You know, just a typical night-before-Thanksgiving in St. Louis.
In cities that young people tend to move to — your LAs, your San Diegos, your Phoenixes — the night before Thanksgiving is not a party night. People go grocery shopping. People go to the airport. People do not, as a rule, get shit-faced as though it was their last night on Earth.
But cities that young people tend to move from
? We are a much different story. We, the St. Louises of the world, have our own unique party rituals.
That's because, on the night before Thanksgiving, all of the young people who grew up here come back. We're ready to party. They're ready to party. We're horny. They're horny. It's an intoxicating mix — and if you add a round or twelve of shots at St. Louis' finest watering holes, magic is almost certain to result.
Or so we tell ourselves. Every single year.
In St. Louis, in fact, the night before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest bar nights of the year — the time to run into that old high school sweetheart (or desperately seek out a bar where you can avoid running into that old high school sweetheart, depending on what your particular situation might be). It's a night for drinking too much, a night for hooking up — a night we've been known to call, yes, Skanksgiving.
Here in St. Louis, we're good at it. The best, maybe. And now we've even got the data to prove it.
Google Trends has researched and carefully documented the "uniquely popular food and drink search trends" in 25 major metros across the U.S., with special maps that show how the searching revves up or slows down throughout the course of the holiday weekend. And the results are, shall we say, revealing.
The day before Thanksgiving, Minneapolis, for example, is earnestly getting ready to do some cooking — with a spike in searches for "supermarket" on Wednesday afternoon and then again on Thanksgiving itself, presumably for last-minute stockups.
Chicago residents — poor lonely slobs that they are — seek out Chinese, Indian and Japanese restaurants on the night before turkey time. And then, in the case of Indian and Chinese eateries, they seek them out all over again on Thanksgiving itself, presumably because they have no friends to dine with and therefore are in need of takeout. (Sad.)
But in St. Louis? In St. Louis, we're getting drunk.
Just look at those trend maps! The data that Google is mercilessly collecting every time we use our phones or computers or iPads never lies, even when we do.
And so on Wednesday afternoon, we're frantically seeking out American restaurants ... any old American restaurants. Pizza also gets a big spike around 6 p.m. as we fill up our bellies, laying the groundwork for a night of debauchery.
Then, in the late afternoon Wednesday all the way to the wee hours of Thursday morning, we have but one thought on our minds: the bar. Where can we find a bar? What bar is near me? What bar is still serving?
In other words: It's Skanksgiving, bitches. Bring. It. On.
And here's the very best thing about our own, uniquely popular Google-documented shame spiral.
Note all the people in St. Louis searching for bars on Wednesday evening into nightfall and early morning. Note the abrupt dropoff on Thursday as we sit down to the table with our nearest and dearest and earnestly chat about how great things are going in whatever exotic place we now live (or, if we live here, how great EVERYTHING is in St. Louis, for the benefit of our siblings who have moved away).
And then, come Friday afternoon, look what we're searching for all over again. American restaurants. Pizza restaurants. And, as afternoon turns to evening, bars.
It's not just Skanksgiving; it's Skanksgiving weekend.
There's good reason for this. Our dearly departed all flock home at the same time but once or twice a year. If we missed them Wednesday, surely, we just might run into them Friday. They eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine evening —
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. Or at least back to the bar.
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