I’ve been dating a girl from merry old England for a couple years now. For the most part, she agrees that partying in America is way better than going out in the UK. This is because drinking in England mostly consists of wading around through a puddle of sick in an underground club to (I shit you not) the music of Fall Out Boy and Nickelback, or being 70 years old in a pub on the High Street. I’ve done both, and I don’t recommend it.
They do, however, have one amazing tradition that we absolutely need to steal ASAP. It’s called Mad Friday.
Mad Friday, also known as Builders’ Friday or Black-eyed Friday, marks the start of the festive party season as many offices close for the holidays. The last Friday before Christmas sees hundreds of revellers enjoying a boozed up night out and indulging in the Christmas spirit.
Here’s how it works:
All of the college/university kids are home, the office is closed, and there’s fuck all to do. It’s like the Mardi Gras of the holiday season, and everybody shares a sacred, time-honored agreement to get so wasted you’re going to start seeing flying reindeer and ending up sexually assaulting a snowman.
Just like Mardi Gras and Halloween, it’s an excuse to wear the foulest, most depraved and lecherous party gear from the back of the musty beer-stained closet. According to my girlfriend, while walking the streets of Manchester you’re guaranteed to see some “slaggy shit.”
Having just survived Mad Friday, I can confirm that I did indeed witness world-class debauchery.
It wasn’t even 10:00 p.m. when I spotted some girls trying to deal with one of their friends in a loose Santa costume passed out in front of a club. It was sub-freezing, but hey, Santa wears that red and white fur stuff at the North Pole, so it should be good right?
My girlfriend pointed out that Santa also probably wears pants. I nodded and we went inside.
The place was packed like a Siberian sweat lodge, and there were icicles of perspiration dripping from the ceiling. A different girl in an elf costume was handing out peppermint schnapps shots. For free. Tis’ the freaking Season.
My girlfriend’s friends are these big rugby guys, one of the few breeds of dude who can actually keep up with an American fraternity man. We tossed back frosted nipples and absinthe (it’s so easy to get absinthe here, you guys) as the jingle bells rocked.
In a different club, this little Ron Weasley-looking motherfucker came up with a sprig of mistletoe hanging from his belt. He made the mistake of tapping on one of the rugby guy’s dates. The rugby guy cold clocked the kid and decked him with one punch. In the UK, this is “just some lads having a row” and nobody gets in trouble, which is another tradition we need to implement here in the States.
Highlight of the night for me was definitely taking a shot of German cream liqueur from a little bottle shaped like a sperm from a man dressed in a freakishly convincing Ebenezer Scrooge outfit. Screw chestnuts and sleigh bells and family, this is the kind of weird shit you remember for the rest of your life.
My friends in America are probably sitting at home with their families, or freezing their nuts off at some outdoor Christmas lights display. The options for pre-New Years fun are few. Here in America, hitting the bars at Christmas is kind of a sad and lonely thing. But it doesn’t have to be.
Good friends and alcohol have the potential to make the longest, darkest nights of the year some of the warmest and drunkest.
Let’s bring Mad Friday to the States. Who needs an extra excuse to drink around Christmas time anyway?.