How to Have Fun as the Designated Driver
By: Gabriela Vargas ’16
Put the words “designated sober driver” and “crowded bar” together. You probably get an image of some sorry-looking sap looking at their phone in the corner of the room, hoping the night ends sooner rather than later. There’s a stigma in American culture that says sober drivers have to sit out on all the fun, but the truth is that the designated driver is the coolest person in the group for getting everyone home safely. The designated driver deserves to have an amazing time, too! Here are my “anti-texting-in-the-corner” tips for the next time you sober drive for your friends.
Tip One: Make Friends with the Bartender
When you’re up ordering drinks with your friends, tell the bartender you’re sober driving and ask them to make you a virgin cocktail. You still get to have your fancy fun drink to amp up your mood without jeopardizing your sober status. This also keeps you accountable: the person with all the alcohol now knows you can’t have any. I’ve gotten to know some local bartenders this way, and sometimes they’ll even comp my drinks. Make sure you leave them a tip!
Tip Two: Take Advantage of the Late Night Menu
Most people forget that bars have awesome, wallet-friendly late night menus to supplement all the drinks. Even if you can’t treat yourself to alcohol, there’s nothing stopping you from treating to a plate full of loaded nachos. Have you ever heard someone say they’re not having a good time with a mouthful of gooey, delicious cheese? I didn’t think so.
Tip Three: Start a Game
If the bar has a more relaxed vibe, gather up your friends and play a game. You can go classic with some rounds of Truth or Dare, or there are a ton of great games you can download on your phone to play with the group. My favorite is Heads Up, because you can save the crazy videos of gameplay to watch with your friends the next day.
Tip Four: People Watch
What’s more entertaining than people watching? Watching people that have taken their dose of liquid courage. I like to make it into a guessing game with points. Ten points if that guy in the blue V-neck gets so into the music that he starts dancing on the table. Thirty points if you see anyone trying to use a selfie-stick.
Tip Five: Dance Your Face Off
People swear they’re better dancers once they’ve had something to drink, but the truth is that they’re only less inhibited. Show off your killer dance moves (and be sure of them) when you reach a lull in the night. Don’t be shy; request that the DJ or the band plays your favorite jam.
Ultimately, you should take cute pictures with your friends, chat up someone new, and look hot while doing all of it because the absence of alcohol shouldn’t stop you from doing what you love. Just remember that if you do slip up and have something to drink, own up to it and find another way home. There’s no shame in spending money on a cab; your car will still be there in the morning. Have fun, be safe, and make sure to take a video if the guy in the blue V-neck actually does start dancing on the table.