Tying One On, Planning And Hugs

Katie Young
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Wednesday - October 25, 2006
| Del.icio.us

Why getting drunk is dangerous.

Most of us have been there at one time or another - a few too many alcoholic beverages and suddenly you’re dancing on the table or telling the guy you’ve had a secret crush on for years how much you “love him.”

Too much of the “truth serum” and you feel compelled to explore all your ugly emotions freely and openly, picking a fight with the bartender or bursting into tears over something you didn’t even think bothered you until just now.

The next morning, covered in the haze of a hangover headache, you are only able to relive your embarrassing confessions from the night before, thanks to your best friend, who fills you in (word-for-word) on all the gruesome details.

It’s enough to make you swear off drinking - at least for a couple of weekends, right?

As we get older, hopefully, these little incidents become fewer and farther between, until they exist only in diluted memories and private laugh fests with your friends.

But if you’re not careful, moments you could once laugh off as you just acting “young,” can now turn into professional and personal embarrassments or even life-threatening adventures.

Take, for example, the drunken Chinese tourist, who, last month, felt the sudden urge to hug a panda bear at the Beijing Zoo.

Now, I’m not exactly sure - even if I had gulped down 20 vanilla vodkas with Coke - if I would ever feel inclined to wrap my arms around a live panda bear, but Zhang Xinyan did.

Zhang, a 35-year-old migrant laborer, jumped over a waist-high railing and down into the panda’s enclosure. When he reached out to hug the sleeping panda, however, Gu Gu, a 6-year-old male panda, bit Zhang on the right leg.

According to the Chinese media, Zhang got angry and kicked the panda, who then bit his other leg. A tussle ensued.

Zhang was quoted as saying, “I bit the fellow in the back. Its skin was quite thick.”

Gu Gu was kept under control by being sprayed with water, and Zhang was hospitalized and stitched up. Both panda and Zhang survived the ordeal, but how’s that for a “morning after” story?

Just goes to show you how a few too many drinks can result in some ridiculous (and dangerous) behavior. So for the sake of all the innocent sleeping animals out there, as well as your own reputation, learn when to say when and opt for a glass of water instead of that next drink. If you don’t, like Zhang, you might just be biting off more than you can chew.

You have to be more deliberate about the choices you make.

A friend and I were talking the other day about her ex-boyfriend, who seemed content to go through life never really making any plans. He just floated along, waiting for opportunities to fall into his lap, never looking to create opportunities for himself. He was now in his late 30s, still partying four nights a week, still living paycheck to paycheck, and if you asked him his plans for the future, well, his only plan was to “have fun.”

This is why my friend decided to break up with him. It might be a fine lifestyle for the single bachelor, but not for someone who wanted to be a wife and mother. There are some things in life that I think you need to have a plan for. Things may not always go according to that plan, but as my friend said, “Life doesn’t just happen to you. You have to be more deliberate about the choices you make and where you want your life to go.”

Too old for escalator hugs?

I have to say that I find nothing wrong with a little PDA (public display of affection). I draw the line at blatant groping and making out, but I always stop to admire older couples who I see walking around holding hands or hugging one another.

A cynical friend of mine always maintained these couples were likely on their second or third marriages and this is why they seemed so in love, but I’d like to believe they were just a couple who got it right - a couple who understood that the little moments, the little caresses matter - that they aren’t just for the courtship stage. How something as simple as reaching out to hold their significant other’s hand across the restaurant dinner table could help strengthen a connection to last a lifetime.

So when my friend Dylan started to complain about how his wife always seemed to want to hug him as they were riding up or down an escalator and how they were “too old for that stuff,” I had to stop him mid-complaint.

I reminded Dylan that you’re never too old for hugs and he should be happy that after years together, his wife still felt inspired to wrap her arms around him whenever they stepped foot on a moving walkway.

A few months later, Dylan informed me that he had taken my advice, and now, every time they get on an escalator and his wife hugs him, Dylan reaches down and gently kisses her on the forehead.

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