When you were little, your birthday meant friends, cake, games, and age-appropriate fun. Your mom mailed out your Lizzie McGuire-themed invitations and your friends’ moms replied promptly with your pint-sized squad’s RSVPs. On the big day, you put on your favorite sundress and ran downstairs at 3pm on the dot to greet your guests, as Britney’s “Oops!… I Did It Again” bumped from the sound system and your dad tried not to roll his eyes. Now that you’ve hit college, your special days are a little different, though they still revolve around the same concepts. Birthday parties in your late teens and early twenties are still synonymous with friends, though shots are the new cake, games are strictly of the drinking variety, and your idea of age-appropriate fun probably includes more of the opposite sex and less parental supervision. Here’s what you need to have the most bitchin’ special day possible…
Facebook Event. The purpose of the Facebook event is twofold. One, it ensures that even the dabbiest of dabs will make it to the pregame at the right time and on the right day. Two, it ensures that everyone invited is aware that your friend group is the most hilarious one on Greek Row. The event’s description will be equal parts a trip down memory lane highlighting your drunkest moments, and equal parts light-hearted jabs at your super lowkey alcohol-dependency. So what, if that one time you went absolutely hammered to your Spanish exam and refused to go back to speaking English even after you’d left the class? If you’ve ever taken a picture or Snapchat that is even mildly embarrassing, rest assured that it’s certain to crop up somewhere on this page. You might get annoyed at your friends for sharing the picture of you peeing in your Panda suit because the guy you like is on the event’s page, but you’ll get over it once you realize that he (kind of) likes you even despite your shit show ways.
Place to Pregame. Be it your boyfriend’s house or your best friend’s, the place that your night starts should be spacious enough to accommodate all ten zillion of your closest friends and frenemies, and ideally be in a location close enough that you’ll still be able to stumble to the next spot without spraining your ankle in the sky high stilettos that you will inevitably regret wearing upon your first step onto the sidewalk. Make sure that you’ve got a decent sound system hooked up, because how else are you going to be able to aggressively sing along to “Molly Cyrus” knowing fully well that you’re tone deaf unless the speakers are able to (mostly) drown you out.
Alcohol. If you’ve ever taken a lap around your local frat house, you know that only geeds show up sober. You’ll chug the social booze in the party room to keep your brownout at peak levels, or exhort drinks at the bar from the cute guy in the Ralph Lauren quarter zip; but you’re lying if you say that you don’t need a little liquid courage coursing through your veins to gain the strength to push your way through the basement to the pledges in charge of handles, or the confidence to talk to that brunette babe in the first place. If your friends don’t suck, they’ve probably got your favorite bottle waiting in the freezer for you, with your current chaser of choice chilling in the adjoining fridge. As they say, candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. I usually take this to mean that if you skip dinner you’ll get drunk faster but maybe that’s just me.
Slammin’ Soundtrack. Nothing can kill the turn up faster than accidentally letting “Kung Fu Fighting” come up on your shuffle, let me tell you. The same goes for Pandora or Spotify commercials. Your speakers always start to emit the wrong sounds at the most inopportune times, it seems. Instead, proposition your music-obsessed friend to create a playlist jam-packed with bangers. Make sure that you include old stuff along with the new, because it’s not like anyone can resist 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P” followed by “Hotline Bling”. And it’s not a party until “Ignition (Remix)” plays at LEAST once. Trust me, it will be lit.
Birthday Sign. If you don’t have an annoyingly large or glittery laminated ‘21’ dangling from a neon boa around your neck, how is anyone supposed to know that it’s your birthday? It certainly couldn’t be from the drunken, “I’m twenty-one, bitches!” that you’ll be throwing into the air every five minutes once your BAC hits above a .08. While simple cut-out numbers are always classic, and easily identify you as the birthday girl from as far away as space, bonus points if the friend in charge of your sign puts a little of the brain power she usually reserves for manipulating boys into the design. Be it a cut-out Jose Cuervo bottle with the words, ‘tequila makes her clothes fall off’ and ample room for signatures, or an uber-decorated sugar skull proclaiming that ‘shots will wake her from the dead’, you’re sure to be the star of the bar..