Drinking Tips for Teens: Prom Edition

At high schools across the land, soon-to-be-graduates are thinking about their future. They’re thinking about their future after-parties on prom night and how they’re going to score some booze.

Because the drinking age in Quebec is 18 and because most high school grads are close to 18 (if not already), many here feel justified in drinking, entitled even. It’s important to bear in mind, however, that while teenagers think they know what they’re doing booze-wise, they’re like the Liberal Party of Canada: clueless.

It doesn’t help that our society sends such mixed signals about alcohol. On the one hand, it’s among the last socially acceptable vices, now that smoking, sugar and fat people have become taboo. At the same time, young people are forbidden to drink alcohol until they reach legal age. No, no, no! Okay, maybe a little at Christmas. And weddings. And since dad hates to drink alone. Otherwise, no!

Then suddenly, they can. They turn 18 and become solely responsible for the booming sale of shooters named after sexual positions.

Prior to obtaining their driver’s licence, teenagers need to undergo lessons and tests. Before they can vote, they’re exposed to television attack ads to ensure they arrive at the polls pre-jaded. We give them advice about sex. (“Don’t.”) Yet there are few if any preparations to discourage them from indulging in drink-related excesses involving funnels, indelible markers, exposed undergarments and frat boys who really ought to be punched in the mouth. But violence is never the answer, kids.

Luckily, I’ve had some experience in this area and can offer some advice.

First of all, children, you have two jobs: 1) stay safe, and 2) keep your parents as blissfully ignorant as possible. None of this upfront honesty about your plans to drink peach schnapps until your pores reek like a Brooklyn taxi air-freshener. Instead, you need to be as coy and evasive as possible.

“Will there be drinking at this party?”

“It’s the last night of school!”

“Will Billy’s parents be there?”

“Billy’s parents know all about it!”

“Are you planning to drink?”

“God-d-d-d-d! Why don’t you trust me!”

Well done.

Drink up, kids! (blogs.villagevoice.com)

Drink up, kids!

Next, remember that you will be dressed up for the occasion. You’re going to feel classy. You’re going to feel like you’re in a James Bond film. You might even think martinis are a good idea. First of all, you don’t know how to make a good martini. Secondly, no one knows how to make a good martini. Martinis are Satan’s spittle. Drink martinis – shaken, stirred, decanted into a Big Gulp cup, it doesn’t matter – and all you’ll end up with is a licence to hurl.

Champagne is a sophisticated alternative, although you should be aware that the carbonation in sparkling wine delivers alcohol to your system more swiftly, causing you to get tipsy more quickly. Also, you should be aware that dudes who use the word “tipsy” tend to be flying solo by the end of the night.

Where are you going to get your booze? Don’t ask your parents. They won’t buy it for you, unless they’re the coolest parents ever. Good for you for having the coolest parents ever. And thanks for making the rest of us parents look like bad guys, coolest parents! Don’t think we won’t be judging you and discussing your questionable child-rearing skills at dinner parties for the next 10 years, by which time your child will likely be facing a first minor felony charge and/or third unwanted pregnancy and/or second re-election bid.

No, you’ll want to be sneaking booze out of the house a little bit at a time over the next two weeks. We probably won’t notice. And if we do, we’ll pretend we don’t.

Prom night is a special night, your last night together as a high school class. Make it a memorable one. Don’t drink so much that you pass out and miss the whole thing or fail to remember vast chunks of it. Of course, if your date happens to be “Mr. Tipsy,” who could blame you for wanting to purge the whole night from your memory? (Alice MacIsaac, if you’re reading this, I’m on Facebook.)

Finally, your parents are desperately clinging to the illusion that you are innocent children, untainted by vice and corruption, and not in fact rushing off into the uncertain world of adulthood, self-reliance and Frosh Week. So if you do come home drunk, do them a favour and toss out the tried and true:

“Someone spiked my drink!”

“They made me drink a beer. Then they made me drink a beer eight more times!”


Thanks, Class of 2013. We appreciate it.

About rossmurray1

I'm Canadian so I pronounce it "Aboot." No, I don't! I don't know any Canadian who says "aboot." Damnable lies! But I do know this Canadian is all about humour (with a U) and satire. Come by. I don't bite, or as we Canadians say, "beet."
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44 Responses to Drinking Tips for Teens: Prom Edition

  1. The problem with being a parent, is that you know exactly what kind of irresponsible jackass you were as a teenager. I’m amazed at the survival rate, frankly. And on a more serious note, I don’t suppose it would make a difference to the kids that neurological pathways are still being formed and growing into one’s twenties.It really explains a lot of the adults. Especially the cool ones.

  2. Amanda Fox says:

    I agree with Michelle above – that IS the problem. You remember all the stupid things you did as a teenager. This is precisely why I get such little sleep these days. My children go out – I wait up, to offer rides when needed, to send texts reminding people to be responsible, to keep my ears and eyes open for the stupidity. Sometimes I wish my children liked to spend Saturday nights playing gin rummy with me and their dad at the kitchen table.

    I’m glad to know Ross that I’m not the only one giving these speeches. 🙂 My daughter has prom in a few weeks. Fun times – for her, not me.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      I know. Even though you feel in your heart you’ve raised them well, taught them to be sensible, trust them to make good decisions, offered to be there for them if needed, they can still be pea-brains. We’ll have to compare post-prom notes.

      P.S. At my second-oldest daughter’s prom, they gave out little survival kits that included a taxi number, a bandaid and a condom. Times change…

  3. Katie says:

    After prom me and two of my best friends shoved ourselves and our giant dresses into my friend’s tiny car and went to the McDonald’s drive thru.

    Relatively safe. Unless you figure in clogged arteries…

  4. denmother says:

    Is it a good strategy for parents to drink more than their graduate on prom night?

  5. It’s a vicious cycle of my parents remembering what they did as teenagers, then I remember what I did as a teenager – so we came together and decided that from 15-18, we shall have to cage the kid after dark to ensure his continued innocence.

  6. byebyebeer says:

    Around here they make kids blow into a breathalyser before entering prom. Then they do supervised after-prom parties that start at 1:30am and go until 5am and if you leave, you can’t get back in. I think the point is to tire kids out so much they don’t have time to drink, but maybe then they are at risk for falling asleep behind the wheel? I’m sorry I have to go through this with my (still young) kids, but man, I do not miss those days as a young drinker.

  7. Laura Lynn says:

    I just threw my now 12 yr old nephew a b-day party yesterday. Do you know how GREAT it was to see 1/2 dozen little boys playing zombie killers in the yard and drinking root beer? While we sat around and talked about how we would deal with them in 4 short years….drivers license, drinking, girls? Aaaiiieeee!!!! Please please please don’t turn out like me or my brothers…

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Bam! and then you’re there. Son 17. Licence? Check. Girlfriend? Check. Drinking? Well, he’s either very sly or not interested. I pretend it’s the latter.

  8. Being fat is taboo in Canada? Yikes. We’re being told to embrace fat here in the US. It’s only a matter of time before fat is a protected class. I have fond memories of drinking beer as a teen. A lot of it was near a sink so I could secretly pour bits of the swill into the sink so people thought I was actually drinking it. It tasted so awful then that I can’t believe I like it so much today!

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Ah, the pretend drinker. That’s what I am now, unfortunately. Back then, we would swill anything. Ever hear of Moody Blue? It was blueberry wine. Gak!

      As for fat, we’re not so physically fat in Canada but we still eat plenty unhealthy. Different strokes for different folks. (See what I did there?)

  9. First of all, teenagers who think they know what they’re doing booze-wise are way more saavy than the Liberal Party of Canada! Secondly, I’m pretty sure my kids (3 and 5) are already sneaking booze out of the house – I refuse to believe that the husband and I really drink that much!

  10. theidiotisms says:

    I don’t think you parents out there need to worry so much. Trust us for we know what it is we are doing. We won’t get into any trouble just for drinking, it’d have to be something way bigger than that. Haha! Don’t fire up, i was kidding.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      See, this is why we’re conflicted, because we know in our hearts that booze is mostly harmless, headachey fun. On the other hand, we’re in complete denial about whatever it is that you’re referring to that I’m sure doesn’t even exist around our children and I don’t want to talk about it.

  11. List of X says:

    Considering today’s teenagers’ obsession with posting and tweeting everything they see and do, a concerned parent could just watch their kid’s Facebook and Twitter feed to catch that moment when the prom party starts getting out of hand.

    • rossmurray1 says:

      Accidently busted my eldest in this way through a photo posted by a mutual friend. I don’t friend many mutual friends anymore because Ai prefer not to peek through that keyhole.

  12. pinklightsabre says:

    It would be ironic for me to call you an irresponsible jackass. I think you’re a nice guy, you just need a hat.

  13. Nic says:

    “First of all, you don’t know how to make a good martini. Secondly, no one knows how to make a good martini.”

    Ba! Ha! That line was perfection. And so true. WTF is up with martinis?

  14. Re-election bids. Why in the name of the Two Trees of Valinor won’t my “like” button work!?

  15. “Martinis are Satan’s spittle.”


    “Also, you should be aware that dudes who use the word “tipsy” tend to be flying solo by the end of the night.”

    As well as “tummy,” “kitty,” and “snuggly.” I had a guy let fly all three in one conversation. Can’t remember his name now, of course.


    This is an unfortunate choice of deterrent in that it is an actual cocktail. Nothing anyone would want to admit to, but a cocktail, nonetheless.

  16. Nadine says:

    So awesome in so many ways. I was doing the Sheldon laugh all way through. Also, Banditos: Mary Beth Richardson is an awesome vocalist.

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