Since moving here more than 12 years ago, April and May have fast become two of my favorite months. I never really thought much about them while meandering through my life in Ohio. April meant things were going to warm up, and May meant the school year was winding down. But if I had sat next to them at a bar, I wouldn’t have even bought them a drink. I thought October was my best buddy and that nobody could ever top him. And then I moved to Louisville.
April and May reign supreme in Derby City. Louisville — for better or worse — pees itself a little in anticipation of the big race. It gets all worked up in an effort to show out-of-towners how the South really wins. It’s fun to play along and get swept up in all the commotion. I’ve worn hats larger than a Rand Paul’s ego; I’ve stayed up ’til 5 a.m. in the dark crevices of the city’s nightlife; I’ve stolen juleps from celebrities and guzzled from my flask on the backside of the track; I’ve woken up with a (temporary) tattoo of a stranger and next to a stranger with tattoos.
The reason I like April and May the most, however, is because everything can and will be blamed on the Derby. Late for work? Yowza — it’s Derbytime, boss! Late for a date? Aw crap, sorry, the Derby made me do it. Late on rent? How about I get you after Derby? Period’s late? Well, er, OK, hmm — I suppose the Derby could be blamed for that, or the filming of a reality TV show. The bottom line, though, is it’s socially acceptable to saturate the marketplace with improper manners the week leading up to the first Saturday in May. Finally I’m not the one people are whispering about around town. Finally the bars are crowded for happy hour at 3 p.m. and day drinking is an American pastime instead of a warning sign. Finally others are buying drinks for strangers and making fools of themselves on dance floors across the city.
Do’s and Don’ts of Derby
So yeah, for you out-of-towners: You can blame just about everything on Derby, but we still have cops and jails and a slight bit of dignity, so here are some tips on keepin’ your bettin’ money from being bail money.
Don’t drink and drive — we have tons of taxis, we’re not that big of a city, and we also have a service called City Scoot that will get you and your car home safely. Ask your nearest bartender.
Don’t punch or kill another human being or animal. Tavern tussles are so 1989 — Swayze cornered the market on bar brawls, and nobody will ever do it better. Channel that anger into balancing a beer bottle on your head. It works.
Do buy locals drinks. We’re allowing you to stay here — it’s the least you can do.
Don’t do shots of bourbon. We treat our state’s signature spirit with respect, so you should, too. Sip on it, add an ice cube or two and enjoy. Leave the mixers for the kids.
Do tip your bartenders, servers and alt-weekly writers.
Don’t vomit in our bars or on our sidewalks.
Do hurry up when using a bathroom or Port-o-Pot if there’s a line behind you. I’d like belts to be undone and zippers unzipped before sinkin’ your biz. It’s also not the time to fumble with makeup or call your mom.
Don’t schedule an arena-sized concert and cancel due to a hackneyed excuse like an allergy to antibiotics.
Do explore all of Louisville’s bars and nightclubs — not just the ones within walking distance of your fancy downtown hotel.
Don’t be an asshole.
Do learn the words of “My Old Kentucky Home.”
Do come back now, you hear? Have a fun Derby, tell your friends about our fast horses and even faster women, and continue to tout Louisville as the best city in Kentucky.
Drunk Texts of the Week
• What do u give a woman who has everything? Antibiotics
• Show me ur louisville boobs sara havens!
• Went roun’ tree and ended up on lame cock farm
• I want an eminent enema