culture / Dylan Patterson / October 2018

To Pregame or Not to Pregame

Written by Dylan Patterson

Muted bass and the indecipherable mumblings of a hundred Brads packed into a cramped, alcohol-reeking two-bedroom house would make any reasonable person turn around; but in Burlington, Vermont college students will, for some reason, pay to go inside.

While for some, Saturdays may be designated “for the boys,” for others, it’s a time to travel the streets of Burlington to a house party that your friend heard about through a convoluted game of telephone. The underage, sensationalistic nature of going to house parties radiates throughout college underclassmen, and trap house owners know it. As any great capitalist knows: when you have a product (in this case, a vague Sunday morning memory of a regrettable house party from the night before) and there happens to be demand, money will inevitably be involved.

A ticket-system (more common at UVM parties than Champlain ones) involves trap house residents treating their homes much like a concert venue. Students will pay $5 in order to enter and there are a limited amount of tickets being sold. Very rarely does it seem ideal to pay to go to a house partyespecially one that is destined to be forgotten by the next weekend. But students still flock to them in the hundreds.

College students are notoriously broke. What incentive do they have to willingly part with their money? Party hosts would like you to believe that it’s the experience and the risk involved with hosting one hundred fifty-plus people in their home but, speaking as a party-goer, the real incentive comes from the alcohol involved.

With over one hundred people to intoxicate, a serious amount of liquor has to be involved. That’s why fuckboys love to serve “jungle juice.” Hosts will purchase up to fifteen handles of vodka in preparation of making your blood alcohol content higher than your free-falling GPA. Calculations have been made and 26 liters (880 ounces) of 80 proof vodka has the ability to fuck you up in a hurry. This begs the question: are these ticketed parties really worth going to?

Getting trashed on a weekend night is fairly easy to do in Burlington. Though if you’re under 21, your options are really limited. Legal-age students can hit the bars and not worry about all the social politics involved with finding and going to a house party. Their biggest worry is choosing which bar to go to.

For underclassmen, the decision can be difficult. Finding a connection to get you into a party is one thing, but finding someone to buy you booze really amps up the headaches. Not only who’s going to buy the alcohol, but what are you going to have them get you? You could pregame with a 12 pack of beer. That usually runs you $13 – $17, maybe more depending on if whoever is buying it for you wants to charge a little extra. A cheap bottle of liquor is always a great option. Burnett’s vodka is only about $10 for a fifth. Calico Jack rum and Seagrams gin are $12. Wine is delicious so a pregame with it is scary, but it’s definitely a solid choice since Barefoot wine usually is only $8.

Right off the bat, the five dollar entry fee for a house party seems like a steal. One third to half-off the price of store-bought, personal alcohol for “unlimited” drinks at a party seems like a no-brainer, right? The central debate doesn’t really revolve around the price, though. Clearly, just paying an entry fee is a cheaper alternative to anything you could possibly buy at a liquor store.

The real problem is simple: will there be enough jungle juice for everyone?

Let’s do some math: One standard drink in the United States is 14 grams of pure alcohol. If Brad’s Gatorade cooler is filled with a 1:1 mix of juice and 40 proof vodka and Chad fills his solo cup with 12 ounces then in that one drink he is actually consuming what the United States considers to be the equivalent of four alcoholic drinks.

The average height and weight of an American male is about 5’9 and around 180 pounds. According to the “How to Get Fucked Up” chart, after one cup of Brad’s 1:1 mixture, the average bro’s blood alcohol content (BAC) will be around .08%. After another dab into the infamous jungle juice, their BAC would rise to .18%. According to the “How Trashed am I?” diagram, between .18% – .30% they are pretty intoxicated, slurring their words, and their reflexes slow down. The average American female is around 5’4 and weighs around 160 pounds. After one cup, their BAC would be .11% and after two, it would rise to .23%.

This is all assuming that the mixture really is 1:1 and Brad hasn’t watered that shit down.

Smart people would have pregamed a little before the party. In that case, they would probably be done for the night. But let’s say they came in sober as hell and wanted three drinks: would there be enough for everyone at the party? The short answer: no.

If Brad and his boys buy fifteen handles of vodka, that only equals 26 liters. If they do a 1:1 mix they would need another 26 liters of juice, making the entire mixture equal 52 liters. If everyone wanted three cups of Brad’s sketchy jungle juice at twelve ounces a cup, there would only be enough for 49 people. When’s the last time you only saw 49 people at a house party? Most of the time, these things have 100-plus people. You’d be lucky to fill one Red Solo cup, much less three.

So yeah, maybe Brad has a dope pad, sick basement, and a speaker with a bass that really slaps, but the math doesn’t lie—he doesn’t have enough drinks for everyone. Not to mention, Brad’s jungle juice can be sketchy as fuck. It’s probably smarter to pregame before the party, but if you really just want to get completely trashed with house party-provided alcohol it would probably be smart to show up early or drink hella fast.

PSA: Don’t be a dumbass. If you go out drinking, get an Uber, Lyft, or sober friend to take you home.

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