Lucky Charms or beer: Sizing up your options on St. Patrick’s Day

March 17 is almost here and then it’s on like a leprechaun. That’s Saint Patrick’s Day, a holiday notorious for drinking—and puking up—green beer. This year it’s on a Thursday night, so the timing is perfect for even more partying than usual. When the green bra goes on and you go out, here are a few things to remember.

You don’t have to keep up with anyone. Just because your friends can put away a ton of alcohol, doesn’t mean you can…or should. Remember that jackass who always drinks too much and gets sloppy? The one who comes off like a total rookie? Don’t be that jackass.

Make sure you have back up. Unfortunately, some effed up people have been known to slip things into drinks. Crowded bars and parties are where this usually goes down. Pay attention. Watch over each other. Never leave your drink unattended and be very careful if you accept a drink from a stranger. And if you or any of your friends feel funny or act more out of it than usual, have a plan to get home safely.

You don’t have to sleep with anyone either. Saint Patrick’s Day feels flirty. (Maybe it’s the whole prove-to-me-you’re-wearing-green-or-I’ll-pinch-you thing. It’s so cheeky!) And it can be a big night for hooking up. But getting drunk and having sex has its risks. Before you do anything with anyone, make sure you want to. If you don’t want to have sex, make that clear and don’t isolate yourself with a guy. If you’re in the middle of hooking up and then decide you don’t want to have sex, it’s never too late to say no. Sadly, date rape can happen. Here’s a NY State Troopers pamphlet on how to avoid it.

Make sure you have contraception. They make green condoms. If you are having a good night with a good guy—and you’re in control and in the mood—by all means go for it. Just be sure to use a condom, even if you’re on another kind of birth control. Because it’s not just about preventing pregnancy. You also want to avoid STIs with a new guy, a friend, an ex, or even your current love interest.

And should you decide to stay in, there are a million ways to make it festive. Make shamrock shakes. Rent the movie Once. Turn your favorite green t-shirt into cute Saint Paddy’s Day knickers. Have fun!

Éirinn go brách,

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