I was walking home the other night down Broadway and was suddenly bombarded by four very drunk girls who couldn’t seem to walk straight. They stumbled in their heels, their mini-skirts were flying every which way, and their giggles and shrieks attracted quite a few stares from some very sober Gourmet Heaven patrons.

Were they drunk? Yes. Were they obnoxious? Yes. Were they wrong for being insanely trashed on a Saturday night? That depends.

Drinking is certainly not uncommon at Yale, and alcohol is plentiful at fraternity and room parties alike.

“It’s really easy to get alcohol on campus,” Meg Quintana ’06 said. “Most parties serve it, and people are really willing to get it for you if you don’t have an ID.”

The consequences of drinking, however, often make drinking seem like more trouble than it’s worth — the “drunken mess,” as one girl said. There are some times when it seems as though you just shouldn’t drink, times when your intention to get as wasted as possible might not be such a hot idea.

Tailgating is one of these times. Though students and alumni alike relish the tradition, the dangers involved with the football game can be too much for some to handle. Take one freshman boy who measures his stages of drunkenness in terms of “Ds” — the more Ds, the drunker he is. This boy was eager to get a “double D” for the Cornell football game and a “quadruple D” later on that night. Unfortunately, it seemed as though his Ds went a little out of control.

Too much tailgating caused the poor freshman to first run onto the field and accost the cheerleaders, then pick a fight with a policeman by waving a pompom in his face. The policeman, obviously unhappy with the boy’s behavior, broke his necklace and asked to see an ID. The only ID he had with him was his fake. The policeman took the boy’s information, and called the master of his college. But the overly zealous tailgater survived to share the sordid details of his experience.

Others are not so lucky. A run-in with a policeman while using her fake ID led one girl to court, where she had her driver’s license revoked for a year, and the incident went on her permanent record.

Drinking seems to provoke all kinds of run-ins, not just with the law, but with other, unsavory individuals. The temptation of that girl from your Spanish class, at whom you never would have looked twice, looks 100 percent hotter at Toad’s after beer pong at Zeta Psi. Or the guy who keeps eyeing you at the Safety Dance turns out to be, you discover the next morning, the recent ex of one of your good friends — you thought he looked familiar!

Drunken nights lead to all sorts of uncomfortable, sticky morning situations and — the absolute worst — the walk of shame. Running into your dean at 9 a.m. while wearing boots, a skirt, tank and smudged eye makeup is never a pleasant experience. Nor is having your ex call your name loud enough for all of Old Campus to hear while you are sprinting back to your room barefoot in boxers and a t-shirt.

Yet, in the grander scheme of things, the walk of shame may be one of the least harmful things about a drunken night.

“I think over-consumption can lead you to situations you wouldn’t normally put yourself in,” Caroline Kaufman ’07 said. “There have definitely been nights I don’t remember and that worries me.”

“Drinking gives you liquid courage,” said a Berkeley sophomore male. “You can go up and flirt with girls a lot more, but sometimes you end up flirting with the wrong ones.”

Worse yet, you may end up hooking up with a friend, thus destroying a friendship.

“Sometimes drinking sucks,” a Calhoun junior girl said. “It ruins friendships. If you are like me, you never would hook up with someone you don’t know, so when you are drunk, you gravitate towards those you feel safe around. And then — uh-oh — you end up hooking up with your friend.”

Some students have definitely made drunken decisions they later regret, and some have taken their drinking too far, allowing it to control their lives.

“Alcohol is easy to get, regardless of age, and is almost universally approved of,” Ben Siegel ’07 said. “But, accordingly, it’s very easy to find students who are on the road to or have already gotten to the point of binge-drinking.”

Alcohol is accessible, plentiful and can certainly spice up an ordinary Saturday night. But nothing is worse than waking up in the morning, head still spinning, trying desperately to remember each event of the night before, and wincing with each movement of your head. And the worst part of all is knowing that next weekend, the whole “drunken mess” cycle will begin again.

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