12 Things You'll Inevitably See At Your Hometown Bar During The Holidays
The first time I took my boyfriend home for Christmas, I got him involved in all of our family traditions. He helped decorate the tree, participated in the Feast of Seven Fishes, and of course, played the townie bar drinking game, a fun little activity I came up with based on the strange and wonderful things I know I will see at my hometown bar during Christmas each and every year.
Yes, you read that right. I made up a drinking game based on the awkward encounters that inevitably happen at the local bar whenever I visit my hometown for the holidays. On Christmas Eve in my family, it's tradition to eat tons of seafood, finish wrapping all the gifts, and then head to the nearby watering hole to finish off the night, so trust me when I say I know what happens when nostalgia, liquor, and holiday cheer collide. It's a bizarre out-of-body experience, complete with saying hello to your old gym teacher and his wife, who is actually a high school alum who graduated the year before you. Get ready to embrace the awkward. Of course, it doesn't matter if you're on the East Coast, the West Coast, or somewhere in between. You'll experience these things no matter where you step foot this holiday season.
Here are 12 things you will inevitably see in your hometown bar during the holidays. It truly is the most wonderful time of year, isn't it?
1. The Ultimate Townie
You know that person in high school who loved everything about your hometown? You know, the kid who still wears his class ring, and used to talk about how nice it would be to settle down on Main Street? Yeah, he or she is at the bar, and they are just as gushy about home as ever. They'll tell you about how much things have totally changed around here, even though to you, things seem exactly the same.
2. Drunk PTA Moms
They might not be the same women you remember from high school, but you can spot a PTA mom a mile away... especially when they're getting drunk with other PTA moms at the bar. Your first clue was the SUVs and minivans parked outside with "My Kid Is An Honor Student" bumper stickers plastered everywhere, but once you got inside and heard the yelling, you were sure. They will be the ones drinking wine and complaining about other moms, their kids' teachers, or, let's be honest, their kids.
3. Baby Pictures — Lots And Lots Of Baby Pictures
Whether you run into an old friend from high school or a classmate's parent, be prepared to smile and nod at plenty of baby pictures. The night before Christmas, while the little kids are tucked into their cribs, the parents and grandparents are out bragging about their cute bundles of joy and asking you "Why haven't you had kids yet?" Another drink, bartender, and fast.
4. "Let's Get Coffee" Acquaintances
This will happen no matter what time of year it is, but it's especially common around the holidays. You cannot walk into a bar without stumbling upon someone you used to know who wants to "do lunch." You haven't talked in years, and even the brief conversation at the bar is forced and awkward, but this person from your past insists on seeing you again for coffee, a drink, a bite to eat — the list goes on. The point is, you will never actually have to see this person again, so just smile, agree, and go about your festivities knowing you won't have to talk to them until next year.
5. Your First Crush
Just like it did when this person walked into the cafeteria years ago, everything will go a little blurry when your first crush — you know, that person you wrote "I <3 ZM" all over your notebooks for — strolls into the bar. He might not be as perfect as you remember (was his hair always that thin? I don't remember him wearing socks with sandals), but you will always think of him when "My Heart Will Go On" comes on the jukebox.
6. The Kids You Used To Babysit, Who Are Now All Grown Up
Coming home for the holidays usually makes you feel like a kid again, what with the home-cooked meals and laundry being done by your parents, but when you see the little girl you used to babysit pounding tequila shots like a boss, you won't feel so childish anymore. In fact, you'll feel old AF this year when you see the kids whose diapers you used to change not only wearing a bra, but having bigger boobs than you.
7. Engagement Rings And Wedding Bands
You can't walk into a hometown bar around the holidays without practically tripping over someone's diamond. Whether it's a girl whose locker was next to yours in high school, or someone you barely talked to, they can't wait to show of their bling. And when you say hi to an old friend who happens to be already married? Get ready to see them twirl their wedding band, reminding you they're taken.
8. An Entire Group Of Crying Girls
Alcohol + holiday nostalgia + girls who haven't seen each other since high school = a crying mess. Yes, this will happen even at your hometown bar. Beware, and don't get sucked into the "Remember when...?" conversations. It will end in snot and tears.
9. Unwanted Reunions
While you might run into people you don't want to see at the bar, the people around you probably will too. It will become painfully obvious that the two people across the bar are exes by the way they look (or don't look) at each other. You can recognize an "Oh shit, not you!" face anywhere, and in your hometown bar, you'll see plenty of them.
10. Inappropriate Hook Ups
Wait, is that your neighbor making out with the quarterback from high school? Yes, yes it is. Only in a hometown bar, and only during the holidays.
11. The Nostalgic Sports Coach
You might not remember every goal you made in soccer or every catch you made in softball, but your old high school coach does, and he wants to tell you all about it. He or she will tear up over your MVP status while you try and think of the best way to tell them you don't play ball anymore. Things will get sufficiently weird.
12. Santa Claus
Call me childish, call me foolish, but I believe in Santa... at least, I believe in the one you are guaranteed to see at your hometown bar on Christmas Eve. Maybe he is the guy from the mall down the street, or a dad who dressed up to surprise his kids, but Santa is there, beer in hand. Watching the jolly old fellow get drunk will make your naughty list feel a lot smaller.
Image: Michael Bentley/flickr; Giphy (14)