The tackiest, most amateur drinking day of the year, St. Patrick's Day can either be a massive headache or a day of dipsomaniacal fun -- oftentimes both. As a public service, we offer five rules to help you have a good time while avoiding the holiday's douchey pitfalls.

1. Leave the beads at home

While we accept the daring dopes sprouting Leprechauny red beards and affixing gimmicky buttons to their green lapels, we draw the line with distasteful flair. This is St. Paddy's Day -- not Mardi Gras. Girls are not going to bare their breasts because you dropped $20 on green bead necklaces at Party City (we think). It's too late to stop the "Kiss Me I'm Irish" T-shirts, but let's not further corrupt this liturgically rooted holiday with yet another party-store novelty. We're cool with the whole boozin' thing, though.

2. Avoid green test-tube shots

We're not entirely sure what goes into those sugary neon concoctions, but we do know this: The alcohol-to-mixer ratio is probably low enough to make a true Irishman cringe, and Midori is gross. Either way, don't waste your money. It might seem festive when that cute shot girl comes peddling her Ecto Cooler-looking wares, but seriously, nut up and order some whiskey.

3. Assemble your crew wisely

For this daylong drinkathon, you want a lean team that can handle its booze, can comfortably function as wingmen/wingwomen and is up for anything. Your shot-pounding pal who's sure to be stammering two bars in? You didn't hear your phone ring. Your engaged girlfriend who rolls her eyes every time hot guys approach? Could've sworn you invited her. The suburban couple who haven't come out since Halloween? Well, you get the idea.

4. Dudes, just friggin' hold it

Fellas, we know it's been a long day of Guinness guzzling and the next bar is blocks away -- more sympathetic we could not be. But nothing spoils the fun like the fuzz slapping you with public-urination charges. Besides, what self-respecting Irish lass is going to go for the Neanderthal whipping it out in broad daylight to recycle green beer all over the sidewalk? Don't be that guy. As for the ladies, we don't condone unlawful behavior, but we've seen the bathroom lines.

5. Don't waste civility on drunks

As with any festivities that bring out amateur drinkers, inevitably some uber-wastoid will spark some less than dazzling conversation with you. There's no need to point out that her breath smells like vomit or that he has an indeterminable stain across his green golf shirt, but don't feel bad rudely blowing them off. The dense crowds and slow service are patience-trying enough. Let's be honest, they won't remember it five minutes later.