21 is the Bee’s Knees

By Maya Salem

The fact is, getting older is not a choice. Likewise, turning 21 — the day when we embrace adulthood with a glass of rosé in one hand and a fork of soft cheese in the other — is also inevitable. Toss the fake ID; it’s time for your own horizontal driver’s license. Though you’ll have to pay a few dollars to snap a new picture, it will be money well-spent to truly put those teenage years behind you. With the added responsibility comes an unsaid maturity. People now think you’re a real adult. One who still reaps the benefits of being on their parents’ healthcare. 

So don’t blow it. 

Legalities aside, there is so much more to being 21. You have just entered the real world of adulthood. A world where you can still have fun without paying any mortgage. It’s the youthful age everybody wishes to return to, save the cringey low-light, red-eye photos. And, yes, while it may have its low notes, it’s your time now. Being a bit far from the lucky number myself, I have taken some notes from a wannabe and soon-to-be 21 year old.

First, you get to enjoy rosé while watching “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” and “Love Island”, can we make that a thing? Also, you can have a fancy wine and cheese night with your friends. Or set up a date with yourself — we’re still in the midst of a pandemic, and when was the last time you treated yourself? Better yet, you can finally go to a wine tasting, learn about how the magical drink is made and enjoy the sight of vineyards for miles. Now, that makes a trip to Napa Valley far more interesting.

Or you could go to Vegas, but that’s not exactly the kind of elite experience we’re talking about here. But when it does come to partying, there’s no more reason for FOMO. Pick whatever crowd or venue you want. You can choose the club, the bar, the 21+ concert or even stay at home. 

Another amazing opportunity: rooftop bars and movie theaters! Yes, regular bars are fun, and you can order interesting drinks like a Eucalyptus Martini or a Bee’s Knees. But put together the bar and a 360-degree view of the sunset. Nothing beats filling your Instagram feed with pictures of city skylines through wine glasses. 

If you’re in need of a quick job, you can now work for Uber or Lyft at 21. But, on second thought, after the passing of Prop 22, you may want to reconsider. 

As you have waved “au revoir” to your adolescent self, start getting to know your almost fully-formed brain. That’s right — no more parents or teachers complaining about that “undeveloped frontal lobe.” Of course, it will continue growing until age 25, so you’re still allowed some poor judgement calls. The age of 21 can mark the start of something new, a chance to explore your world or it can simply pass by. But, since it only comes around once, I suggest you make the most of it. 

Maya Salem has begun the preparations in anticipation for her own 21st birthday: 776 days and counting…


By Carrieanne Mamba

Turning twenty-one, or twenty-fun as others may view it, is like unlocking the last important level in the game of life. Upon turning 18, you unlock the legal right to vote. At 20, you rid yourself of the “-teen” suffix you’ve been subject to for the past seven years. At 21, you gain the privilege of being able to walk into your local BevMo to buy those delicious strawberry lemonade Naturdays yourself because, behold! Gone are the days where you had to beg one of your upperclassmen friends to do it. 

Although you may feel like you have unlocked the last level in life when you reach 21, it is arguably the worst level since one could make the point that it all goes down from here. 

As a recent member inducted into the 21+ club, it is obvious that I am sufficiently wizened and knowledgeable on all matters 21. Thus, I would like to impart my experiences regarding the “catch-21” of this age. 

I admit to enjoying the freedom and accessibility of buying my own alcohol, but if (allegedly) I were to be the eldest in my house, I’d say my younger housemates also reap those benefits. With every weekend that comes around, so too does my sole responsibility of designated alcohol picker-upper. My housemates pay me back of course, but there’s some added stress on my shoulders to physically pick a case of beer up (no pun intended), as well as added stress on my wallet which cannot keep swiping at the rate that people pay me back on Venmo. 

And you know what else you can legally purchase at 21? Puff Bars. So in addition to being the alcohol provider, I am also the only person who can acquire those fruity smoke gizmos. I don’t even really smoke nicotine like that, but in a household full of nic-addicts (again, allegedly), I am the Certified Supplier. That means shelling out over $100 every one to two weeks to get the “buy 6, get one free” deal on the Puff Pluses at Wild Side, which, when you think about it, isn’t that great a deal. 

Perhaps the most heartbreaking thing about being 21 revolves around the situational context in which we find ourselves: the midst of a global pandemic. Like other enterprises rendered unattainable because of quarantine, the possibility of turning up at a bar downtown is sadly not in the foreseeable future for me and others who turned 21 this year. Especially at a party school like UCSB, it is a coming-of-age ritual to board that grimy bus with the lasers to State Street where you will then purchase an overpriced alcoholic drink at Sharkeez or O’Malley’s that you probably won’t even remember getting until you wake up the next day with a ridiculous hangover and zero dollars in your bank account. 

Twenty-one definitely brings about a stronger sense of responsibility. Perhaps like me, you’ve become the alcohol provider. Or maybe you’ve realized that you are likely more than halfway done with your college career and that much closer to your thir-, thirt-, I can’t even say it. Twenty-one is a scary age that comes with a lot of power, and with great power comes cheap red wine and the impending doom of adulthood, so enjoy it while it lasts. 

Carrieanne Mamba can often be found on her balcony in Isla Vista, legally sipping on the occasional Smirnoff Ice.