I attended the engagement party of a good friend this past weekend. We all got dressed up, drank sparkling sangria and snacked on finger foods beneath twinkle lights and a yellow summertime moon. Overall, it was an odd and lovely experience. As I looked around, I couldn’t help but ask myself some soul-searching questions: Are these are the people with whom I painted freshmen pledges in college? The same girl who once politely requested a vodka tonic with her 3:00 AM Happy Meal? The boys who purchased a miniature goat and kept it in their backyard?
The short answer is yes. Yes, these are the self-same individuals, only slightly less smelly and a little more polished.
I’m not sure when exactly the transformation began, but we are in the process of growing up. Most of us have moderately respectable jobs, houses and significant-others, but it’s one thing to talk about it with your friends, and another thing entirely to see it play out right before your eyes. Over the past several months, people have been pairing off at warp-speed and I’ve become somewhat of an engagement ring expert (don’t tell my boyfriend). I started to get all nostalgic (or tipsy, depending on how you want to look at it) for the simpler days, and began thinking about the previous night to bring myself back down from my rose-tinted, reminiscent daze.
You see, the previous night a bunch of us went to the zoo. Allow me to explain.
Each year, the zoo hosts a magical evening of music and tastings from dozens of local restaurants, all in the company of wild animals. I suppose the intention is to encourage young people like myself to munch gracefully on petit creme brulee and lamb pitas while sipping on chilled white wine and discussing the conflict in the Middle East. I guess this is as good a time as any to mention that it was an open bar. You can probably imagine the amount of “sophisticated discussion” that occurred. Because while we might be in the process of growing up, we certainly aren’t all the way there just yet.
The lines for the bars were the longest (no surprise there), and so our logic went something like this:
“This line is so long, I might as well get three beverages at a time.”
And thus we found ourselves cradling various bottles and cups, spilling on each other and strangers. So busy were we refilling our bottomless cups, that we forgot the main attraction of this event was the free treats from local eateries. I ate half a slider the whole night, which if you’ve been following, is not nearly enough carbohydrates to sustain a night of dancing in the summer heat. Needless to say, we shut the dance floor down. And by shut down, I mean that the once the lights came on indicating the end of the festivities, the band had to address us directly to inform us that the party was in fact, over.
So as I gazed around the engagement party the following night at the flowy summer dresses, sharp khaki pants and perfectly coiffed hair, I thought to myself We’re not so grown up after all.
And then smiled to myself and got another sangria.