My 21st Birthday Party

My 21st Birthday Party was the first time I had been the centre of attention at a party as an adult. I had arranged my 18th birthday party to be held at the same time as a friend’s 21st. Somehow though nobody had told my friend’s parents or anyone else throwing the party, so I was completely forgotten. That night I got so drunk I couldn’t see my hands in front of my face and I threw up in my friend’s parents’ rose garden.

My 21st was held at my friends’ share house in Dulwich Hill (and they knew about it beforehand) because I was still living with my mum. It was a house that I’d hung out at a lot. Another group of friends had lived there before the current ones. Mum brought a whole lot of beer for us.

I can’t remember if there were speeches. I don’t think there were. I was drunk and stoned for the most of it. I remember that people gave me gifts but I can’t remember what any of them were. A few of my friends had signed a card together with what they got me, which I thought was nice.

A lot of that party melds into all the other parties I went to at that house, with one exception. It was the night I first kissed my first true love.

I’d fallen for her ages ago, but by that time I’d given up on us ever being together. I remember her arriving with a friend of hers, a guy. I remember opening the gift she had made for me. It was a drawing of me on yellow cardboard, where she had labelled interesting bits about me.

There was a big heart and spiky white hair (mine was peroxided blonde at the time) and I’m pretty sure there was an arrow pointing to my nether regions with some sort of mysterious coy phrase attached to it. I’ve got it in a box of keepsakes somewhere.

Writing this now I think I should have known what she was trying to say, but I’m generally a bit dumb about that kind of thing and need my hand held. Plus, as I said before, I had pretty much moved on at that point.

If you’re that interested, I wrote more about that earlier this month.

But that’s about all I remember: Mum bringing the beer, the friends giving me my card on the front doorstep and kissing Jen in the backyard. I suppose that’s not too bad considering it’s almost twenty years ago.

This year I’m turning forty and I suppose I should have some kind of party. I keep putting off organising something though. I’m unsure about the size, scale and nature of what I want.

When I was thirty I decided that I didn’t want to have multiple events (my parents are divorced and so Christmas’ and birthdays always involved multiple function) and I made everyone come to one thing. This year I don’t know.

I’ve realised that unless you are a big loud extroverted talker (which I’m not) the opportunities to talk to people and have them really listen to you are few and far between. And occasions where people make speeches about you are even rarer. So I guess at least one thing with speeches is in order.

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