When I was in college we drank often, and sometimes to excess. I remember drinking shots and slugging down awful-tasting concoctions mixed in garbage pails . . . and regretting it all profoundly when I woke up with my head on the toilet seat the the next morning. All of that drinking, of course, occurred by slurping and swallowing the contents of cups, bottles, or cans raised to my lips.
Apparently we’ve crossed some new frontier in collegiate drinking excess, because some students are experimenting with alcohol enemas. This practice involves placing a tube in the keister and pouring alcohol into the colon, where it is absorbed directly into the bloodstream. As a result, the enzymes in the stomach and liver that break down alcohol are bypassed, and the drinker (I’m not sure that’s the right word, given the circumstances) gets drunk quicker. In fact, the recipient (I’m not sure that’s the right word, either) can get much drunker, much faster. A recent incident at the University of Tennessee saw one student hospitalized with a blood alcohol level of .40, which is five times the legal limit and in the range where people can die of alcohol poisoning.
This might just be a weird incident at one school that shouldn’t be assumed to be a trend. Even if alcohol enemas are just limited to the University of Tennessee, however, what would possibly motivate a kid to drop trou, stick a hose up his butt, and ask another person to do the pouring honors? Is getting drunk as fast as possible really so important that you would do something so outlandish, disturbing, and dangerous? I’ve got to believe that any student who has experimented with alcohol enemas has some very serious problems.
These stories raise certain at least two obvious questions. First, why is it called a “formal”? Any event where people are barfing and crapping in public sounds pretty darned informal to me. If this kind of behavior is considered appropriate for “formal” occasions, what godforsaken depraved behavior can be expected at informal events?
Second, how much of the attention given to these stories is based on the fact that sororities, and not fraternities, were involved? More than 30 years ago, Animal House got huge laughs for its depiction of a degenerate fraternity. Talk to any parent of a fraternity kid and you will see that the movie isn’t that much of an exaggeration. Fraternity kids drink heavily, do stupid stunts, and trash their fraternity houses, and people shrug and say “boys will be boys.” Stories of unruly fraternity activities are “dog bites man” stories. We tend to expect better conduct from sensible sorority women, however — which is part of the reason why the escapades of the boozy sorority sisters at Miami University are getting national attention.