Spring Break — (n.), an academic tradition that began in the 1930s as a way to offer a midterm break or time off for Easter. Contemporary spring break practices still have much in common with Easter: The concept of rebirth (when your roommate seemed dead after three shots of tequila, but came back to life at the smell of bacon pancakes), the importance of large stones (or being stoned), the centrality of eggs (a pivotal hangover food), and the sacrifice of one man (the sober sitter/DD/Jesus take the wheel) for the lives of the collective.
PAAARTAY! — (n.), the homing beacon of drunk spring breakers. This loud inebriated shout, frequently accompanied by a drunken selfie and incoherent hashtags (#pooturnt #durnkselfie), helps spring breakers find one another when they’ve lost their brethren.
Party Mom — (n.), person who offers a ponytail when their friend is crying on the toilet, worries about cleaning up the spilled drinks or bathtub puke (a better and easier to clean variety of puke than living room or kitchen puke). Party moms can really kill your vibe (who wants someone to make sure they don’t drink too much and get home safe at the end of the night?).
BYOB — (command.), you definitely know this one. But did you know, this phrase does actually (at least almost, maybe, perhaps, I don’t know how old your parents are, they could be 30, they could be 80) pre-date your parents? According to the ever knowledgeable Wikipedia, “bring your own beer” started as “bring your own bottle” in the 1970s, and was originally used by restaurants that didn’t have liquor licenses.
Lake Havasu — (n.), a self-proclaimed ultimate spring break party scene in western Arizona. Buy a hotel package for $50-$250 a night, because why would you want to visit family or take a vacation you can actually remember, when instead you can spend $1,700 to wake up to soggy Cheerios in a bowl of Jack Daniels?
Hookup — (n./v.), a casual sexual encounter. In the mythos of spring break, hookups involve beaches, bikinis and bimbos (or bitches or blondes or thots, instead of, you know, actual human women who are people). But remember those pesky laws that require everyone involved in sex to actually want the sex and be capable of making coherent choices about whether or not they want the sex (wouldn’t want to end up in jail, or, you know, screw up someone else’s life).
Consent — (n.), something absent in the spring break party imagery of tan bodies, big boats and booming bass. Consent is the concept that you need permission from other people to crash at their house, sleep in their bed or touch their body. Permission isn’t always given verbally, but talking about things makes it really easy to figure out if someone is giving you consent. People need to be in their right mind to give you permission (as in maybe drunk strangers aren’t the best people to bang).
Alcoholism — (n.), something normalized by the spring break stereotypes and vacation packages. A physical and mental illness that affects 17 million U.S. adults. It shortens a person’s lifespan by 10 years and warning signs include a preoccupation with drinking to the exclusion of other activities and blackouts. Parties are fun, but pretending that a week of binge drinking is normal makes it easy to pretend that alcohol dependence is not a problem.
Please be safe on spring break. Please party responsibly. Please ask permission, get a DD, count drinks and don’t drink so much you forget your night (to be clear: please don’t spend the entire week intoxicated. See a few sights, dance a few dances and catch up on sleep).
Cathy Cook is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Cathy_Daily.