The sobber, the initiator and the sociopath, not to mention the arsonist. Who’s in your academic family? 

First off: I’m not a total fun-sucker. I even put ‘sober(ish)’ in the title. I love a good G and T (or six), so far be it for me to render judgement on the boozy masses. To me the problem with the typical Raisin Weekend experience is the focus, not the execution. If academic families really committed to playing silly games, bonding with siblings, exacting petty revenge on academic parents, and so on, as the main experiences of Raisin that drinking just so happens to improve, it would be one thing. However, the great majority of families use these activities simply as a pretext for getting trashed, and that’s where the problem lies.

To make this clearer, let’s look at it quantitatively. From nearly three and a half years of vigilant observation of my fellow drinkers, as well as copious self-monitoring, this field work has yielded my own Model of Drunken Shenanigans. It’s a basic model, but I think it illustrates the concept nicely. Note: If you’re a lightweight, divide all measures in half; if drinking absinthe, congratulations, you may have actually achieved immunity to intoxication and this scale no longer applies. The Biology Department will want a DNA sample in the interests of perfecting human clones.

Model of Drunken Shenanigans

LEVEL ONE- One or Two drinks

     AKA: I’m not drunk at all. Really, I’m good.

LEVEL TWO- Three to Four drinks

AKA: Wheeeee! Haha I’m jusskidding I’m fiiine.

LEVEL THREE- Five + drinks

AKA: Thissis allth’ liquor inyur ‘ouse? F**kinlightweight

\ ahaha-uuh ooh s**t wheresth’loo?

From my research Level Two is the optimal place to spend a night out: you’re drunk enough to get away with doing stupid things, and sober enough to remember how crazy it was when you almost didn’t get away with doing that stupid thing. The problem with Raisin is that you’re pushed, either indirectly through mass sibling peer pressure, or directly through your mother funnelling tequila shooters down your throat, to keep on drinking. Once you pass into Level Three, things start to go a bit pear-shaped. Beyond the general drunk incoherence and confusion, people typically fall into three categories: the Sobber (‘really guys, I love you all SOOO MUUCH… *sniff sniff* I really can’t see why don’t you love MEEE’), the Instigator (‘Hey, you think I don’t KNOW what you say about me, but I know, I KNOW. We are NOT cool, bro’), and the Sociopath (‘Dude, I bet I can hit that window with this empty Smirnoff bottle from here. Or what about that jogger, I could get her on the ricochet. Man, I don’t even care – I just wanna mess some s**t up’.)[1]

These three groups yield at least one pathetic person and two borderline-violent ones per academic family. For anyone who doesn’t believe me (‘I am a great drunk to hang around with, a fun drunk’), consider this:

  1. Are you drunk now? Raisin ended like a week ago, man. Come on.
  2.  The progression of Raisin Sunday fits perfectly into my model.

Allow me to demonstrate: It starts out in the morning with giggling first years hurrying off to their academic mothers’ parties (Level One, possibly 1.5, if any partook in the classic Baileys-on-Cheerios for breakfast), and by lunchtime you see tribes of face-painted children running around town collecting shopping carts and nicking Starbucks mugs for scavenger hunts (Level Two). Come around 5:30 in the evening, however, St Andrews becomes a different place entirely. Kids with ‘if lost please return to DRA’ written on their foreheads stagger blindly down Market Street. People are sitting on the ground making out and crying, toppled bins spewing rubbish into the road. There are always at least a few smashed windows, the ground is sticky with vomit, and the continual disembodied howl of ‘Heeey-eh-eh, baby OOH AH’ is broken only by ambulance sirens on the way to Ninewells Hospital. St Andrews by nightfall has become a drunken wasteland, an empty bottle of WKD standing in for the proverbial tumbleweed tumbling down the street. This is Level Three drunkenness, and it nearly always leads to regret, even if you have next to no recollection what it is you should be regretting.

If I sound somewhat embittered against Level Three, or Raisin boozing in general, I have my reasons. Mainly, my fresher’s Raisin Sunday involved a six-hour long drink-a-thon at my academic mother’s that culminated in a toilet paper mummy contest. We were split up into three teams, and I volunteered to be the mummy for my team. As I was wrapped from head to toe in Tesco Value bog roll, I noticed one of the other teams step outside for a moment, only to return with their mummy draped in paper and carrying a paper bouquet. The verifiable Sociopath proceeded to whip out a lighter and ‘make flowers’ for his bouquet. Any chemistry major scraping a pass will tell you that paper burns incredibly quickly, and the Sociopath’s answer to this was to throw the burning bouquet on the paper-scrap covered floor, about three inches from my feet. I, covered in two-ply kindling, jumped back and avoided incineration, but it took at least five minutes for six people to stomp the spreading fire out of the carpet. This burst of flaming terror really killed the party, but more to the point, take warning, boys and girls: drinking for the sake of drinking often leads to dumb decisions. And sometimes, it leads to sociopathically dangerous ones.

And with that, who’s up for a quick tipple?


[1] Psychological research remains inconclusive as to whether The Sociopath is actually only a drunken subcategory of The Douchebag archetype.

Anne Harris

Image Credit – Arthur40A