Daily Archives: November 19, 2008

An American 21st Birthday

Since I live with graduate and undergraduate students, some of my roommates are quite young.  Some of my roommates are just turning 21.  I remember my 21st birthday.  The pride I felt showing the bouncer at Santa Fe my real license stating I was legal.  (Um, not that I ever had a fake one. . . hmm)  For my friend Julie’s 21st birthday we all went to celebrate in Atlantic City.  She was the youngest of our friends and we felt we needed to celebrate this day to the fullest.  Finally, we could all go out to the same places.  No one would be left behind or turned away at the door anymore.  No more having to get the bar early with the dinner crowd and then hide in the bathroom when they checked ids.  The days when we had to learn the astrological sign and street address of some sorority girl who had passed on her license were over. We were all legal and turning 21 was a big deal.  

My roommate, Sara turned 21 last night.  Everyone on our floor wanted to do something for her birthday, but did not realize the significance of turning 21. The rest of Europe either has no drinking age or you pass it when you turn 15.  Being American, I knew this was a big day for her so we took her to the most American place in Copenhagen we could find. . . The Australia Bar.  (go figure)  The Australia Bar is a dodgy little bar in a basement.  The beers are cheap and the music blasting is Justin Timberlake and Madonna.  It smells a little like puke and your feet stick to the floor because of all the beer carelessly spilt there.  Poorly dressed Frat-guys play beer pong.  Barely dressed girls dance and sing loudly.  Yup, this is the exact replica of an American college bar.  I’ve come home. . . well at least a home I knew about 6 years ago.

We arrive and buy Sara a beer and work on pushing our way onto the beer pong table.  (In case you don’t know what beer pong is – its a game involving plastic cups, a ping pong ball, beer, and a lot of trash talking.  If you want further explanation you can ask my dad, he’s played before with his coworkers!)  It’s cut throat here.  Dozens of American exchange students bully each other over who will play on the table next.  I really don’t miss those meat head guys that I used to attend undergrad with.  It’s quite shocking to see a collection of them in one room . . . in Copenhagen.  In order to get a spot we play up the fact that it is Sara’s birthday. . . and not just any birthday. . . to work our way onto the table.  Sara and I are finally up to play.  We ask our opponents the rules they are playing by since not everyone plays the same.  They explain and we start the game.  Sara and I hit the first two cups and get the balls back.  We are remarkably good.  Everyone is shocked at our ability to aim, shoot, and sink shot after shot. . . myself included.  (I’ve never been good at this game.)  We are winning by about 6 cups when our opponents make two ping pong balls in the same cup.  They start cheering and tell us good game. . . which confuses me because apparently they believe they just won the game.  These ‘dudes’ tell Sara and I that since they made two balls in one cup they win the game.  I calmly reply that this was not one of the rules explained to me at the start of the game.  I have never seen two people get more angry these guys at this moment.  My inner competitive nature comes out and I tell them they didn’t win and that we will keep playing.  My friends back me up.  We keep playing and Sara and I eventually win.  Our opponents stomp away from the table like an angry toddlers realizing they lost the temper tantrum they just threw.  It was a great victory for our newly turned 21 year old.  

We played a second game and lost.  No worries though, because this became the portion of the evening to dance.  After this we skipped off to Sam’s Bar on the way home.  Sam’s is a touristy place on the main walking street.  At any time of the day you can hear a tourist singing karaoke in this seedy little place.  So naturally we had to stop in and let Sara sing “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.”  Helena and I served as her backup dancers while Sara sang.  Too funny.  Once we officially made asses of ourselves we made our way home.  It was a great 21st birthday and the closest thing to an American birthday my foreign friends could possibly experience.  I was fondly reminded of my college days.  The evening really brought back memories of going out in College Park with my roommates.  Had the evening ended with my current roommates singing “Lean on Me” it would have been a complete reenactment.  It was nice to revisit undergraduate memory lane for a night. . . but I think today I’ll go back to visiting the more sophisticated side of Denmark.  Happy Birthday Sara, welcome to world of being legally allowed to do stuff in America.