My best friend and I had a pact.
We were going to be adults, as soon as we possibly could. So when I was 13, I covered my hair with gel until I no longer looked like I was 13 anymore. I put on light purple eyeshadow and light pink lipstick and a tight skimpy dress that certainly no 13-year-old would wear. Something wasn’t right so I tousled my hair until it was covering my face, and I put on a black turtleneck over the tight dress and white leggings. Layers. That was the key to looking older.
I walked into the local liquor store behind the 7-11. My heart was beating a thousand beats per minute, and I looked around at all of the bottles as if I was well versed in the options, pausing authoritatively at the various choices around me. Bourbons and vodkas and tequilas. A lot of beer, some wine coolers. Yes. Wine coolers. That’s what I wanted. That’s what a lady drank.
I opened the refrigerated case, sucked in my breath and carried the case to the register. The old man staring down at me looked amused and annoyed.
“How old are you?” he asked.
I thought quick. I didn't have the guts to go for the gold and say 21 so I came up with what I thought an adequate number to purchase booze would be if, say, you looked cute enough to convince the liquor store guy to let you do it just this once.
They didn’t really expect you to wait until you were 21 did they? Fifteen must be the code, and how clever I was to know it.
“Come back in six years,” he said and pulled the wine coolers closer to him.
I left there defeated, but even more determined to get my hands on alcohol. So that night when my best friend came over for one of our countless sleepovers at my place, we strategized. Babysitting gigs. That was the ticket.
That weekend I babysit for the kids up the street. When they finally went to bed, I grabbed an empty mini shampoo bottle, raided the liquor cabinet and dumped as much Kahlua as I could fit into it. I called my best friend and asked her to meet me at my house. We drank the Pert-flavored liqueur and traded turns taking sips.
"I feel it," I said, wincing on the taste of soap. "Do you feel it?"
"I definitely feel it," she said. Total, we shared about one shot of Kahlua cut with a heavy amount of Pert.
When I finally did turn 21, I never drank Kahlua again.
Please tell me: What's your first drinking story? I hope it's less sudsy than mine.
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.