I spent my twenty-first birthday with one of my besties, Mallery Avidon (who's now a super famous playwright.) Or, I guess, the day before my 21st birthday. I was a sophomore at Cornish College of the Arts and most of my friends weren't locals like Mallery and me and were out of town for the holidays. San Francisco or wherever. Some in Los Angeles or Portland. Mallery and I smoked some pot (I assume) and saw Not Another Teen Movie at Westlake Center. We went to a bar in Pioneer Square (I think) and I had Goldschlager for the first time. ("You mean it has real gold flakes in it?") Mallery was house sitting for some rich people in Queen Anne who had a hot tub, so we took a cab there- but it was really just a big bath tub. We got in anyway.
What I remember most though is that I got to go to a gay bar for the first time that night. At midnight- my actual birthday. It was Neighbors in Seattle, and it was Rock Lobster- their new wave, 80's-only night. This was before the aughts had really started, music was in a lull (not starting for another year or two with Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Strokes, White Stripes etc.) so I was really into new wave. Because what else was there? All my older friends at school had been talking about Rock Lobster forever and I was dying to go. The bouncer made me wait until exactly midnight.
I remember checking my bag thinking, "This. This is the big city life. This is glamor." Later I visited Neighbors after living in New York for a few years and I was struck by how much it was like a barn dance it was. I guess once you've done blow in the backroom of The Cock, nothing ever seems quite so "urban" again. Anyway, Mallery quickly ditched me and so I skulked around with a rum and coke (do all 21-year-olds drink rum and cokes?) waiting for I don't know what to happen.
I ended up dancing with a cute but nerdy guy in his thirties. He eventually asked if I wanted to take off and I thought, "This is it! I'm actually gonna have a one night stand... like an adult!" It turned out he was a Canadian businessman of some sort and we had to take a cab all the way to his hotel in Bellevue. We had to tip toe to his room too because he had coworkers in the adjoining rooms on either side.
Once we were inside his room he was all business. He whipped off his clothes and was all, "Are you clean?"
I thought, "I'm only 21. Of course I am. Just what kind of girl do you take me for?" But I just said yeah. I don't remember the sex or if we actually had it. It could have just been naked groping and making out. We were very, very drunk. Or I was, anyway. I do remember him asking me if I worked out and telling him that, no, I didn't.
"You better start or you'll lose this body when you're 30."
The next morning- December 21st, 2001- he put me in a cab back to the city, but not before giving me his business card. His name was Rob Wood. I don't know how I didn't catch that. On the back of the card he'd written, "Happy birthday! USA is #1!" I think I still have it somewhere.
In the cab on the way back to the city I reached into my pocket to get my chapstick and discovered forty dollars. Rob Wood slipped forty dollars into my jeans. At twenty-one, I was already a cheap old whore. I put some sunglasses on, drank a bottle of water to stave off my hangover and thought to myself, " Fuck, dude. I am an adult."
That was ten years ago today. Fuck, dude.