The photos that accumulated over my birthday weekend (July 14-17) were in the hundreds, so plucking a select few for this blog was taxing. Also, I am trying to maintain a somewhat-classy aesthetic here, so the selected photos hopefully retain some level of taste! Ha.
This is Ms. Lexi. I have known Lex since the 6th grade, when I moved to Sun Prairie. She is impossibly dear to me and I was so pleased to be able to spend my first time at the bars with her!
Maquillage & martinis.
The Library was the third bar I went to in the wee hours of July 15th. Obviously a photo of me standing by the neon green sign was absolutely necessary for a future librarian!
Lots more photos from that night, but as I mentioned before... standards. Also, after awhile, grinning with a new, free alcoholic beverage just starts to look the same, so I'll change it up.
A photo of me about to buy alcohol for the first time the next evening! (A shot sized bottle of UV Cake. Yes, I'm an absolute booze hound, just can't help myself.) Oh, and I'm also purchasing strawberry shortcake ingredients; highly suspect, I know. The police cap is borrowed from Jeff, who was taking the photo--and also holding up the Australia sign in front of me.
Friday night was when I had people coming from out of town to go downtown with me, so the girls glammed up. Katherine, me, Lex, and my old roommate Amy. I adore these girls.
Jeff and I with a fishbowl at Who's On Third?
Much later in the evening: Lex and I posing with a ladies drink free sign. I am really curious as to whether females who benefit from this realize why bars are allowing them to drink free... do they comprehend that it is a ploy to draw men (who will buy drinks) into the bar, hoping to take some drunk chick home with them? It's really eerie to me that this sort of action occurs openly within this drinking culture. It's obviously widespread but as a girl who just got her first taste of the bars it is interesting to ponder.
Ok, so, I love this photo. High-kicking Jeff is going to kill me for posting it, but there's just so much to love: my roommate Dan's supermodel-esque dance poses, Jeff's face and legs that won't even fit in the frame...
Moving on to Saturday night: Cops & Robbers themed party at JohnaLee's house.
I call this look SuperMario meets Reno 911.
JL, divine as always.
Some alluring robbers made it to the party. If you've been reading this blog you'll recognize some familiar faces.
Aaaand Sunday night: Neil finally returned home from his weekend of gigging and we went out to the Popcorn Tavern. The heat wave had commenced and the AC was lovely. He bought me a Spotted Cow and we listened to some music. He then joined in for the second set.
Writing about a four-day span of drinking and socializing is a heady task. These are only snippets; I'm hoping to impart anyone reading with a sense of what my birthday adventures were like via photos. I'd be crazy to attempt to write down every moment. It was certainly a turning point in my summer--because my birthday falls midway through the summer, I knew my time left in La Crosse after my 21st would go quickly. Indeed it has.
Things I learned my birthday weekend:
- I surprised myself with how much I love to dance. I never thought of myself as the dancing type, but I was wild for it. I have a stunning amount of fun on the dance floor. I really loved discovering this about myself, because it makes me feel like less of a stick in the mud. Ever since my birthday weekend I have done a lot of dancing, and I'm usually the last person on the dance floor.
- Mixed drinks are totally hangover-evasive. I will admit that I have had bad wine drinking experiences in the past, so being completely fine after a full night of significant drinking is really cool. I wasn't hungover at all over the course of the weekend. (I never understood the appeal of getting so drunk that you forget what your night was even like. I think I know myself fairly well be this point. I drink enough water and never go to bed without eating something. Plus I'm sure all that dancing didn't hurt.)
- My criticisms of (some) men and the drinking culture from a feminist perspective are totally warranted. There are varying accounts of what actually happened on Friday night, but one account holds that there was a group of four bro-types (yes I know I rag on them but I have my reasons) following me from bar to bar, waiting to take me home because (as was allegedly told to a male friend of mine who was with my birthday group) "I was cute and it was my 21st so I was going to get really drunk." AKA easy to take advantage of. So they committed to a few hours of stalking lite and followed my group. I do have my reasons for believing it is plausible. If it was true? I did not notice these men following me. Luckily I had a large group with me and I was nowhere near sloppily drunk, but still. Utterly frightening, that this sort of predatory move would be perpetrated by "normal guys." My college peers, no doubt. A little fun, a challenge. After all, what fun are the normal courtship rituals after awhile, right? Let me just ask this: At the end of the night, when they are able to take (let's just say for the sake of this example) me home, my skinny frame stumbling, giggling, no clue what is going on, one of them with their arm around me cupping my ass because I don't even notice in my inebriated state, what then? Who gets to claim the prize? One of them, maybe one who is owed a favor by the other three? Or all four, taking turns? How are the sexual assault victims claimed, the spoils of a hard night's stalking divvied up? What is the protocol that these men follow? -----Maybe four men didn't follow me that night. I have no way of knowing for sure, not anymore. I'm not too fixated on it; it just further reinforces that women need to be careful at all times, especially with alcohol involved. Because even if it didn't happen, it easily could have. It's the kind of thing that weighs heavily on me because I know: I will never be able to not worry.
I am terrified of having daughters. That's all I will say. But I'm not paralyzed by this disgust and concern--beyond that, I had a lovely birthday weekend. Truly everything I could have hoped it would be. I got to spend time with a creative, bright bunch of people whom I will miss too much in about three short weeks. I will be in another state so soon! It is tough to imagine.