I have never had sex on Spring Break. That confession isn’t meant to negate my credibility – in fact, it’s supposed to do just the opposite. I’ve spent the past four Spring Breaks choking on jello shots in Cancun, attempting to dance in cages in Cabo, binging on wine in Italy and pretending to know how to play blackjack in Vegas. And the whole time, I was abstaining from sex. All the better to observe you, my friends.

As any self-respecting college student knows, you are only allowed to partake in two activities during Spring Break. You can drink and you can have sex – necessarily in that order. I think it may actually be a law. I know I’ve definitely been indicted for my tame behavior and decision to refrain from random Spring Break sex. Anybody who tries to take in a little Mexican culture over Spring Break is arrested for failure to take advantage of easy pussy. Those poor fools who attempt to take a night off from drinking are cited for “irreconcilable differences” from fellow Spring Breakers, and sentenced to a week of severe hangovers and awkward sex.

If it sounds like I think the enforced inebriation and promiscuity is a bad thing, let me assure you: The concept of Spring Break is pure genius. Wikipedia defines Spring Break – known as “Slack Week” in Canada – as a week in late March characterized by “increased drinking and sexuality” among college students. According to the Web site, Spring Break as we know it began in 1935 when the men’s swim team from Colgate University went to Fort Lauderdale to practice and flocks of girls followed them. By 1985, Spring Break in Florida had become so notorious for sexual activity and extreme drunkenness the government enacted the National Minimum Drinking Age Act. The law raised the minimum drinking age to 21, mostly in an attempt to restrict college-aged people from drinking too much on Spring Break. But hey, college students are smart – they started going to Mexico instead. And since the infamous ’80s, Spring Break has taught us a very important equation: Tanning oil plus thong bikinis plus 12 Coronas equals beach blowjobs.

Urban Dictionary gives a more modern – and terrifying – picture, defining the tradition as a time resulting in “hangovers, a burning sensation when urinating and strange discharge from various orifices.” Sounds like fun. Good thing y’all will be back from Spring Break by the time you read this.

Contrary to what law enforcement officers and our parents believe, Spring Break isn’t popular because we’re all closeted alcoholic whores. It’s popular because it’s the one time a year when college students have an excuse to act like idiots. Let me rephrase that: It’s the one time a year we can act like idiots and be rewarded for our behavior instead of judged for it. Sure, blacking out and getting laid on a Thursday night in Isla Vista or any comparable college town is commonplace, but when our alarms go off on Friday morning, we have to spend the whole day throwing up and studying and trying to remember the name of the naked person we woke up next to.

Not on Spring Break. When we wake up on Spring Break – not to an alarm but to the bright sunshine streaming into a hotel room in a foreign zip code – we look at the stranger next to us not with guilt, but with a unique sense of pride. When you can rest assured that what happens in Cabo stays in Cabo, the fact that you let him finger you on the dance floor is a badge of honor: On Spring Break, the more promiscuous you are, the more popular you are. And when you’ve made a pact with your crew that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, it’s OK to make out with four dudes before Usher can say “I wanna make love in this club.” Under ordinary circumstances you’d be considered a skank, but hey, it’s Spring Break. Your friends will just be jealous.

If you’re already going through withdrawals, just remember that Spring Quarter is the new Spring Break – we have a beach here too…