The Fourth Entry: 21 Years of Coco


I visited three stores in search of the perfect princess dress-up tiara, specifically with a fake silver sheen and the words “Birthday Girl” written across the top in pink and purple. CHECK – I found it at Target for $5.99 with matching clip-on earrings that rivaled any of the jewelry packaged in the Pretty Pretty Princess board game.

The check out girl assumed I was buying it for an age-appropriate child friend of mine, asking, “Would you like a gift receipt?”

I replied, “Oh no – it’s not a gift.”

I smiled even wider, “I’m 21 today.”

I spent the rest of the day pampering myself – hair appointment at Timbuktu salon, chocolate cupcake for breakfast, shoe shopping in the afternoon. I felt like a coffee bean too as I buzzed around the city in a blissful daze, I knew the night was going to be a blast.

I had asked that all my closest girlfriends unite for one romp around town. The cast of characters:

Aimee –  Red-headed spitfire, nursing student, one of my oldest friends. Apparently, I made her laugh in fourth grade and she invited me over for a slumber party. We ate a gallon of ice cream and a box of pizza and watched horror movies late into the night until we couldn’t sleep. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t spend a night like this every two weeks. But more often than not, we tend to get into mischief together.

Andrea – Blond spitfire, nursing student, my craziest high school friend. Her mother gave me my first sip of alcohol in high school, her house was an official weekend destination for weekend teenagers on the prowl for a rager. We met freshman year at a haunted house. Funny thing is – I never thought we’d be friends. Well, we’re friends now with endless memories of random nights and adventures. She’s the perfect 21 companion.

drinking on convertibleBridget – Brunette Beauty, business student, my “bestie” in high school. Although I called her “Dorito breath” in grade school, I grew to love this girl. She knows what I’m thinking with just a look, or not even – she just knows me, and I know her. She loves food – she won the pancake eating contest in high school: 23 cakes, 6 sausage links and 2 cups of OJ. And you’d never know it by looking at her – her stomach is a vortex.

Marisa – Blond sweetheart, I don’t know what she’s studying because her life is her volunteer work. We used to drive everywhere together – everywhere because neither of us were any good at directions and because I didn’t have a car. While I’d sit passenger, we’d listen to music and speed around in her white Hyundai. She’s sensitive and so am I, which is also why we get along so well.

So these were the ladies I demanded be at my 21 christening – the best women I know for the job. And they didn’t disappoint. Aimee and I drove over to Andrea’s to drink champagne and  as soon as I pulled in, she whipped out a hand-written book titled, “Coco’s 21 Shots,” to chronicle the night’s happenings on glitter paper, 21 pages long. After each drink, they would record where I was, who purchased it for me, what it was and take a photo of me drinking it. Then, I’d have to sign my name on the X. It wasn’t the sort of game I expected to play – but I stepped up to the plate and did my best to swing at the fast balls.


I’m a small girl, 21 shots is like – HA! But I did my best…I got up to 11 (the last one was actually a shot of much needed water). I was done by 12:30 a.m. Pitiful. But I packed a lot in – I stopped two police officers – in my tiara – and made them check my ID and then get in a celebratory photo with me. I danced to my birthday song on stage with the band while the whole bar joined in. I met a character named Gretchen in the bathroom. Recently divorced, she gave me some great advice I don’t remember and then bought me a shot. I was found banging on drums at a reggae show later in the night only to have one kind woman ask me to step off the stage – I complied and she bought me a drink!

2666579538_f02cfcd3bfAnd my girls – those wild women I love so much – documented each moment as if I were a baby taking my first steps. It was a magical evening – with an immediate turn for the worst. What began with champagne ended in a trash can and that’s the end of that – 21 in a nutshell, 21 for Coco.