It’s Almost My 21st Birthday, Now What?


lauren_conrad.jpgIt seems like just yesterday that I was anxiously twirling around in pink tights and a princess crown through some dirty frat house with my best friend Fiona dancing to “Everybody Dance Now,” eating chocolate mousse cake, and throwing my Steve Maddens at the boy who I didn’t know at the time would soon become my boyfriend, all in the name of my 20th birthday.

And now, a year has nearly passed, and I am about to turn the big 2-1. It is the day I can not only legally buy alcohol, but the day that all college students look forward to as their last passage into adulthood on campus (at least before senior year). It is the day that I can no longer get sent to student conduct council for underage drinking. The day I can walk up to the bar and order a mojito, legally. I no longer will have to worry about being carded when trying to order a drink somewhere. The day that I turn into a real adult – whatever that means – as decided by the world.

But really, how do I spend this occasion?

In my dream world, I would hire Girl Talk to do live mash-ups of Elton John, Britney Spears, and Guns N Roses while I dance alongside my best friends in dresses that aren’t just from H&M and Forever 21 in some sparkly New York City bar where we throw back pink cocktails in between cupcakes. But I don’t live in a dream world. In fact, I live in Roanoke, Virginia – which is as far from my dream world as I can get for my birthday, especially since there isn’t even a Forever21 of H&M for 60+ miles.

Although the reality of my 21st birthday may not sparkle in a New York City kinda way (however, my nails probably will in a cheap-nailpolish-glittery-concoction type of way), I am not going to let that stop me from having one of the best nights of my college experience. The question of how to do it, though – and not just do it, but do it well – plagues me.

Where do I have my party? In the sketchy upstairs backstage area of my university’s recital hall where I got caught with not one, but two bottles of champagne enwrapped in my arms last year as my friends and I stomped around to Miley Cyrus? What about in my boyfriend’s cheerless off campus house with his awful roommates skipping around the scene? At the bar in a town where college hangs-outs don’t really exist? Or maybe I should just have my party on my computer, testing out Skype for the first time with my friend who went abroad to Argentina? Does location even matter anymore, or is the night just about getting drunk?

Who should come? My close friends or anyone who somehow decides my birthday is important enough via the joke of a Facebook event they received? Do I invite my 18 year old sister and her boyfriend up for the weekend to witness the madness and hope that I keep my dress down (or up) for the night? What if I just invite myself and call it a day? Spending a 21st birthday alone – now that would be interesting.

Should there be a theme? Perhaps College Trainwreck would be appropriate? Afterall, images of Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears circa 2007 make great inspiration! Or should the theme simply be me making an ass out of myself, as if my last birthday wasn’t enough when I decided wearing hot pink tights with a black tunic that wasn’t long enough to stay down was a good idea?

But seriously, when it comes to the sport of turning 21, what is a girl supposed to do?

Should I run into the closest liquor store and declare that it is my birthday? Should I wear my driver’s license on my sleeve and shout out my birthdate: “02/24/1988” over and over again? Do I wear a plastic tiara and carry in balloons with me just to pick up a bottle of rum or two (or three)?

Do I attempt taking 21 shots? Do I stick to one type of alcohol or jump around until the room spins and I call it a night? Do I invest in a blender to make cocktails, or should I just slap down the money on the bar and tell the bartender to pour me another?

Maybe I should keep it innocent and kick it old-school style. I’m sure I can find some clowns to come make balloon animals and paint butterflies and kittens on my friends’ faces for the same price I may spend on alcohol. Or maybe I could do an assortment of games, including pin the tail on the donkey and balloon races – bubbles and whoopee cushions can replace Jello shots as prizes! I’m sure that would make my mom proud!

I am the first of my friends to turn 21, and I feel that it is my contractual obligation as their friend to start the year off right, birthday-wise. 21 gives the impression of a college milestone, and another passage into adulthood. With so many options and so many high expectations, really … what am I supposed to do?

Now it’s your turn; tell me what you did to celebrate your 21st or how you plan to ring in your own birthday this year. I need ideas, people. Help!

I'm a future Real Housewife of Atlanta.