DC Nightlife Taxonomy, Part 2: the Striped Drunkard

11 July, 2006

You’ll remember that my apartment overlooks the intersection of Drunk and Crazy, and so it makes sense that the first classification to make itself known to me, the “woo girl,” was one of the noisiest. It also makes sense that this group would have been so easily and aptly named by Adams-Morgan employees and residents, since they are colored brightly to attract attention. Not so our latest type, my friends, not so. Unlike their woo-happy sisters, they are quiet. They are nondescript. And there is no consensus on what to call them. Are they frat boys? Are they Republicans? Are they interns? Staffers? It’s a mystery.

Two things, however, are clear.

1) They wear striped shirts.

2) They are very, very drunk.

18th St, New Year's Day 2006

I shot this specimen before I had thought up this project. It was the very earliest hours of 2006 and revelry was high on Drunk St., but he was sitting as motionless as humanly possible. His pose seemed to indicate incredible sadness, like he had just received awful news of some sort of medical or financial nature, but on second glance he was actually holding himself together with every fiber of his being concentrating on not falling over or throwing up.

I was reminded of this fellow, and made aware that perhaps we had a type on our hands, while arriving home from work later than usual one recent Friday night. It was 10 or thereabouts. As I walked up the shady residential stretch of Calvert towards Adams-Morgan, I was vaguely aware of two guys moving slowly towards me, but they were too far away to take note of yet. But then! One of them, suddenly and dramatically,


in the middle of the sidewalk. With great economy and purpose of movement he slooooooowly stretched his arm out towards his companion, and gently, ever so gently, pulled Companion away from the center of the sidewalk. Ever so gently, and with small, focused steps, Companion let himself be moved to the side. Heads down, they remained in their near-penitent sidewalk-clearing position until I had passed, avoiding eye contact, as if looking at another human being might somehow have caused them to lose their balance. Or their judgment. Or their cookies.

I am not sure which bars these males frequent. I’ve probably been in bars with them and just not noticed. Hell, I’m not sure I’d notice these guys even if they bought me a drink. Maybe one already has…hmm. Also, I am not sure if their primary goal is finding mates or getting drunk. To be that drunk at 10 on a Friday indicates the latter, which is no way to propagate a species. But maybe they use the weekend drinking nights for different purposes. Perhaps Friday is for loosening up enough from their workweek to be able to find mates on Saturday. That’d be a pretty sophisticated reproductive strategy, and easily testable by closely observing differences between Friday and Saturday night behavioral patterns.

They have to have a vocal phase — I do hear men woo!-ing at times, might be them — but I seem to see them a few too many beers on the other side of that. Are these the men who get in fights with men of other ethnic groups? (nah, those are probably these guys,

Jumbo Slice, 18th street

who are more of the t-shirt wearing type. We’ll cover them another time.)

Yes, the striped drunkards leave this researcher with more questions than answers. Is there a better name? Do they travel in packs, or pairs, or are they loners? Do I need special glasses to see them, or to learn special techniques, all Gorillas In The Mist-like? How many beers get them to this point, are they lightweights, average, or high-tolerance? Which locations do they choose to throw up, and do they do so alone or in pairs or groups? Do they express the X-linked street-urination gene that so many sports fans do — are they perhaps sports fans themselves? Where do they reside? Are they from….VIRGINIA? (Oooo, this makes sense. If so, where do they park?)

Is A-M their native drinking land? Or is it the Hill or downtown post-work bars that serve K streeters, and the ones who make it up here are the adventurous ones? Hmm, if so, and if they ARE wooing the woo girls, this could result in population drift: the more adventurous striped drunkards (who leave wherever to come here) mate with the more adventurous woo girls (those who leave Georgetown/the Herpes triangle). Nine months post-birth control failure later, they have adventurous, alcoholic children. This might even lead to a speciation event. In this uncertain world (brought to you by G.W. Bush and narrated by Al Gore) these adaptable children may prove better survivors. They could even be the future of the human race.

Or…their adventurousness may be alcohol-fueled, and after the apocalypse, when liquor is likely to be in short supply, they may die out faster than the rest of us. Who’s to say? Not even Al Gore, I don’t think.


7 Responses to “DC Nightlife Taxonomy, Part 2: the Striped Drunkard”

  1. Jason Says:

    These are a common species here in Chicago too. Both of them are. They tend to travel in packs, or at least arrive at the bars I go to in packs, either with or in search of the Woo Girl (who, btw, is remarkably similar to an intoxicated trixie).

    Habits also found in both the woo girl and the striped shirt, dancing with glass container in hand. Grinding at bar blocking passage for people to get drinks. Obnoxious attitude towards staff serving them, or stopping service to them once their head has hit the bar, ground or they have started removing close.

  2. Jason Says:

    errr..removing clothes.

  3. Reagan Fan Says:

    Are they Republicans?

    I take offense to that statement!

  4. Dr. Birdcage Says:

    At first (before I saw the picture) I thought you were referring to the yyeeeaAAAAHHHHHHH guys (t-shirt, baseball hat on backwards, large biceps, flip flops worn well into that season most of us think of as winter), but this fellah is way too metrosexual to be a yyeeeaAAAHHHHHH guy. I’ve always thought of the yyeeeaAAHHHHHH guy as being the natural mate of the woo girls. Striped shirt guys… I don’t have a name for them, but I always see them traveling in pairs. And yes, they are from Virginia. I once got off the train from MD at Woodley at 10pm on a Friday at the same time a train from the opposite direction was arriving and it disgorged hundreds of them.

  5. KCinDC Says:

    Extensive research by the sociologist Derf has shown that woo girls mate with ow boys.

  6. Alex Says:

    I’m glad someone else brought up Derf, who deserves credit for identifying and naming the “woo girl” species!

  7. Alex Says:

    Oops… I meant to add that while searching for a Derf cartoon as an example, I accidentally stumbled on the blog of a person who claims to be a “woo girl.” Fascinating!

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