A beginner’s guide to turning 21

Kevin VanAntwerpen

To those of you standing near the exit door of 20 years old, I have one thing to say to you: “Oh man, you’re going to have no idea what to do with yourself once you’re finally released out into the real world.”

Unless you’re a cute girl. In that case: “Hey there. Wanna grab a drink?”

But I digress. I’m writing this article for those of you who are new to this whole turning 21 thing. I’m an expert. I’ve done it a few times. So why don’t you take a few words from the wise.

What to wear: Dudes. When you’re ready to go out, I want you to look down at your shirt. Do you see a tie attached to it? No? Why don’t you go pick up some Magnum 40s from the gas station and watch reruns of “Survivor.” You’ll have more fun. As for the girls: really, you’d be pretty even in an oversized sweatshirt and some cargo pants. It’s impossible for you not to look nice. By the way, I was totally serious about grabbing that drink.

How to handle shots: Since it’s your special day, and I’m assuming you actually have friends, people are inevitably going to buy you enough shots to kill a senior. Now for some people, I would suggest having a trusted friend covertly sneak a few of those shots away from you (I’d be happy to do this if you don’t have a trusted friend). But my all-time favorite routine is to pour the shots you can’t drink into a thermos. More for later, right?

On clubbing: More than 300,000 seals die of clubbing every year. If you club, you’re a part of the problem, not the solution. Go to a real bar instead.

How to handle taxis: By this point, you’re probably going to swear that every guy with a mustache is Tom Selleck. This is the alcohol talking. Even if you did see Tom Selleck, his mustache is far too awesome to consort with the likes of you. So assuming your friends aren’t jerks and have called you a cab, please don’t start asking the moustached cab driver (it’s like a national law or something — they all have them) what it was like to work with Clint Eastwood. The only answer he’ll give you is a slight increase on your cab fare.

On hangovers: I’ve personally found the best way to avoid a hangover is to not stop being drunk. Warning though — your parents, boss and professors may be slightly annoyed (which is just responsible-person code for “I’m jealous of your awesomeness, your wonderful future, and your really nice hair.”)

So assuming you paid attention through this entire article, I’m going to say you’re now prepared. Happy birthday. Have fun. Remember, there’s always Mass on Sunday morning if you do anything too bad over the weekend.

(This column is dedicated to Grand Valley student Nicole Olwean and how messy her 21st birthday is going to be.)

kvanantwerpen@ lanthorn.com