Whenever you accidentally spill a drink on yourself, there’s a split-second feeling of “Well, I guess it’s all over now.”
This goes double if someone else is the cause of you spilling a drink. Or does anything to inconvenience you in a place like a club, where self-consciousness is ratcheted up to a million and you’re trapped in a room full of people who have all simultaneously forgotten how to be humans. The first time I ever went to a club that had dancing, a guy at the bar told me “Nice khakis,” and laughed, and holy shit. I was so angry at him and angry at his parents for loving each other and angry at everyone he ever knew for reinforcing even the tiniest parts of his personality. But most of all, I was angry that I wore khaki pants and a button-down shirt combination that screamed “My one-on-one interview with the manager of Family Video went perfectly average.”
This kind of stuff would ruin my whole night, and it did, many times. Something that I could’ve never hoped of controlling would go wrong, and it would be my Sisyphus for the evening. I’d struggle to push that esteem-shaped boulder up that me-shaped hill over and over again, and it took a long time to realize that it didn’t have to be that way. This whole bar smells like vodka, and that dude apologized, like, four times. Why am I letting this ruin everything?
Not shooting off the rails with a “WHAT’S UP, BRO?! YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?” every time a guy bumps into you and just accepting that, when you pack a bunch of drunks in an enclosed space, they might touch each other, is progress. It’s not huge progress since “WHAT’S UP, BRO?! YOU SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?” moments are relatively few and far between. But it still means that you’ve grown up into something that other grown-ups can take out in public.