Today is my 21st birthday. Woot.
Now, you’re probably thinking — why isn’t this chick excited? She’s twenty-one! She’s legal! Stop being such a downer, Julie. But here’s the deal: aside from the fact that life isn’t that much different, the last birthday I had to look forward to has arrived. And now, all I have left, as my friend Nick put it, is to “get a real job, work 8-hour days, get married, have kids, lose your freedom, and then, of course, die.” (As you can see, he’s a real upper.)
Like any well-cultured girl of my generation, I needed to turn to some major role models and see how they dealt with their twenty firsts. First up — Lindsey Lohan is just one month older than me. Hmm, did I want to drown my sorrows in coke and DUI arrests? Nah — I grew up during “hit me baby one more time,” and besides, it’s too weird to consider Lindsey Lohan a role model. So, Britney it is.
Now, I obviously don’t have that much in common with Britney; she was a child sex symbol while I was still fighting my mother for the right to spaghetti straps. I, unfortunately, do not have those abs, nor the chutzpah to dance around in skintight sheer clothes with a boa constrictor. Even more unfortunately, I’ve never made out with Madonna. I don’t have millions of dollars, a failed marriage, a previously shaved head, two neglected children, or, most unfortunately, a recording deal. Nor am I famous, though that is, at times, hard to admit to myself. But, I guess I have two very important things in common with Brit: we’re both female, and, I’m pretty sure, we’re both freaked out about getting older. What’s more, I’m convinced that that’s probably a major reason behind the mental breakdown and shaved head thing.
Though the anti-aging industry is racking in billions, the fountain of youth has not been found. This is a major problem when the reason for your renown and your entire livelihood is based entirely around maintaining the image of the virginal porn star. For years, Britney denied she was a sex symbol, (if you don’t believe me, read Chuck Klosterman’s interview with her in Esquire) even as she danced around in skin-tight clothes, pigtails and catholic uniforms, and made tantric orgy music videos. She was the perfect Lolita for years, teasing, but still claiming innocence and her own virginity until about five years ago. Even when she stopped being the child-nymph, she remained the fantasy of every hetero male and plenty of females.
And then she screwed it all up. She got older, and what else did she do? She had kids.
You must recognize the incomprehensibility that is Britney Spears with children. It’s not supposed to happen. Britney is not supposed to be a MILF. But in my new, wise old age, I’ve cultivated sympathy for her. You may disagree, you may just loop her in with the rest of Hollywood’s Hot Messes (though honestly, Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton? Not hot,) but I have a hunch that the “Not just a girl, not yet a”-woman didn’t expect that she would be a mother at 25, or however old she actually is. After all, what can the girl do now? She has two talents: the ability to shake her booty and maintain a great body. Once that fades, she doesn’t have much to look forward to other than the Surreal Life. Madonna turned to Kabbalah, and Britney, whom we can all agree, is no Madonna, decided to mutilate a part of her body almost as sexualized as the sex organs and part of her fame — her blonde hair.
My own very brown hair is still on my head, and I haven’t got any kids (that I know of) to almost kill from negligent idiocy. Unlike Lindsey, I don’t have a coke addition, thought that might be because I can’t afford coke or rehab. I was never banking on being a child-porn-sex-symbol. And okay, I am the littlest bit excited to drink legally. But as a citizen of the most youth-obsessed country in the world, I can’t help but think about the nine years I have left till I’m thirty. If I had as much to lose as Britney or Lindsey, I would probably act the fool too, paparazzi or no.
So some time today, come by and say happy birthday. I’ll probably be in Ruloff’s, staring morosely into a pint of Stella and trying to ward off the gray hairs. Buy me a drink, tell me to stop being such a drama queen if you like. Oh Brit, I feel your pain.
Today is my 21st birthday. Woot.