Mar 072012
Authors: Colleen McSweeney

Last Sunday I was –– as the great poet Britney Spears once said –– not a girl, but not yet a woman.

Last Sunday, I turned 21.

While my lips had touched the ol’ devil’s elixir before* –– beginning when I was a baby and my dad would pour a few sips worth of beer in my bottle to help me sleep (an old Irish trick) –– I always just felt like a kid pretending to be an adult.

Everything changed, however, the moment the clock struck midnight and I took my fist steps into a bar that I, and all drunks over the age of 50, will hold dear to my heart: Match-Ups Pool Hall.

Sure, a Google Review of Match-Ups reads, “Ha ha ha, this place is a sleazy coke den for middle aged men and middle aged biker chicks. Trashiest bar in Fort Collins. Seriously, I cannot think of a place that is on this level of trashiness in FTC. Warm beer as well.”

Whoever wrote that must not have tried the bar’s famous “$1 Chips and Candy.”

My judgment may have been hazed for obvious reasons, but all I know is, Match-Ups is exactly where I pictured my fist legal drink to be. “Trashy”? Maybe. But it was full of character, as all good things should be.

Besides me and a few friends, the only other people sitting at the bar counter were a wonderfully wasted middle-aged couple by the names of Connie and Chris.

After wishing me a “Happy Birthday, baby,” Connie bought me a shot of her favorite drink, and the one drink I despise: Goldschläger.

But if there’s one thing I know, you never pass up cinnamon schnapps from an older woman who calls you “baby.”

From there, the night flowed into a raucous daze that involved the following:
I spoke with a 50-something Mayan man named Ephriam (whom I believed when he told me wrote the original Mayan calendar) about the impending end of the world on Dec. 21. Apparently no, the world won’t end –– there will just be an “extreme environmental shift.” Thank you for the wisdom, Ephriam.

Ephriam kissed a female Collegian editor on the lips after asking, “Does your red-headed friend knoooow how beautiful she is?” She does now, Ephriam.

I confessed my undying love for the bear statue in Old Town Square.

Sunday was the type of night that, while a lot of fun, should only really happen at one point in life: your 21st birthday.

I mean, there’s a reason that I’ve been greeted all week, “How ya’ feelin’, champ,” and “I’m glad to see you’re alive.” In college, “21st birthday” equates with free birthday shots, forgetting your friends’ names, confessing your love for corn dogs AND bear statues and ultimately, forgetting most of it thanks to the cruel, cruel temptress of a cocktail, the “Adios, MotherF*****.”

Binge drinking, of course, is a habit that should never be maintained. But just maybe it’s needed on our 21st birthday as a sort of final slap on the face. A painful slap that takes you out of the hazy, Burnett’s-filled world of house parties and into the much more socially acceptable world of public, legal drinking.

After all, alcohol shouldn’t be something that causes us to “black out” or forget our troubles. It should be something that, in moderation, heightens laughter, makes conversation a little more genuine and hopefully, lets us really connect with the people around us.

Of course, I’m not saying alcohol is needed for a fun night out. Corn dogs could get the job done pretty well, too.

*I of course only drank underage in countries where it was legal, Mom and Dad…

Editorial Editor Colleen McSweeney is a junior journalism major. Her column usually appears Tuesdays in the Collegian but she was still recovering from her 21st . She can be reached at

 Posted by at 12:43 pm

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.