simple, finding and sticking to Saturday night plans would be a breeze. Yes, loud music and alcoholic beverages can be found just about anywhere, but sadly, in some spots attractive people are only discovered after a six-drink minimum (Note: in the case of Silverado’s, this minimum is bumped up to at least a dozen). Also, friends are almost always scattered around town and to be frank, everyone likes some of their friends more than others. When you add the constraint of a tight and unyielding student budget, most are left scrambling to find plans that promise the greatest amount of fun for the least amount of cash.

With this in mind, the best Saturday nights are the ones where everything just falls into place, when after the incessant texting and the frantic search for rides are all said and done, something clicks and you find yourself stumbling into a great time. For me, this is precisely what happened a couple of Saturdays ago in a series of events that, in my opinion, give a characteristic example of a well-rounded student Saturday.

I had been looking forward all that week to getting out on Saturday and plans were tentatively in place to hit up a downtown club, but my absent-minded nature had caused me to forget about a conflicting event. My great aunt and uncle were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary on the same evening at the Fort Garry Hotel. I was reminded that this party had been in the works for months and was to be attended by family members from around the world. This was something that I just could not miss out on, yet with a starting time of 7 p.m. I figured the gathering would start to wind down around midnight, at which point I could walk a few blocks and meet up with my friends at the club.

As it turned out, we didn’t make it down to the hotel until just before eight and by that point the inbox on my phone was informing me that bar plans were starting to waver, due to — what else — a lack of transportation. However, after settling in at the anniversary celebration, I was not as disappointed by this news of a potentially scuttled bar night as I thought I would be. I was having a fantastic time! Sure, the great food and open bar helped, but I had forgotten just how fun my extended family really was. Plus, it had been years since I had seen everyone all together like that. After a few hours of witty banter, delicious hors d’oeuvres and fond recollections, I would have been more than content to spend the rest of the evening in their company.

Then a funny thing happened. I began to catch up with a couple of my cousins from Vancouver, who I hadn’t seen since I was 14 and initially had barely recognized. Since they are both around my age, conversation came easily and after a while we were joking around like old war buddies. Somehow, the older of the two knew about a big party happening that night in Tuxedo, apparently she was old friends with the girl who was hosting the party. Regardless, I was asked to join them once the family gathering dispersed. At around the same time, my original, plan-ditching friends were now telling me to meet them up for drinks at a patio lounge on Pembina.

Now, I love my friends and would probably kill for any one of them, but the truth is, I see all of them quite regularly. I was having a wicked time, all caught up in the family vibe with my cousins and lord only knows when I will see them again, so what the hell. Once the crowd of family and friends began to thin out and we had said our goodbyes, the three of us hopped into a cab and headed on our way.

After stopping for an obligatory beer run, we eventually pulled up to the house around 12:30. Immediately, the scene did not disappoint. Huddled in packs outside the mini-mansion were dozens of people either smoking, yelling or dancing foolishly (always a successful house-party staple).

Honestly, the place was like a snapshot out of Animal House, This basement was a picture of the stereotypical crazy student house party. The guest-count was well into the triple digits and as I entered the room it felt like I was in the eye of a hurricane; everything was calm in my immediate vicinity, but then there was this whole bunch of crazy swirling all around me. On one side, big screen TVs were beaming highlights from Sportscentre and on the other a live professional DJ was spinning tracks. The three of us weaved our way over to the huge bar area and stocked the fridge with our remaining beer bottles. My mesmerization was suddenly broken by a knock on the shoulder and an excited holler from my male cousin. “Holy shit, look at that.” “That” was in fact, the most impressive and rowdy beer pong set-up that I have ever seen in my entire life. My female cousin, less impressed, opted to hang back with her friend as the two of us made our way over to witness the gongshow.

There is perhaps no bigger college party game than beer pong. All swagger and four-letter words, BP combines a wonderfully simple premise with loads of drinking and plenty of inventively obscene body gestures. When we arrived, each team was down to just two cups apiece and by now the crowd had gathered around. The two of us managed to fight our way up to one table end and after seeing a few missed attempts, we were both handed a ball. Coming up hugely clutch, one after the other, we nailed our tosses and watched as our ping-pong balls dunked into the beer. Everyone went nuts. We were now suddenly heroes. Due to this early taste of glory, we were both given mainstay status for the rest of our time at the table.

After about an hour of this debauchery, the beer and the noise was getting to my head and I needed some air to ease the dizziness. I walked past the DJ, still going strong, and followed up the spiral staircase and onto the sprawling back porch. There were numerous aspects of that back porch that were typical of a modern student party. My arrival interrupted a massive hookah session, probably the fastest growing trend on the university scene. Additionally, you had the token bangers shoving and jostling with one another on the lawn and a few cute girls sipping Bacardi Breezers and giggling on the swinging porch bench.

For the next couple hours, having already filled my beer pong fix for the evening, I did everything else I could to live in the moment and soak up the situation I found myself in. I joked around with the guys on the porch, flirted with the girls and eventually went back inside to enjoy a few more rounds with my cousins and some new friends. By the time that I found myself onboard a homebound cab, I knew I was leaving with nothing but good memories. True, the night didn’t pan out as originally intended, but what ever does? At the end of the day, the key to a fun and memorable Saturday night is not in the big plan, but instead, the craziest nights come from keeping an open mind and allowing yourself to roll with any situation you find yourself in. After enduring a week of study and stress, Saturday nights exist for the sake of fun and frivolity. Go out, relax, and make what you can of it.