There are moments, especially since hitting my 30s, where I become self-aware of how hard I'm adulting. It's mildly unnerving. Anytime I use the word "strategy" or briskly walk down a hallway while wearing a lanyard I feel like a character in an Aaron Sorkin joint.
And people seem to be catching on. While on a recent shopping excursion to the high-end boutique known as Forever 21, an employee asked me if she could go on her break. This isn't even the first time that's happened. Granted, I'm usually readjusting clothes on racks because they're a damn mess when this happens, so I guess it makes sense. But no, I choose to believe it's the power that comes with confidence and knowing who you are and what you want. It's the power of being a grown-ass woman.
As a social media campaign recently told me, #YouCanBeBoth a badass professional lady working to change the world and a club rat grinding up against a 24-year-old on a dance floor. As someone whose neck is scented with "Flowerbomb" by Viktor & Rolf and fingers are stained by Flaming Hot Cheetos, I feel this every day.
It's that both-ness that helped me steal a bunch of alcohol from some rappers at a nightclub. You read that correctly.
My cousin Lily, who's an on-air personality on Z90, texted me asking if I wanted to see rapper Tory Lanez perform at F6ix, an 18-and-over club downtown. However, this familial night of rap-bonding would be on a Thursday.
Weeknight partying is tough for me, but I'd be a shitty Zaragoza if I didn't rally. Plus, I'd just purchased a girdle at Burlington Coat Factory that helps me fit into a skintight dress that gives me major Kim Kardashian vibes, so needless to say I wanted to show it off. My cousin, who spent years living in New York, looked the epitome of Bed-Stuy cool in her Timberlands and jeans. We literally looked like a hip-hop lesbian couple when we entered the club at 9 p.m.
Yup. 9 p.m. Only the nanas and the 19-year-olds show up that early. The bartender, dressed in hot pink Victoria's Secret lingerie that appeared to be the uniform for every female employee in the club, told us Lanez wouldn't be going on until around 1:30 am. Maybe. Depending on his mood. Fuck. We had four hours to kill. My heart ached a bit for my bed.
Anyone over 21 who was drinking had to be kept in a section away from the youths. We were literally separated by a gate. Stay away, youths! A 22-year-old hit on Lily minutes after we stepped up to the bar. She looked him up and down and said, "I would crush you." We really are related.
Behind the iron gates of alcoholism, we were surrounded by aspiring rappers, their entourages, women killing it in bodycon dresses and club employees seeing to their needs at private bottle-service tables. In that moment, I made a choice. I looked over at Lily and said, "I'm gonna steal a bunch of alcohol from these rappers for us."
That became my quest. Any good con movie will tell you, the art of the con is believing the lie and speaking with authority. I harnessed the commanding presence that leads teenagers to believe I could manage a Forever 21, took off my glasses and walked over to the server pouring champagne. Then I looked her in the eye, held up an index finger and said "I'm gonna need two glasses for the manager." This is how I'm using my theater degree. Thanks, UC San Diego!
I stomped away barely able to hide my excitement and handed Lily her champagne. It tasted like garbage water, but the rush of my con gave it an extra flavor. Like I could conquer anything. In the Harry Potter universe, it would be the equivalent of drinking Felix Felicis, the elixir of luck. I was Felix Felicis wasted, ya'll!
Feeling the Felix Felicis seer through me, I stole more and more booze using the power of my adulting and theatrical training. I lifted an entire bottle of shit champagne and handed it to some girl, who I now realize was definitely underage. Then I started taking vodka off the tables. I was unstoppable. If I could do this, gosh, imagine what Lin-Manuel Miranda could steal? Like a car or dinner at The Olive Garden or something.
Then, as with all great con tales, it came crashing to an end because of my own drunken hamartia. Along with my adulting has come a certain level of light-weighted-ness. When some entourage-looking guy grabbed vodka I was definitely stealing and accused me of stealing, I stepped up to him and slurred "I don't need anything from you. I can have this whole place. I'm Jennifer F6ix." Someone put me to bed.
Lily, who is obviously a saint, took me home. The last thing I remember was desperately wrestling against the girdle that seemed to have bonded onto my sweaty, alcohol-bloated body, crawling to the bathroom and vomiting up what tasted like poisonous gummy bears.
The next morning, I woke up, girdle halfway over one shoulder, hating life. But as an adult must do, I cleaned up, went to work and painfully completed a major project I'd been working on for weeks. I can still be both, but man it hurts sometimes.