There are rare and exceptional moments in a young man's life when he believes, just for an instant, that his friends should be sorry for partying. All the signs and judgments point to an apology, but naturally they are not sorry, and neither is the young man.
This is one of those moments.
Show me a young person (under 40) who doesn't use their birthday as an excuse to get sloppy drunk and I'll show you a monogamous Mormon. The 21st birthday is the most evident rendition of this self-induced train wreck (and why not?). This is especially true when a 21st birthday lands on a Friday. Most true un-apologists will readily see why. For the rest of you: the reason a Friday birthday is so epic is because the 'day' actually begins Thursday evening and runs until the bars close on Saturday (or until you can no longer stand). In other words, your birthday just became a birthweekend. You already planned to make a spectacle of yourself to the delight of your friends and total strangers; now you get to do it for the better part of two straight days.
Just such an event occurred about this time last year, during a crisp October weekend. It was well into the Thursday night portion of my friend Goody's birthweekend. A number of us were gathered in the frat house pre-gaming, when word came down that one of the bros, whom we'll call Croc, was throwing a party. A perfect cap to the pre-game before hitting the bars.
Upon arriving we discovered that this wasn't just any party, but the beginnings of yet another Friday birthday (for Croc's girlfriend). Serendipity? I think so. Being extravagantly rich and proud of it, Croc had rented a party bus to shuttle the party to various bars around Washington. With transportation, a solid group of bros, and a bus full of lubricated females taken care of, we set about drinking with reckless abandon. By some miraculous stroke of luck, everybody was aboard the bus as it pulled away from the townhouse.
This mobile shitshow made its way around Washington, stopping occasionally to allow its participants to temporarily invade some unsuspecting bar or lounge before continuing on. Eventually it blossomed into a full-on Stage 5 booze hurricane of debauchery... and thus arrived at the final destination of the evening: the swanky Old Ebbitt Grille, a venerable establishment within puking distance of the White House. Forty-five minutes later, the party stood collectively outside the Ebbitt, evicted for having too much fun and taking a few liberties with the waitstaff. The bus had driven off to wait, assuming we would be much longer, and we were left to our own devices. This is where everything got interesting.
At this point, everybody was loaded and what passed for judgment took hold. Within minutes, one guy was climbing a tree (one of those new saplings they are forever planting in city sidewalks), being aided awkwardly by another guy attempting to serve as a human step ladder. Two girls were vomiting into the gutter in front of the restaurant, while a third was up the street between two parked cars. Another brother was down the block in the shadows, giggling as he pissed on the building. All this took place in full view of the uptight black tie crowd that frequents the Ebbitt, as well as the Secret Service across the street at the east entrance to the White House. Create a spectacle? Mission accomplished.
A block away, our friend Pops had begun passionately devouring his girlfriend's face. Wanting in on the action, another friend, Bear, leaned in close to jokingly steal a nibble. And then the show stopper: without skipping a beat, Pops pushed his girlfriend's face away and immediately began making out with Bear. If you have never seen 30 totally hammered and self-absorbed people immediately become silent and stare in unison, it is quite a sight. For a few glorious seconds, time stopped. Pure, unapologetic, raw tongue action. Only during the perfect storm of a 21st birthday could such a moment happen. I'm not sure Bear will ever forget the look on Pops' face as he pulled his tongue out of his mouth. You can bet he wasn't sorry.