Monday, November 8, 2010

The Blow Off - Bye, Bye 29 - Sorry I'm a Year and a Half Late

June 17, 2009 — The day I turned 30.

October 30, 2010 — The day I finally gave up the ghost and admitted to myself I was no longer in my twenties.

It’s not that anything major happened — well, OK, that’s not quite true. An overload of whiskey, tequila and beer happened. I know, I know. Some of you are probably thinking, “what idiot mixes all that liquor?” I did — at 24. And it didn’t phase me in the slightest. Fast forward to last weekend — through the happy hour, birthday drinks, home stop over to “pre drink”, club night whirlwind that sucked me under the night of Friday, October 29 — and it becomes crystal clear why I spent the better part of the following morning curled up in the fetal position at the foot of my bed afraid I might puke up the advil I had stored in my cheek if I dare swallow.

I swallowed, and then puked... on the rug... in my roommate's bathroom. The shame!

This isn’t a typical Saturday morning for me. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a hangover like this. But clearly in trying to keep up with the “kids,” I’d failed — miserably.

I had pretended to be something I wasn’t — twenty-something, to be exact.

The signs had all been there. The keg stand before dinner (that I initiated, I might add). Then, dinner — which never actually happened. Racing to the club to make sure we could get in line before 10:30 and not have to pay cover. All things I didn’t think twice about in my post college years… but in my post-post college years, I just couldn’t pull it off.

It got me to thinking… had I really been ignoring the signs for 16 months, pretending I was still 29 and holding?

I had… and I’m sure there are many more out there like me. Oh in some ways, I’d embraced my thirties. The best years of my life, the time when everything comes into focus, I can finally start hosting those dinner parties I always talk about but never actually follow through with. Blah, blah, blah.

But I had also desperately clung to my twenties.

I thought back on some examples, and decided to vow to make some changes in print so I’d have my own words come back to haunt me if I slipped back into my oh so comfortable 20-something behavior.

1. The day I IM’d, tweeted, Facebooked and email that the lady at the sandwich shop had offered me the student discount. Twenty-somethings might be excited to save a buck or two, but being mistaken for a college student isn’t the highlight of their day. Own it next time, Ross. Own it.

2. This one is a tougher sell to gay readers, but I am saying here and now that you will no longer see me try to pass off an Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt as suitable Friday wear. They still fit, but it makes me feel so cheap. The distressed denim is a harder vice to give up, but my best friend Charles tells me they make me look like a whore trying to pass as a frat boy type at a Kylie Minogue concert. And even I know that's sad.

3. Call me crazy, but to the five people besides me that I somehow find a way to fit in my five-seater, the jig is up. It’s not a mom thing. And the seatbelt thing is really only part of it. I just kind of don’t want to be responsible for your ass when the night is done, and I can think of many things I’d rather do than cruise around town with your knee cap in the small of my back.

4. Doritos, Fritos, Snickers bars, day old Danish and the chocolate chip cookies from down stairs are no longer acceptable snacks. Stop bringing them to my desk.

5. I’m done getting bombed on Wednesdays. When you ask how I’m doing the next morning and I say fine, I’m lying. I may be upright. Hell, I may even be productive. But the waft of gin seeping through my pores does nothing to impress HR, let alone the folks who have to ride 18 floors in the elevator with me.

6. I’m still holding on to my spiked, messy hair. I know it’s very San Diego, but frankly, it probably only has a few good years left and I’m going to milk them for all they're worth. This is my cheat. Deal.

7. I will continue to sing and dance to “Baby One More Time, “Genie in a Bottle” and “Bye, Bye, Bye” for as long as I like because they all came out when I was in my teens/twenties, but I’m leaving Selena Gomez and Bieber to the tweens.

8. Yes, you can crash at my house if you need to, and while I know I’ve never been keen on people bunking with me in my bed, I’d like to reiterate that here. At 21, you thought I was a bitch when I handed you a pillow and directed you to the couch. At 31, whether I go or you go, someone is sleeping in the living room. I don’t spoon. End of story.

9. I’m learning to love wine and brown liquor (on different nights, of course). The taste really does matter to me now. I’m not saying I’ll never drink to get drunk and have fun again, but I’m not sticking strictly to Vodka soda simply because it’s cheap, low in calories and will get you fucked up faster.

10. I'm keeping it local or keeping it sober. As we gays get older and more affluent, we tend to trade apartment life for homes, sometimes (gasp) outside Weho. And there is nothing cute about a 31-year-old getting a mug shot taken with boy band hair (it's my cheat, but I don't want it documented by LAPD).

11. In my twenties, I’d have deleted this whole column after writing it because I’d be too afraid of what my friends would think/say/comment. But at this point I’m pretty much an open book, and any one who’s been around me long enough to see me in action has photographic evidence of my recent inability to stand up and say…

I’m Ross, I’m 31, I can’t hold my liquor as well as I used to and on Friday nights, I may meet you for happy hour, I may even follow you to a bar or two... but as an early 30-something who is dating a boy a few years older, I no longer have the luxury of sleeping it off. Damn coffee runs. I like you, I really do, but the boyfriend likes you at 7. I'd prefer you at 10. We frequently settle for 8, 8:30, but even that's cutting it close. Still, I'd rather call it a night a bit early than write the sequel to this column... "Why I Got Dumped for Being a 32 Year Old Drunk."


  1. Touché! And you were right... I did enjoy it, immensely.

    I am enjoying the third decade in my life, too. And this means everything that comes with it. The people and experiences definitely make it more interesting and being able to choose what you want and want you don't want in your life is a definite plus all together.

  2. I feel your pain Ross, I can't even have two drinks anymore without waking up totally hung over. The 20s were the good old days, although it is nice having an excuse not to party anymore :)