This article originally appeared on Thump.
Worse than a one-night stand, or even a hangover, is waking with the grumbling knowledge in your stomach that last night you said some really dumb shit. In the whirlwind of alcohol, excitement, drugs and music, the floodgates open revealing the archive of weird secrets, buried emotions and shit jokes you have done so well to hide.
Personally, we actually think a solid fucked chat is good for the soul. The real diagnosis of course being that the stuff we say when we're wasted is everything we feel too socially constricted to reveal sober. It is in these lubricated twilight hours that friendships are made, lame recurring in-jokes are born and chests are relieved of all that 'stuff' that's been on them for so long. That being said, it is also the time when people try and start fights with wheelie bins, so let's not get too romantic about it
In an effort to better understand the 'fucked chat', to map its movements and meditate on its significance, we've put together a comprehensive guide to every boring, stupid, gross, cloying, creepy, bizarre conversation you are going to have this weekend.
Level 1: Stale Pre-Drink Chat
"I study engineering."
"Oh wow, that's pretty full on. I suppose it means you know what sort of thing you want to do after uni though?"
"Yeah, probably going to apply for some grad-schemes."
The evening starts in someone's living room, either with your mate's new boyfriend Dan, or the mate of a mate down for the weekend from another university. At some point, usually between cans, you find yourself asking the unfamiliar face in the room what they do for a living, something you thought only those completely devoid of personality did. In about six hours time you'll see the mate or the boyfriend in the club, pat them lightly on the back, ask them how the night's going, and slink off, never to see them again.
Level 2: The Taxi Driver
"When are you on until?"
Here we go. You've got that all important Stella buzz on, you've got a fresh ten deck in your pocket and the phone's on full charge. The Uber's cruising nicely. Put your chattiest/drunkest mate in the passenger seat and snigger from the back while they probe into how busy the driver's evening has been, how long they are working until, and whether or not they can put Beyoncé on the radio.
Level 3: Queue Chat
"...fucking freezing mate."
Queuing for a club is one of Dante's lesser referenced circles of hell. It's twenty minutes of standing about, saying pretty much less than fuck all, occasionally wondering if you can sneak off for a piss without losing your spot. Sometimes someone pushes in ahead of you and a cry of "WOAH, WOAH, WOAH"s ring round until you all realize that remonstrating with a stranger is fucking pointless because anyone rude enough to push in a queue isn't the kind of person who deals well with rational criticism delivered by someone stinking of Kroney and Amber Leaf.
Level 4: Flirting
"I recognise your watch."
"This place is really good isn't it?"
I'm of the humble opinion that a night out is made a lot better without worrying about trying to get your pants off. I'm all about the music, maaaan. Still, even the shittiest of clubs can house the kind of face that rescues a dud night. When you catch it, and you've had enough to drink, you might decide to try and talk to them. Unless you're the kind of jeans-and-shoe lad who happily oversteps lines and limits, it'll probably be quite awkward. Pro tip: always ask them for a lighter, even if you or they don't smoke. If they do you can invite them outside and if they don't then, well, get ready to launch into a fifteen minute rant about how dirty smokers are. Alternatively, it always goes down really well if the object of your affection wears glasses and you ask to try them on and then pretend that you're now blind because you briefly wore someone else's glasses. Trust me.
Level 5: Talking to Someone Sober
"You having a good night?"
"Mmmm? Yeah just chilled out really. Mmmm?"
We've put this in at level five, but consider it more of a bonus level as it can strike at any time. A rogue phone call from your Mum, someone asking for directions as you walk to the club, I've even had a dog-walker trying to engage me in a bit of chit-chat while I sat on a bench trying not to be sick at 7 am. They are weird as shit – a sudden stark reminder that not everyone in the world feels like there is a fruit machine in their head. Best tactics include: trying to keep your eyes open (but not too wide), saying as little as possible (but not too little), and avoiding constant reassurances that you haven't even drunk that much.
Level 6: Coming Up
"How long ago did we drop?"
"Like, 20 minutes ago."
"Ok... I'm not feeling anything yet... how long ago did we drop?"
Depending on what sort of night out you have, this might be the point when you start furiously tapping all your mates on the shoulder only to say "I think I'm..." while pointing at the ceiling. This will happen roughly fourteen times over the next 45 minutes as each of you routinely try and convince yourselves that your half a gary is kicking in. If you're not riding that wave, you'll be the one calmly reassuring everyone that no, it's not that hot in here, and yes, water is free at the bar, and yes you'll roll them twelve fags. Sucker.
Level 7: I <3 U M8!
"Come here, you."
"I've missed you... love you so much."
"Sorry, do I know you?"
This is probably as nice as the chat is going to get, before you descend into the bug-eyed hinterland. You're all fucked now but crucially still enjoying the music enough not to venture past a few brief declarations of how great you think everybody is. Even people you hardly know. Fuck, even if the weird woman who used to give you piano lessons when you were in primary school was out you'd probably put her in a headlock and thank her for everything she did for you. Note: some people like to punctuate these with kisses on the top of the head.
Level 8: The Smoking Area Stranger
"Do you like football?"
"Yeah it's mint isn't it?"
The club is fucking popping by now and the real world's vanished. This is it. You want a cigarette and some time to take it all in. A stranger stumbles up to you and you both desperately try and find some common ground to rinse until there's nothing left to give. Beware though, some smoking area strangers don't quite understand what their role in your night is. They may well try and add you on Facebook, or worse, latch on to you for the rest of the night. Do you want to share a cab home? He only lives thirty miles away.
Level 9: Appreciation Season
"Thing is like, you're not just my mate, you're like my brother, and I've got actual brothers." "You're more of a brother to me than my sister is." "I'm so proud of you."
This is the intense evolution of level 7, a promotion from the 'I love you's of earlier, into full-on aggressive compliments If you don't get paired off with a stranger in the smoking area, you may still find yourself surrounded by your nearest and dearest. If this is the case, you will most likely jump two footed into the big, oily vat of mutual congratulation. You may have to stand, staring thoughtfully at your mates trainers, while they have you gripped in a vice-like hold around your neck, telling you over and over that they'd take a bullet for you.
Level 10: Shit Political Chat
"It's not about socialism anymore." "It is mate it's just not as easy to categorise." "Look, my Dad came from a working class background..."
Fucking hell, this is the worst conversation you'll have every weekend all year. You saw the debates? Greens are on the up are they? Piss off Owen Jones. Save it for a Frank Turner gig.
Level 11: The Cryer
"He's/She's such a dick/bitch!" "I know mate/babe." "You don't though! He/She doesn't talk to you like this!"
This is a real killer. If you are a night-on-the-town crybaby then sort it out. We've come out to drink over-priced Red Stripes, not to listen to you, perched on the edge of the curb, whimpering about someone you will continue to hang out with, or have sex with, regardless of our continued drunken support. Important note: you might be tempted to try and gender this one, but boys definitely do cry.
Level 12: The DMC
"Urgh sorry I'm ruining the night, is this really annoying?"
"No it's fine honestly, you can always tell me this stuff."
The DMC – a real deep-meaningful-chat – can get heavy. Best to watch out for these and nip them in the bud early before you end up losing two hours. It emerges when you, and one or two friends are so wasted somebody decides to reveal a dark family secret, major anxiety, or (at best) confession regarding the death of a pet. These have the potential to be very therapeutic, but they also have the potential to blitz through the DJ set you've been waiting all week for.
Level 13: The Prang
"Have you got any water?"
"You alright mate you look peaky?"
"Nah I'm sort of...bugging out a little bit."
Prangsmen are a nightmare. I've got a mate who, once past a certain point, will suddenly glare at me with furious concern as if my face is melting, only to then say "don't worry about it." These come about when you suddenly realise your mate has dropped a spot of something stronger without telling you, and now everyone has a Jansport rucksack for a head. That being said, the freak-out can happen to anyone, and it doesn't have to be hallucinogens that set it off. It could be you one night. One minute grinning along to the tune of the summer, the next convinced there are ants everywhere.
Level 14: Ordering Food
"Do you have garlic mayo?"
"What can I get for 80p?"
"Sorry, we're closed now."
It always amazes me how what should be the simplest part of any night can become by far the most complicated. What should be the sentence "Donner and chips please mate" becomes an endless cavalcade negotiation and condiments, words melting on impact into a mangled "alright-mate-how's-it-going-you-still-doing-chops-chips-or...have you got onion rIngs?". Your group will dissolve entirely, some trying to be mates with everyone behind the counter, others complaining that a small portion of chips are £2.50, all the while sloping about as if chicken shops are zero gravity chambers.
Level 15: Cosmic chat
"It's going to be a bit like Ocado, but for independent cinema."
"Do you ever think, fuck, Mike Tyson has a dad?"
"Stairs are man made, but have always existed in an unreachable parallel state...like...look at where those stairs are. There was a time when they weren't there, but the potential to move from that level...up to that level...had always existed."
Wow. You've made it to level 15. You must be really fucked. By this point all bets are off. Topics can range from 'how amazing it is to actually look a wild animal in the eyes' to 'an app idea you've had involving a simulated motion interface and interactive text'.
Completed all 15 levels? You should probably go to sleep now.n