21 Things I’ve Learned Since Turning 21

Earlier this year I turned 21 on the 21st of January and my bar crawl through downtown San Luis Obispo was one of the best nights of my entire life.

Now, it’s been half a year of legal drinking and I have chosen today, July 21st, to share some of the wisdom I have collected in this time with you all.

The following listicle (I know I talk sh*t on listicles all the time, but sometimes the writing form really fits the topic OKAY) is comprised of things I have learned about being a 21-year-old in the last six months.

Please enjoy the stories, photos, and nuggets of wisdom below… and please understand that I specifically gathered these materials for this post. There is plenty of picture proof of me sober and doing more productive things with my time, I swear.

As someone who I was too lazy to Google once said, “I’m not an alcoholic, I’m just a college student.”

1) I wasn’t able to drink vodka after my freshman year and I sure as hell can’t drink it now.

2) A Long Island Iced Tea in SLO is usually around $7. A Long Island in San Francisco is $15. Know and remember this information before you offer to buy a round of them for your older brother’s cool friends.

3) Long Islands will eff your sh*t up.

4) If you go to Cal Poly and you are a girl it is likely that you will be subject to two things:

1) A Facebook event page for your 21st Birthday Pregame that has a weird title and a  hilarious description section written by one of your close friends that highlights your best/worst moments from previous years.

Truthfully, this event page only serves one purpose and it’s not to tell people when to come to you or your friends crappy college apartment to celebrate your “coming of age” in the alcohol world. This page is where your friends post every single embarrassing and gross picture they’ve ever taken of you (most likely screenshots of regrettable Snapchat selfies at 2am) with little to no remorse.

2) A cute sign with the 21 tasks you must complete on your bar crawl that you are forced to wear the entire night. The only upside to this mess is that if you are lucky, the person that makes it for you will take your dress, shoes, or pregame color scheme into consideration when decorating it.

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5) Brunch. That is all.

6) Actually, that is not all. You want to know something about brunch? Brunch is the best thing ever. Whoever invented brunch could punch me in the face and I would still worship the ground they walk on. Brunch allows me to sleep in until mid-day (whether I was drinking the night prior or not) and still consume massive amounts of breakfast food without facing judgement. The sun has been up for HOURS. There is no excuse to be eating scrambled eggs at 11:30am… except there is. And that excuse is brunch.

Thank you brunch.

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7) After awhile you have to accept the fact that there will be creepy old guys at bars. They will be everywhere you go. You could go to a hipster bar, a sports bar, a dive bar (your chances are much higher here actually), wherever… they are like pimples; they will show up in the most unexpected places and annoy the crap out of you.

8) AMF’s…. proceed with caution.

9) There are many different types of mules! Not the actual animal… it’s a type of drink and there are many variations of it, but they all come in fun and cool little mugs. If you cannot stomach vodka easily, like me, then you need to make sure you avoid the Russian-influenced one.

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Here’s an easy key:

Moscow Mule: lime juice, ginger beer, and VODKA

Mexican Mule: lime juice, ginger beer, and TEQUILA

Kentucky Mule: lime juice, ginger beer, and WHISKEY (these are the best, trust me)

10) Whiskey is actually the sh*t.

11) Guys will be surprised if you are a girl and you order whiskey… this can be flattering, but if they make a huge deal of it or focus on it for more than 5 minutes, you need to move on because they are probably unconsciously expressing internalized sexism. Not really… but really. Okay, okay, I’m kidding. But don’t be surprised if this guy insists on buying you a drink and then says that you “owe” him a dance or a kiss later.

12) Going out with my parents will almost always be more fun than an average night out on any given weekend.

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13) Dancing on tables is an acquired skill and if you do not have slightly more sober experience with it, I do not recommend doing it for the first time while drunk, especially if you are wearing heels or wedges.

14) Wagon Wheel. Sweet Caroline. Stacy’s Mom. Single Ladies. Hey Ya. Turn Down For What. Don’t Stop Believin’. Timber. Baby Got Back. And almost anything by LMFAO. These songs will get everyone on the dance floor and/or singing at the top of their lungs.

15) BEER IS WONDERFUL.

16) Beerfest in San Francisco was one of the most fun days of my entire life. I think it should be declared a national holiday. Or everyone should go at least once in their life, I don’t know! All I know is I got to go a few days after my birthday and that was when I truly felt like I was officially 21.

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17) Oh, and if you had a long night out and weren’t even planning on going to Beerfest and then your brother wakes you up at 9am after your guys’ first night of partying together and reveals to you that he realized he has an extra ticket, you’d better be creative with your outfit.

Thank god for dude’s v-necks and the fake Toms they sell at CVS. My shoes had broken the night before and there weren’t many options….
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18) If you have a baby face then you will get carded all of the freaking time. And not just the typical “Let me see your ID” carded… the *suspicious look and doubting eyebrow raise* + “When is your birthday?” “What’s your address?” “What’s your astrological sign?” or “You look like you’re 17” carded.

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19) Sometimes it’s 2am and the bars are closing and Uber’s prices surge. If you have done some damage on that given night then you will click “Request Uber” without realizing what you have just consented to paying. The next morning you will receive an email telling you that you were charged $42 for a five-minute drive from downtown to your apartment. This will suck.

I blame Marston’s.

(JUST KIDDING MARSTON’S I LOVE YOU.)

20) All of your friends’ 21st birthday bar crawls and shenanigans will be some of the best times. You feel like you’re helping deliver a baby into the world. Except instead of breast feeding from their mothers they’re taking body shots off of strangers.

21) Taco Bell always has been and always will be the best place to end the night.

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