Are you an adult?
Children play “adults”. Girls would dress up in mother’s clothes, put on her jewelry and try to walk or rather wobble around in her high heels. Teen girls use so much makeup their faces are barely discernible; as the saying goes they apply it with a tablespoon or a trowel. Boys would imitate their fathers or any older male relations, or an action movie star they admire. Once the first hints of stubble manifest themselves they talk of shaving and compare each other’s non-existent “shadows”. Those few who produce something even remotely akin to mustache evoke intense envy among their peers who still have baby faces. When children finish school they go out into the world either to work or to continue their studies. And both boys and girls discover that they are now part of that exciting entity, the Adult World. The constant care, the rules and regulations, the endless school codes and home control are suddenly gone. Freedom! Students plunge into partying, many youngsters try to get fake IDs to go to a nightclub at last. Studying for a future career or earning one’s keep, sure. But also drinking strong stuff, having real hangovers, having sex; alas, many young people, especially girls, put themselves at risk. This very early stage, the first taste of independence, may play havoc with one’s whole life. The dangers are many and various. I won’t enumerate them for the simple reason that one can always open up the internet, make one click and get an avalanche of very sad bad news.
How does one know if one is really an adult? For me it means responsibility. This was instilled into me since my childhood by my parents. No, they never read us the riot act, nor were we ever grounded. There were no long tedious curtain lectures. It is a fact well-known to any sensible parent that if they start berating their insubordinate child, all kids and teens would simply close their eyes and ears, even if they do it only figuratively. Once each of us became old enough to go out in the evenings to a birthday party or any event, our parents would put forward a few simple rules which never changed. Tell us where you are going, leave a contact number, give us an approximate time of your coming back. If you are running late just call. If someone is seeing you (girl) back home, fine; if not, call Dad.
The sense of responsibility does not mean restrictions only. Remember that the one person you are responsible for if you are single is you. If you want to get drunk “as an adult”, think of the consequences, see if you wish to wake up next morning with a splitting headache and nausea. If you go a party where you don’t know many people, be aware of what may happen if you drink too much or leave your glass unattended. If sex at first glance seems fun, be sure you know how to extricate yourself from an unpleasant situation. And so on.
Are you seen as a killjoy if you don’t drink vodka or do not sleep with a guy/girl you just met and whose name you can’t even remember? No. When you follow your own principles and do not draw unwanted attention to them, if you behave in a matter-of-fact way, people will accept that and never bother you or make fun of the fact that you are the only sober person at a party, again. How do I know? Because I was the only girl in the Dorm who wouldn’t get drunk or go somewhere with a strange guy. I would carry my one light drink of the night, dance as well or as badly as everyone else, have fun and relax without any extraneous help. An old revered writer explained it to me once when I was very young. He said that some people do not need extra stimuli to feel good.