Freshman in Life


I am insanely jealous of the Olsen twins. There, I said it. Are you happy now? I’ve come out, just like Star Jones Reynolds’ husband should.

But back to the Olsen twins. I am jealous, not of their billion-dollar fortune, their pimped out pad, or their petite anorexic bodies luxuriously swathed in fabrics and designer bags. I am not jealous of their VIP status at Butter, a spread whose sweet fattiness has never passed between their lips. I am not even jealous of their syndication royalties or their close personal relationship with the star of the hit series Jake in Progress.

I am jealous because they are freshman in college and I, on the other hand, am a lowly freshman in life. I know how to be a freshman in college. Been there, done that, I’m an expert. But a freshman in life? That’s another story. I’ve gone from irresponsible, carefree childhood to adulthood faster than Lindsay Lohan got skinny.

I’m not alone, of course. I am joined by thousands of others who, nearly a year ago, successfully accepted their diplomas after four, five and sometimes even six years of college. Yes, we declared, we have “found ourselves.” There was pomp and there was circumstance. Hats were tossed and cheers erupted. The likes of Ted Koppel, Kofi Annan and Bono (yes, Bono) stood on commencement stages across the country and told us graduates to go forth with courage and strength. To gather the wisdom we culled smoking pot in frat house basements and conquer the world with faith and determination.

Except for Bono, who said, “You can build your own building, or hut, or condo, whatever.”

And I believed this. I really believed I could build a hut. Or a condo. If I could only get on The Apprentice like that fucking kid from Harvard…

But I digress. Here I am, nine months later, out in the world, hoping to make it big. I finally have the endless freedom to chart my own course, but every once in a while, I find myself a little out of my element.

Suddenly my friends are throwing dinner parties left and right. They are preparing four-course meals in kitchens the size of Pomeranians equipped only with high tech toaster ovens and supersonic microwaves. Is this adulthood? Just because you can crumble feta over some lettuce does not mean you know how to do your taxes.

Last weekend, I attended a party thrown by three formerly surly college football players turned investment bankers. It was a wine and cheese tasting party. A year ago they would have scorned such an event. In college, a wine and cheese tasting party is a sign that you’re a pretentious fuck. In the real world it’s the perfect pre-dinner Saturday evening event. Something us post-grads are certain adults do all the time.

But when you’re a freshman in life, the wine comes out of jugs, or liter bottles (behold the power of Yellowtail). The selection of cheeses, on the other hand, is not paired with the wine to delight and surprise your palate. In this instance there was a choice of three: cheddar, brie, and Kraft Singles.

“Cheese,” a host told me, “is really fucking expensive.” I nodded vigorously and pretended the Single I was holding was Roquefort.

Everyone stood around awkwardly playing with their Blackberries until one of our hosts broke out his trusty college funnel and began pounding wine as if it were Miller High Life. Though massively embarrassed for him, we were all a little more comfortable with the situation and gave a collective sigh of relief. Funnels belong in territory we understand; wine and cheese parties, on the other hand, we’re still trying to figure out.

Another post-college tradition is the networking event. A few days ago, a close friend dragged me to an “industry” party. Not the kind of industry party where Paris Hilton takes her top off and lets people snort coke of her tits. That’s the fun kind. This one was thrown by someone’s assistant hoping to meet other people’s assistants who’s phone number they can email to themselves on their Blackberries on the off chance that the person they’re speaking with can help advance their career. We did two loops of the place and when she quickly realized there was no one on the premises that could give her a raise, we were out like a boner in sweatpants.

We had to get to bed—we had work in the morning.

Using words like “career,” expressions like “on an apples to apples basis” and investing in high price cheeses and personal digital assistants can at once be intimidating and exciting. To be thrown from a world with no old people (read: individuals over forty) into a world filled with old people (all of whom want to sleep with you) was not something we prepared for in college. But we will go forth with strength, dignity and nice, round, young asses. We will succeed in this world—eventually. For now, we are just learning how.

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