Glienke To Turn 21, Will Go To Bar Just To Say She Did


by Courtney Glienke

Do you remember elementary school birthday parties? For me, that included inviting every girl friend that I had over for a slumber party, painting each other’s nails and watching movies all night. If we could manage it, we’d smuggle our favorite sugary candy or drink to the party and drive our parents insane with the amount of screaming and giggling coming from the basement.

As my friends and I got older, we were finally allowed to bring boys to our parties. Why we thought this would ever be a good idea I will never understand, because they were always awkward and awful. Usually parties like this started with my mom picking all my friends up, taking us to a movie and then bringing everyone back to my house.

While getting rides in my mom’s Durango was always appreciated, I dreamed of turning 16 and being able to take all of my friends around the town in my car. I never braced myself for the fact that after about a month, being 16 stopped being cool. Now I’m facing the big 2-1 on Oct. 22. This wasn’t a huge deal for me until people started asking what I was going to do to celebrate.

In our culture it seems to just be expected that when you turn 21 you go out and get so trashed that you can’t function for at least two days after it’s all over. When I tell people I’m planning on going to the bar just because I can and not to get drunk, they all look at me like I’m crazy.

Sorry to disappoint everyone, but I have things to do on the 23rd. My plan is to order a drink at supper with my boyfriend, hang out with my roommates who aren’t yet 21 and then go to the bar only to say that I did.

For me, the 22nd will be just another day. I still have papers and assignments to turn in, and still have to be responsible for everything else going on. Eventually, we’ll all move on from this phase like every other one before it and hit a new one. I figure by the time I’m 40 I’ll make my children look through all my old Facebook albums and tell them the tales from the early 21st century.

Maybe it makes me sound like a fun-hater or like I’m breaking some sort of tradition, but doesn’t my mother who dealt with everything from sugared-up 9-year-olds to driving around boy-crazy pre-teens deserve a beer more than I do anyway?