Drinking is a lot like painting. It can be fun, but it’s also work — and there are rules. For both painting and drinking, the most important rule is that you need a good base coat. In order to be sure that your night out will be a success, you’ve got to prime it with a pregame.
For as long as there’s been drinking, there’s been pregaming. It’s an age-old ritual that is just as important as the actual “gaming” drinking itself. Actually, it’s more important, because the specific route you take from sober city to tipsy town will determine how the rest of your night plays out. Let’s take a look at the various types of pregames:
The Pre Party (FBO Pre)
The Pre Party is pretty much the assumed version when a pregame is mentioned. These are planned events in which a group of invited guests will gather to pregame a later event. While these lean to the formal end of pregame culture since invitations and BYOB are usually in play, there is a lot or variation in The Pre Party. For instance, uninvited friends of friends are a common — if not always welcome — occurrence, and drink sharing etiquette will vary usually based on who is hosting the pregame. The main characteristic of The Pre Party is that it is an event in itself, rather than just the thing that happens before an event, as it can often include music and games. A popular subset of The Pre Party is the FBO Pre (Facebook Official Pre, in case you don’t get common acronyms), which takes the event to the digital realm and solidifies its event-ness.
The classiest of all pregames is the Restaurant Pre. These involve going out to a restaurant or bar before a planned event for your drinking needs. Since this is an expensive option, most would not get more than a little buzzed off a Restaurant Pre, and they mostly occur in conjunction with a meal anyway.
Like The Pre Party, the Power Hour is a planned and respected pregaming event. But the Power Hour differs from The Pre Party in that it is a highly structured and rule-based occasion. The rules differ based on the type of Power Hour being utilized, but usually a group will either consume a shot of beer each minute for an hour or consume 21 shots of alcohol before the hour is up. Either way the objective is the same: to be so shitfaced that you won’t need to pay for drinks later on. Power Hours are for those who are serious about their drinking and want to do away with the idle chitchat that usually comes along with The Pre Party.
A time-honored American tradition, the Tailgate is nearly always a pregame that is associated with large amounts of food, strangers, and sports. Usually held in large parking lots or clearings of grass, cars from all over congregate to play cornhole, grill burgers, and get wasted before a much-anticipated sporting event. The combination of openness, excitement, drunkenness also lends most strangers to be very sharing with their food and drink, although you should always be sure you have a home base.
Pre The Pre
Besides being one of the most beloved phrases in my vocabulary, Pre The Pre is the best way to ensure that you attain the level of drunkenness that you want to be at without relying on a more formal pregame. As the name suggests, the core concept of Pre The Pre comes from actively drinking before attending a pregame. Pre The Pres can come in forms as varied as planned Pre The Pre gatherings, to simply drinking alone moments before going to a pregame.
Many times paired with a Pre The Pre, the Precret is a pregame that isn’t told to a larger group. Sometimes, this is one person drinking alone and not telling others, but it can also be utilized by a small group. Precrets, much like secrets, never work in large groups — they simply become a Pre Party or a Pre The Pre party. Usually, the motivation behind a precret is to avoid either veiled or explicit judgement from preachy acquaintances witnessing you drink a large amount of alcohol. Another motivation for a Precret arises from its pairing with Primer Shots.
Primer Shots is basically someones attempt to squeeze an entire pregame into a 5 minute period in order to give them either courage or numbness for an impending situation that is less than favorable. In this case, the “game” you are pre-ing us something you desperately want to avoid but can’t. Whether it’s anticipating seeing someone you can’t stand, talking yourself into attending a career fair, or even being forced into a seeing a move you aren’t excited about, Primer Shots are meant to make the cringe-worthy moments into fun ones, or at least just cringe-worthy seconds.
The Wasted Pre cannot technically be called a pregame since there is never really a “game.” The name comes from the usual reason for this pre, which is that you or someone in your group got too wasted and now you can’t go out. It also refers to the fact that all the drinking you’ve done at the pre is wasted. The Wasted Pre could also arise from adverse weather conditions, an unexpected cancellation, or simply a change of heart.
The final type of pregame is the most bizarre: The Unintentional Pre. Many times, this will occur after you’ve been drinking for a bit while sitting down, and then stand up to realize you’re drunker than you thought. Or it could arise in the form of a Restaurant Pre that you didn’t know was happening when you sat down to your first Applebees Ultimate Long Island Iced Tea. It can really sneak up on you in several different ways, and the end result is a need to cultivate and utilize this newly recognized drunkenness.