So You’re A 25-Year-Old Attempting To Hang At A 21st Birthday Party

So You're A 25-Year-Old Attempting To Hang At A 21st Birthday Party

I’ve always been the youngest of my friends. As an October baby, I started high school at 13 and college at 17. While this came with many downsides, all of which I blame my parents for (seriously, why wouldn’t you wait a year to enroll me in school like a normal kid?), there has been one huge upside I’ve just recently realized. After graduating college, I never had to attend a 21st birthday party ever again. While this didn’t seem like a huge win for me when I was 22 or 23, once I started getting to my mid-twenties I realized that this was a gift from god.

The day I turned 23, my hangovers started hitting like a Mack Truck, and they’ve been getting exponentially worse since. However, just when I thought raging with 21-year-olds was behind me, I got the following text from my dad: “It’s your brother’s 21st birthday in June and we’re taking him to Vegas. Get a flight.” Not ten seconds later, I received an even more upsetting text from said brother. “Good luck keeping up with me in Vegas, you pussy.” Hell no. Anyone who has younger siblings knows that the power dynamic is a balancing act, and to stay on top, you always have to be strongest. I called my brother on his shit and let him know I was going to hang with him all. Weekend. Long. This trip happened three months ago and I am just now recovered enough to admit I have some regrets.

I regret hitting the bars the night before our flight. We decided to combine my youngest brother’s graduation with the other brother’s birthday party by flying home Friday morning, watching him graduate, and then catching a 6 a.m. flight to Vegas the next morning. This was greatly efficient in theory, but all it did was allow my brother to taunt me into going out the night before we had to fly. With a full heart (and an alarm set to go off at 4:45 a.m.), we hit our hometown bars with a fury. I was back in action, slamming shots like I was the one turning 21, and shutting down the bar with my little bro. All was well, until we had to wake up two hours later. My dad drove us all to the airport, shaking his head in shame at his two sons who were still incredibly hammered in the back seat. I almost threw up in the security line, and I’m pretty sure my brother was one ill-timed joke away from being cavity searched.

I regret starting a tab on the plane. The flight from San Jose to Las Vegas is about an hour and a half, and while it was hilarious to watch my dad pretend he didn’t know us, perhaps three Bloody Marys apiece was a touch excessive. In retrospect, the rest of the plane was less down to hear Fetty Wap at 7 a.m. than we were, but I like to think they appreciated our enthusiasm.

I regret buying a bottle for the hotel room (at my brother’s request). What was I supposed to do? It was his birthday after all. Sure, my dad was less than pleased, but I think he came around when I explained how much money he would be saving if we could pregame.

I regret not wearing sunscreen to the pool in 114-degree heat. Dehydration is a real thing, and weirdly enough, 60-ounce margarita slushees don’t contain much actual water. On the plus side, the birthday boy was also too drunk to remember about sunscreen, so he got as burnt as I was.

I regret nothing about passing out at 10 p.m. that night. My brother was the first to claim he was done for the night, so I had a free pass to crash out and say it was his idea. That was the only good decision I made that weekend.

I regret starting my day off with a morning shot of warm Bacardi, but when I woke up to my little bro telling me he was taking one, I knew my only choice was to act tough and choke it down without chaser like it was formal 2011 all over again.

I regret not going with my dad when he invited me lie out by the pool for a few hours. I almost said yes, but I saw a glint in my brother’s eye that said “Oh yeah, why don’t you go lay out with the old man since you guys are practically the same age,” and I knew I couldn’t back down. Instead I hit an aggressively boozy brunch and was once again shitfaced before noon.

I regret ever setting foot on a casino floor. I truly believed that if I could finish a giant margarita in the shape of a guitar, I could do anything, and that was not the case. I feel the need to apologize to the poor woman running the roulette table. I know now that you aren’t “a racist who purposefully wouldn’t let the ball land on black. That was unfair of me. My bad.

I regret going out to Hakkasan that night. Yes, it’s an awesome three-story club, and yes, my brother had the time of his life watching the girls we were dancing with make out right in front of him, but no, I could not afford $16 Coronas. I shouldn’t have stayed until 6 a.m., and I definitely shouldn’t have purchased a vodka Redbull “for the road” at dawn.

My flight the next morning was at 3 p.m. I arrived at my apartment at 10 p.m. at night still wearing my button down from the club. In that time I had drank three Gatorades, choked down two airline pretzels, and thrown up in the airplane bathroom once. When my girlfriend greeted me at home with Chipotle and didn’t break up with me on the spot, I cried. My little brother had a margarita in his hand when I left for the airport, and apparently went directly to a frat party after his flight landed in New York. He was right. I couldn’t keep up.

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Nick Arcadia

The opposite of a life coach. Email me if you want some bad advice:

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