Opinion: A Little Party Etiquette Never Killed Nobody

Despite the masshole stereotype, here at Boston College, we are a pretty courteous bunch. I’ve seen people hold the doors for each other (even the heavy one in Lower), pay for each other’s meals when funds run low around finals week, and keep an eye on each other’s laptops during bathroom breaks in the library. There is a certain level of camaraderie and trust on a day-to-day basis between BC students, but I’ve rarely noticed this behavior endure when Friday night approaches.

Yes, drunk people will compliment strangers while in line for the bathroom and shed grateful tears at the sight of freshly baked mozz sticks, but they also throw decorum out the window when they toss back the first shot. It’s been my experience that all members of the BC community would benefit from acquiring a little bit party etiquette to help our sober manners stick around after sundown.

First, I’ll tackle the bar scene, ostensibly the place where etiquette matters the most, since bars are off campus establishments with real (non-BC) people, real property, and a very real threat of repercussions. Most obviously and right in our backyard, if you are not a senior, don’t go to Mary Anne’s or Cityside. Not only will you stick out like a sore thumb and annoy every senior in the joint, you also will ruin the fun of going for the first time during your own senior year. MA’s appeal is its mystery and prestige; why ruin the surprise?

For other bars near campus, the expectations are standard. Respect the people making your Thirsty Thursday possible: uber drivers, bouncers, bartenders and the like. Resist the urge to assume that the people simply doing their jobs exist solely as obstacles to your incessant pursuit of fun. The same goes for your fellow partyers. They are not backup dancers in the music video of your life, and just because you can steal their uber back to campus and get away with it doesn’t mean you should. And always, ALWAYS tip when appropriate. If you can afford to go out, you can afford to tip.

On campus, the rules play out a little differently. Going to a BC party is like playing a home game: we know the turf and we act like it. Even the most naïve freshmen know that what happens in the mods stays in the mods, giving us a free pass to do whatever we want. Unfortunately, this mentality makes it far too easy to forget that the parties we attend on campus are hosted in people’s actual living spaces. RAs and even BCPD might not be scary enough to inspire accountability for our actions at parties on campus, but perhaps putting ourselves in the shoes of the mod owner who wakes up to a beer and vomit stained carpet can motivate a little common courtesy.

Most key to on campus party etiquette is to accept defeat when turned away from a party. This includes refraining from verbally abusing the host, physically destroying nearby property, or in any sense of the phrase, throwing a temper tantrum. I’m all for showing up to a party where you don’t know anyone and working your charm at the door, but expectations of getting in often breed disappointment. If you do make it past the door guard, stealing souvenirs or breaking property is strictly against the rules for obvious reasons.

Late night etiquette is exactly the same as normal dining hall standards of behavior, but rarely gets followed once alcohol is in the mix. Just remember, if you leave a mess, the late night staff will get stuck cleaning it up, and out of everyone on campus, the amazing men and women who serve us food every day deserve our respect the most.

To sum it all up, going out on the weekends isn’t a license to throw courtesy out the window. You might be thinking, “I can barely walk when I’m drunk, and you expect me to mind my manners?” Yes, though I understand the struggle, I really do. The problem here is not that the actual consumption of alcohol causes us to behave badly; it’s that we associate being drunk with a lack of accountability for our actions. But we are accountable, no matter our BAC. This is not to denounce the shenanigans and adventures that drinking with friends often brings; it is instead a reminder that you can in fact have fun without being a jerk. Courtesy comes naturally to us during the week, so I see no reason why we can’t tweak our mindsets and become nice and well-mannered, if a little drunk, on the weekends.

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Jacqueline Carney