You’re 24 hours away from a dinner with family members who can vividly remember your “awkward phase.” There’s only one logical thing to do.
Hit the bar.
It’s no surprise the night before Thanksgiving -- often called Black Wednesday or Blackout Wednesday -- attracts a consistent flow of party goers.
“That’s one of the biggest nights in the bar business,” said John “John Boy” Jackson, owner of the Shanty Shack, a Warm Springs Road hot spot. Some nightlife fans rank Thanksgiving Eve’s popularity beside Halloween and New Year’s Eve.
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What makes the night so popular? For starters, there’s the fact that few people have to work the next day.
An early onset of cabin fever likely leads some partiers to local watering holes as well -- you can only handle so much family time, after all.
Also, Thanksgiving Eve’s party potential is largely a result of the resurrected social ties that accompany a holiday homecoming.
“It’s kind of just like a big old reunion,” said Amy Haynes, co-owner of Flip Flops in downtown Columbus.
You’re back in town visiting family. Why not call up a few old friends and catch up over drinks?
“We see fraternity people get together. A lot of people who have moved away from here actually come back,” said David Carson, owner of SoHo Bar & Grill on Milgen Road.
Many bar owners expect solid crowds throughout Thanksgiving weekend.
The pre-Thanksgiving reunion is a nice way to vary your social routine -- and savor the satisfaction that comes with learning your former high school prom queen is now working a minimum wage fast-food gig.
Yet navigating the Thanksgiving Eve party scene isn’t always easy.
While not quite as intimidating as the relationship inquiries you’re bound to receive at Thanksgiving dinner, Black Wednesday carries a unique set of social concerns.
Hitting the town Wednesday night? Remember these tips.
Stay in the present. It’s one thing to rehash a few funny stories from the past. However, attempting to resolve high school drama 10 years after graduation is a recipe for disaster.
You will see Him. Or Her. It’s a standard rule of partying. Regardless of your chosen venue’s obscurity, you’re bound to encounter the one party goer you’re avoiding. That means it’s entirely possible your most recent ex -- you know, the one who was supposed to be studying Alaskan wildlife -- will somehow appear in downtown Columbus Wednesday night. Prepare accordingly.
Embrace conversation tolerance. Nothing screams “rude awakening” like learning that the girl once obsessed with makeup and dance parties now likes to talk about strollers and diaper rashes. If you haven’t seen your old friends in years, it’s unreasonable to assume everyone has sustained the same interests. Learn how to smile and nod. Believably.
Avoid envy. Don’t be surprised if you and your former high school buddy end up in a passive-aggressive battle over who has the better job, house or significant other. In most reunion settings, it’s natural to want to portray yourself positively.
You’re getting a very limited snapshot of your friends’ lives. You’ll all emphasize your achievements and downplay your failures. Since the conversation is skewed, don’t use it as a barometer to judge your life.
Drink responsibly. Go ahead, savor a special cocktail on Black Wednesday. But remember, Thanksgiving is only hours away -- and you’re somewhat obligated to look presentable for the big meal. At least avoid having beer breath while refuting rumors of your awkward phase.
Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at 706-571-8516.