Nobody likes you when you’re 23, they think you’re the tits

Blink 182 was wrong.

Okay, okay. Blink 182 was right about a lot (see: the entire two minutes and 45 seconds of “Dammit” and that line in “The Party Song” about girls trying too hard), but not about birthdays.

If nobody is supposed to like you when you’re 23, our generation is doing something wrong.

By 23, you’ve weeded out the fair-weather friends. The ones just there for a good time and a few beers on your tab; the ones you genuinely liked but just didn’t stand the test of time; the ones that sucked; and the ones that fucked your best friend’s boyfriend.

You’ve shared the last five, ten, maybe fifteen birthdays with the majority of the RSVPs at your three-hour open bar on the Upper East Side, and those friends who may be new to your overly boozy (and overly 90’s) shindig are there for an important reason: because we’re 23 and ain’t nobody got time for that (that being fake friends).

The friends we keep at 23 are the friends we keep for life, no matter how little or long we’ve known them.

These are the friends that, at 18, risked their asses to throw you the biggest birthday party you’d ever had up to that point in their parents’ basement. They bought gold wristbands and made guest lists and had your best friend fly back from Ireland to surprise you. They’re the friends that turned a sweat-soaked kegger/makeshift wet t-shirt contest into a night to remember, complete with a personal concert a’la your friends’ first band (another surprise), a bucket full of gin, and little regard for noise complaints.IMG0003_2These are the friends that, at 19, did the same damn thing; this time around with more gin, some glitter, and far fewer clothes. They still loved you even though your college roommates were passed out on the concrete out front (“Get Iona in the house”) and another friend jumped in the neighbor’s pool. They poured full beers on your head, but didn’t blame you for the phantom vomit by the sink.

These are the friends that, at 20, loved you at your worst (your worst being the bad end of your hormonal bender at the Knights of Columbus, just two drinks deep). The ones that apologized to strangers on your behalf after you told them to fuck off for not knowing your name. The ones that baked you a birthday cake, lit the candles on top of it and had a bar full of people (half of whom you’d already verbally assaulted) to sing “Happy Birthday,” while you cried in the corner and your best friend smoked a cigarette indoors.

The ones that took you home at 10 p.m. to your sobbing mother and nodded as you swore you were roofied when really, you just didn’t eat dinner. The party only started at 7.

These are the friends that, at 21, trekked to the upper most end of the Upper East Side to celebrate, even if some weren’t as legal as you yet, with a few dozen vodka-clubs. The ones that took the risk and schmoozed the bouncer and pretended to be your 29-year-old cousin your mom convinced the owner “just looked young.”FH000006These are the friends that, at 22, convinced the owner to let them into that bar on West Fourth with their birth certificate because your birthday wasn’t one to be missed, and fuck the DMV. The friends that ordered Fireball on the rocks and took a tumble down the stairs to mark the one-year-anniversary of you turning 21 (sorry, Marina). The ones that put two credits in the jukebox and spent them both on “Picture” by Kid Rock and the one in particular that fell out of the roof of a moving car, because your birthday, as usual, got him that drunk.

Don’t forget the one who got lost in Queens and asked the cops to take him home.

These are the friends that, at 23, packed out the basement of an Amsterdam Avenue bar, even though they’ve been at this for years. The ones from all walks of life and all parts of town — Bay Ridge, New Rochelle, Middle Village, Hollis Hills, Far Rockaway — bonding over shots, selfies and another year of you. The ones that cut the music at midnight to sing Celine Dion, and “Happy Birthday,” but mostly Celine Dion.

The ones that rallied so hard that they woke up from a vodka-coma in your friend’s back seat only to puke on the Brooklyn bar that wouldn’t let your friends in and break a bad fall with their face (I love you, Erin). The ones that carried said friend up three flights of stairs, doused her face in Neosporin and put her to bed. The ones that stayed a little late just to watch the sunrise, and eat Halal on your roof.

Oh, and the one who got arrested. That one, too.

“Next year, we’re going to the movies.”IMG_3715

One month into 23 and I haven’t pranked called anybody’s mother from a pay-phone, but I’ve felt pretty fucking loved. If you’re a friend and you’re reading this (which is likely, as my readership is 60 percent Facebook friends and 40 percent foreign countries), I raise my hypothetical glass to you, for standing the test of time and still being there, even when I’m crying in the back of the bar.

To my fellow twenty-somethings: Hold tight, kids. These are the ones.

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5 Comments on “Nobody likes you when you’re 23, they think you’re the tits

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