You know you’re partying when …

Everyone has some kind of list of rules to live by, but not enough people have rules to party by. Compiled from post-party interviews with a group of veteran house-party people, here is a list of rules outlining what you need to know before embarking on each of the three stages of partying: before, during and after.

(Note: Every rule was gleaned from an actual situation experienced by the interviewees. Names have been left out in order to protect the guilty.)

Rules to remember before you start drinking:

1. Though vodka may be the water of alcohol, do not drink it as such.

2. Drink water as such.

3. Though you may know all of the words to the CD playing on the stereo, such as Sublime’s “Sublime,” you need not:

A. Sing it as loudly as possible.

B. Point to others in the room at every point in which Brad Nowell says “you” in a song.

C. Sing quietly in an attempt to keep others in the room from hearing you but forget that you are holding the video camera and are therefore closer to the microphone than anyone else. You will be heard distinctly upon video playback.

4. Everyone, upon entering the party, must be offered a shot of some sort.

5. Keep in mind a party’s entertainment level rises significantly with the use of catchy nicknames written on plastic cups, such as “Big Hole Nicole,” “Lustin’ Dustin” or “Quafin’ Nathan” (which sounds dirty, but is not).

6. Any beer left over is automatically devoted to the cause of appeasing the hangover gods the next morning.

7. Any liquor left over is donated to the stash for the next party, not to be held in any less than one week’s time. However, do not expect to have any left over.

8. To get more beer/liquor for your buck, only fill your cup halfway way up, because chances are high that you will lose your half-full/empty cup when your drink has become sufficiently warm to force you to make another because there is no more ice.

9. If passed out, remember you are fair game for a hideous magic marker makeover.

10. Be prepared to sleep in whatever you wore to the party.

11. Be at least 21 years old or go to Canada.

How to know when you have had enough to drink:

12. The stairs feel like a comfortable place to sleep.

13. The bathroom has become your safe haven.

14. You cannot find your cup in a small house.

15. Every conversation becomes extremely deep and meaningful, though it may just be about flour.

16. You drop your cup without being bumped into or running into anything because it is “too heavy.”

17. You pour your drink down the front of your pants while bringing it into your mouth.

18. Your beer goggles (when everyone looks like Jude Law or Pamela Anderson) begin to have the opposite effect, causing you to refer to normal-looking people as “melty face.”

19. Tequila shots seem like a good idea.

20. Shaving the absent roommate’s cat seems like a good idea because you can always “pretend like there’s nothing wrong” when she returns home.

21. The conquering of Mario World becomes a major life endeavor.

22. You find yourself alone in the kitchen and are still mixing drinks.

23. You find the making and drinking of your own sweet and sour mix becoming a viable option simply because the store-bought bottle is empty.

24. Your matches are taken away by a screaming mob because all you want to do is go outside and relight the tiki torches.

25. When using the facilities in a bathroom where someone is passed out on the floor, you find nothing out of the ordinary.

26. The film “Strange Brew” doesn’t seem so strange.

27. You actually drink the blue cocktail you made that resembles toilet water.

28. You confuse someone’s offer of the mixed drinks “Screaming Orgasm” or “Sex on the Beach” for invitations.

29. You think that the card game Uno would make a good drinking game.

30. The movie “Animal House” seems more like a documentary.

31. You start speaking only in Tom Petty lyrics.

32. You cannot understand why the movie “Airplane” is not viewed as a cinematic masterpiece.

33. If your friend seriously tries to convince you that it is okay to play a game of strip poker including your sister, you know he is drunk.

You know it was a good party when:

34. You wake up with mysterious bruises.

35. You wake up wearing your pajamas over your clothes.

36. Both your pajama top and bottoms are on, oddly, inside out and backwards.

37. You wake up to the smell of booze in the carpet.

38. Your formerly placid living room has become a parody of Normandy beach, 1945.

39. You develop the film from your camera and find unexplained pictures of unidentified butt cracks.

40. The recycling man forever hates you for the load of empty glass bottles you left for him.

41. When you have to squeegee your Twister mat (don’t ask).

Now you know how to party, and what to avoid. Just remember, do what we say, not as we do.