There is a first time for everything. And since I’ve graduated, I’ve been waiting for the first time my college ID would no longer work for a discount at the bar. My mixed feelings of excitement and reduced pride lingered, but I was confident most of the students wouldn’t even know who I was. That means, for one Thursday night, I could play pretend and listen to the slutty little angel sitting on my shoulder.
Me and a few girlfriends put on our highest heels and tightest jeans, teased out our hair, chugged a glass of wine and strut our stuff downtown. For the first time, I felt a hint of cougar status brew in my insides. I was only a year older than most of the people in the bar…aside from the 18-year-old freshman busting in with fake IDs. But we all promised ourselves that this was only an experiment — to hands-on discover how much we’d grown up in the past year. Right?
We waltzed into the bar feeling young, fresh and slightly secret detective-esque. Our mission was activated. (That being Mission: Let’s stick out our boobs and pretend we like sticky bar receipts and regrets). Oddly, the first realization of the evening was that I’d never noticed the smell of the bar: stale, pungent beer. The music was insanely loud, the
men boys were sweaty and drunk. The girls were sexed up like a ton of horny toads (hint: exposed zippers, leather and heels). And as we did the first crowd scan, I felt more alive than I had since I got 13 hours of sleep the night before. I had forgotten how invigorating a college night out could be.
We bought some shots and started “doing rounds” across the bar. Then, we did another shot and giggled when it dribbled down our chins. How rookie of us graduates! Side Note: The shots were shooters. Straight vodka sounded like a living nightmare. Once we were thoroughly buzzed, we took to the dance floor and observed. After making a rough estimate of the babies that were going to be created after last call, we were offered drinks by a young man wearing a college sweatshirt and a spray tan. #Winning
The night was panning out pretty well, until I spotted a freshman (now sophomore) that I had “accidentally” hooked up with last year on a flimsy whim. Needless to say, we re-located to the other bar. I couldn’t stand to face the young man who farted on my leg the morning I woke up on his futon. I wish I were kidding.
As the night wore on, everyone reached “I’m drunk and no longer know where I am status.” My girlfriends and I were still going off the little buzz we had gained from our shooter shots and watched with pleasure. The 3am hook-ups unraveling, the girl-on-girl arguments taking course, group shots, sloppy final dances…all of it was there. It was then, as I was standing along the bar with heavy eyes and a light heart, that I noticed something.
I had experienced this all before. And I had experienced it well. All four years of my college experience were this. And that was the perfect amount. Like a little college ghost spirit, the yearning for terribly hungover mornings and exceedingly dramatic dances with sweaty boys, had left. All I needed to arrive at this realization was one night back in the game. I smiled to myself as someone spilled a warm beer on my shoulder. As happy as I had been to take it all in during college, it was OK to leave it all behind. For mature things like late night wine binges at home, blogging, getting up early for coffee and having an entire hangover-free day for productive activities (i.e. grown up things).
As my girlfriends and I walked out of the bar and searched high and low for a taxi, we huddled in a group and decided life was moving in the right direction. With, or without hardcore college parties.