The Emotional Struggle of Having Your 21st Birthday

21st birthday parties have become a huge deal in recent times. It's like MTV's My Super Sweet 16 meets The Castletown Donkey Derby. You plan, you save, you have everything sorted to the smallest detail. It's your homecoming, the last big event before you get married. A chance for your college friends to meet your friends from home. A chance for Molly from Manhattan to go back to the mountains for one night only. Here is a definitive list of what every 21st socialite has to go through.

15) Pre Game Excercise

You need to look unreal. Of course you can go down to a size six in a week. Simples.

14) The Date

You can't have it on Show Day because everyone will be off somewhere else, you certainly can't have it the day after because everyone will be hungover and Jesus don't even think about having it the day before...


13) The Venue

The club is far too expensive and Finnegans is way too rough. Do you know what you'll do. You'll have it in your cousin Martin's pub. That way you'll be giving him some business and you might get an oul discount too.

12) No Shows

What if no one turns up and it just ends up being yourself and Martin dancing the night away


11) Two 21st's, One Night

That stupid bitch knew you were planning your 21st and hasn't she gone and set up her event on Facebook before you did. You'll be dammed if you're going to change your date. She does have more friends then you though... Joint 21st perhaps?

Why is no one clicking attending? 

10) The Dress

It's your night, you need to look unreal. You can't just buy any old dress. What if someone is wearing the same dress as you? Do you do your own tan or get it done professionally. Dear god what if it comes out streaky? And then the shoes? If you order online it might not get here on time or if it doesn't fit. There won't be time to alter it. It's all too much.


So much effort and it could just turn out to be a family affair. 

9) Will he be there?

You've invited him, you've casually mentioned it on Facebook. You try not to let on but your secretly dying he'll be there. It's not all for him though is it? Nah, you're not that obsessed. That is until it gets to 1 O'Clock, he hasn't showed up and and you're crying into your WKD Blue.

What if he's the only one to show up? 


8) Your Parents

They have raised you to be a somewhat self respecting person without any ASBO's that they know of. They've done their job so fuck that they're going to have a few drinks and dance the night away.

Just pray that they're not the only ones dancing.

7) College Friends

This is probably the first time you will introduce your college friends to your parents. Your parents have only heard good stories. Is there enough space for them all? You hope to god Mary and Pat don't spend the night dry humping in the corner. You hope your friends from home and them will get on. God what if John shits in the kettle again or if Shane starts a fight with the barman. Deep breaths.


Why haven't they text you to say they're on route? Oh Jesus they've changed their mind haven't they?

6) The Relations

Dad has promised he'll only bring Granny in for a half hour to see you blow out the candles. But Jesus,  Auntie Francis will be a different story. You don't need a lecture on how looks fade tonight. What if Auntie Bridge tries to shift one of the lads or if Pervy Uncle Dennis starts pinching one of the girl's arses...

5) 21 Kisses


There's no way you're doing that. Four free Jagerbombs later and you're rounding up the troops yourself. Who will be that infamous 21st kiss?

What if there's not enough people for 21 kisses?

4) Enough Food and Drink

Your poor mother has made enough sandwiches and coctail sausages to feed an army. Your religious grandmother is doing a decade of the rosary as she looks in fear to see the amount of alcohol your father is taking out of the car until she sees the worst thing of all. Between the copious amounts miller and heineken there's a bottle of vodka. There's no hope for these children.


If no one shows up you will be eating stale egg mayonnaise and bread for the next two weeks.

3) The Tunes

You need the place to be alive so people will think they're in a club. There will be no Proclaimers or Cotton Eyed Joe at this event. It's going to look pathetic if you just have your Ipod speakers in the corner and all that cousin Martin has are his leftover tape decks from when he tried to crack the Irish Show Band scene in 1962. Your 16 year old brother thinks he's a dab hand on the decks, Aviccii Levels on repeat isn't really what you had in mind though. Joe that works behind the bar reckons it's his time to shine. Say goodbye to John Joe Diamond and hello to DJ Carnage in the mix!

2) The Club Lads!!

What if the infamous DJ Carnage has completely run out of ideas and 'The Time of My Life' is playing, as your parents, after a few too many, get jiggy on the dance floor. You see one lad tilt his head to the rest of the lads to signal that perhaps its time to head into town to the club. Panic mode ensues... It's only 12:00. The quickest 21st known to man. And that's if anyone shows up at all.


Just cancel it, tell every one you'll just see them in town, that way it's not an actual event and you prevent mortification.

1) Don't Get Hammered

You've already given Martin a deposit so cancelling isn't an option. You have to face  the music with perhaps a little less alcohol then usual. You cannot make a Holy Show of yourself in front of all your family. Don't get drunk, don't get drunk, don't get drunk... Oh fuck. You're drunk.

Why is there so many people here to see me deck my myself on the dance floor.

Bronagh Flynn
Article written by
An English major in the University of Limerick. This country bumpkin may claim she spends her days reading 'War and Peace', contemplating life when in fact she is re-watching episodes of Girls in her quest to becoming a somewhat respectable member of society. An old man at heart, she loves a whiskey on the rocks and over packed clubs give her nightmares.

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