Going to bars as a newly turned 21 year old.

Is it just me, or are bars really awkward?

…Okay, so maybe a big part of it has to do with me, but seriously. I’ve been 21 for a few months now but haven’t really been hitting up the bar scene, except for the jungle-like excuse for a bar near my college a couple of times. Besides the absolutely revolting amount of sweat excretion that ends up dripping down the walls and the various creepy dudes who were ALWAYS there, that place wasn’t so bad. At least I was surrounded by people (mostly) my own age, who were all looking to spend the least amount of money as possible but get drunk as quick as possible.

Recently, I headed to a bar near home since I’m stuck here for the majority of the summer. And it was weird.

Some big basketball game was on and the place was packed. You had dozens of people surrounding the bar, people sitting at tables with their eyes glued to the screens above them and then there was me and my friends. Just standin’ there.

I wasn’t going to go to a bar and not drink. I kept eyeing the bottles and beer taps, going back and forth between a mixed drink or a cold beer. But what kind?! It didn’t help that I’m already the most indecisive person in the world. And it’s not really acceptable to start flipping coins or playing rock paper scissors in a bar. After a while I just decided I’d get whatever was the first thing to pop into my head when the bartender got to me.

But that never happened. See, I didn’t want to push my way through the crowds of people surrounding the bar. I wasn’t that desperate to drink. (Okay, maybe I was. The longer I stood there, the more the awkwardness level increased.) I tried waiting for a tiny space to open up where I could squeeze in, grab the bartender’s attention and purchase whatever cool looking drink that girl over to the right was having. Nope. No one moved. Everyone was fixated on that stupid basketball game.

Thankfully, the game soon ended, people left and my friends and I sat at an empty table where I ordered an “Electric Blue Long Island Iced Tea,” which I discovered was the cool blue drink that one girl had. Things were good after that point, but I still left later thinking that bars are just a really awkward place.

First of all, I don’t know anything about drinks other than the fact that there’s vodka, rum, tequila, some other stuff and then beer. And wine, but who gets wine at a bar? Shots are only awkward to get if you’re the only one getting them, but a standard mixed drink like rum and coke is boring. If I’m going to have someone make me my drink, I want them to make something that I haven’t tried before in a red solo cup at a frat party.

And don’t even get me started on beer. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY KINDS? If I order something familiar, like Bud Light, that makes me look like I don’t know what I’m doing. And if I order something that I haven’t tried before with a weird Belgium name, I still look like I don’t know what I’m doing.

The people in bars make me laugh, too. You have the group of guys who only came for the game and are loudly shouting obscenities and banging their beer mugs on the tables. Then there are the other guys who arrive dressed sharply, quietly sipping on their drinks as they discreetly attempt to check out every female that passes by. You have the girls who are drunk off of sugary alcohol and find that a bar is in fact the perfect place to hold a photo shoot, striking various poses to draw in as much attention as they can, good or bad. And, what I found probably the most awkward of all, is that when you go to a bar that is outside a college town, you’re going to be drinking alongside people as old, if not OLDER, than your parents. Weird.

And of course, can’t forget me, eyes wide as I sip on my blue drink and try to process all that is happening around me.

Eh, I can get used to this.

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