Every teenager in America grows up waiting for that one important day: their 21st birthday. A day they can finally throw away that sh*tty fake ID they had to overpay (and almost risk their life) to get, and finally whip out that awkward license they only reserved for getting pulled over by the police when they were speeding. A day where all of their worries of “not getting in” and awkwardly having to walk away from a bouncer and pretending to “make a phone call” go away, and a lifetime of drinking begins. There’s nothing worse than not being 21 in the United States. Nothing!
Last week the former-Disney actress and Bieber sex bunny (why not?), Selena Gomez celebrated her 21st birthday, and it got me thinking about my own 21st birthday and 21st birthday celebrations in general. As someone who has a late birthday and was a senior in college without having been 21 yet, I can assure you, it’s the worst. Especially for those of us who have ever traveled or studied abroad where the drinking age is practically 11, coming home to the states where you are no longer legal to drink can be a total buzz kill.
We all look forward to our 21st birthdays like a child looks forward to Christmas every year, except instead of Santa coming down your chimney, your friends poor shots down your throats. Most 21st birthdays start with laughs and celebrations, but ultimately culminate in puking and passing out around the corner from your apartment in a pile of yellow snow (wait, was that just me?).
The problem with your 21st birthday is that as happy as your friends are that you’ve finally become a real man/woman, they pretty much attempt to kill you. Every person you know will try to force a shot down your throat as if you are pledging a fraternity.
“Drink this f*cking shot right now you f*cking pussy!” has become the new “Happy 21st birthday!”
For those of you who have yet to turn 21 (HAHA! Sucks to be you! Just kidding—but seriously), don’t worry, there are ways to prepare. Firstly, make sure you load up on bread before you go out. Now, don’t load up like you’re a Jew who’s been wandering the desert for 40 years following Moses blindly (I mean come on, the guy really couldn’t get them there any faster?). Load up on enough so you have something to soak up some of the alcohol, but not give you any more reason to throw up become you're too stuffed.
Also, start off as slow as you can. Off the bat at the pre-game, don’t rip a shot with everyone who comes up to you, be selective. You have to fracture in that once you get to the bar (if you make it), people are gonna be throwing drinks your way then too, so try not to be as totally-sh*tfaced as possible before you get to the bar. When that kid who you’re not really good friends with and kind of wish didn’t show up to your pregame toolishly comes up to you and says “let's take a shot, “ try to avoid at all costs. Pull the “I have to go to the bathroom" card and bail if you must. That one less shot will come in handy later.
Another important tip, try to keep your clothes on. While you’re excited finally to be allowed into the bar legally for the first time in your life, you’re friends' goal is pretty much to get you kicked out. Everyone wants to get you so sh*tfaced that you end up taking your clothes off and peeing in a random corner of the bar. While this will make for an epic story you'll laugh about the next day after you wake up extremely hungover and have zero recollection of it, it's kind of embarrassing and may result in you never being allowed in that bar again.
So for those of you with a 21st right around the corner, I advise you to prepare yourself. Practice makes perfect, so feel free to start getting a bit more f*cked up than usual the weeks leading up to your meeting with fate as a way to help build up your tolerance a bit. Make sure you're ready for a night in which your best friends attempt to get you so f*cked up you have to go to the hospital (standard procedure). But most importantly, enjoy the ride: you only turn 21 once.
Your 21st birthday will always be a day you'll never forget. A day where you finally don't have to worry about whether or not you're old enough to get into a bar, just whether or not you're cool or good looking enough. Just try to survive it!