Partying My Way Through My 20s

I’m at a party in Washington Heights for a girl’s birthday party whom I barely know. She’s in my Intermediate Fiction class and likes to write stories about suicidal girls and natural disasters. The party is hectic and I don’t really know anyone so I drink whisky very fast. At one point, I go to the bathroom and fall backwards into the bathtub, where I lay for two minutes because I’m too drunk to get up. Around 5 a.m., I take the subway back downtown with the birthday girl and listen to her recite poetry to me from her personal diary. By the time we hit 14th street, I think I hate her guts.

I’m at a party in Hollywood somewhere at someone’s dilapidated apartment. The boys here have long hair and wear eyeliner and I really just can’t believe people like this still exist. I run into a few people from my hometown randomly and talk awkwardly with them about WHAT A SMALL WORLD IT IS THAT WE RUN INTO EACH OTHER AT SOME NEW YORK DOLLS WANNABE’S APARTMENT IN HOLLYWOOD. I then run to the bathroom to take two pills and come out feeling like a new, high person.

I’m at my 23rd birthday party, which I’ve decided to throw at my studio apartment in the East Village. After not drinking all summer (I honestly forgot to), my tolerance for any booze is non-existent but I take shots of whisky anyway. As per usual, my friends show up fashionably late in a large group and at that point, I’m already slumped over in a corner hating my life. I start puking around midnight in a giant pot on my bed, while everyone around me continues to dance. All the while, I’m earnestly thinking, “Nobody likes you when you’re 23.”

I’m at a New Year’s Eve party in Westwood with all the kids I grew up with, all of the people who knew me with skinned knees and mismatched shoes. It’s making me feel so content being with all of them again and I know, deep down, that this will never happen again. I was right, of course.

I’m at a party in Pacific Heights with a giant group of people — some of whom I like and some of whom I don’t. It’s in a mansion and I’m shocked by the sheer scale of the house. Who did it belong to? How did my friend know about this? I’m 20 years old and there is an open bar so that means I’m blotto in 2.5 seconds. I’m drinking like it’s all going to be taken away from me, which it probably was, and I get to a point in my drunkenness where I start to feel close to everyone I’m with, like I’m on coke or something, even though I’m not. That night was fun, that night ended well. Or maybe it was terrible and I was too drunk to notice? Either way, the night will always hold significance for me because three days later I was hit by a car and everything changed. There were no more parties for me for a long time, unless you count crying in your bed alone as a party — which I guess some people do.

I’m at my first party EVER. (You know, with drugs and alcohol.) It’s at a girl named Rashonda’s house and everyone is getting high and drunk in her backyard. I take two sips of vodka — my first ever taste of hard alcohol — and pretend that I’m wasted. Meanwhile, my best friend, who claimed she was straightedge, gets offered a pot brownie and eats it immediately. So much for peer pressure.

I’m throwing my first party ever, since my mom is going out of town. People end up tracking mud into my house and a girl in a pink wig passes out on my bed. Another girl locks herself in my bathroom and has delusions that she’s on a battlefield in World War II.

I’m at a party in Downtown Los Angeles. It’s a rave or something. As I’m getting ready to leave, a boy grabs my arm and starts making out with me. Before I even get a chance to look at his face, I kiss him back. We end up making out against a fence and I have a feeling that he’s gross but I don’t care because it’s summer. Afterwards, he asks me to go back with him to his house in Van Nuys and I’m like, “No.’ I find out that his name is Pedro and I spend the next four months ignoring his text messages.

I’m at a book launch party and Susan Sarandon shows up carrying two small dogs in her arms. Everyone pretends this is normal because she is Susan Sarandon.

I’m at a website launch party and Courtney Love is five feet away from me talking to Michael Stipe. She’s smoking furiously and looks surprisingly chic.

I’m in the bathroom of a party watching someone shotgun a beer and that’s when I think, perhaps for the first time, that I’m getting too old for these types of parties and that it might be time for me to go home. TC Mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


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  • Only L<3Ve @

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  • Alli

    We get it…you party. Anything new?

    • Ryan O'Connell

      What? No, there’s nothing new!

      • meg

        Love ya Ryry, keep doing you! don’t drink the haterade

  • LeahF

    Sounds like you aren’t very good at partying. I can see why you may have gotten sick of it.

  • Alexandra Thompson

    I like your writing style quite a bit, but I agree that this post is a little self-masturbatory. I’ll check out some of your other stuff. Thanks for the piece!

  • annamarum

    They say we millennials are totally self-absorbed and all we think/write about is ourselves. Which is exactly what this post does. But it also tackles the subject of suddenly not enjoying the things we used to. Have you ever tried to go back and read/watch your favorite childhood book/show? You just can’t enjoy it, and it sucks. Sure, this is pretty self-masturbatory, but people can relate. Isn’t that kind of the point of all of talking/blogging/Facebooking/Tweeting? Or at least one of the points? It’s like, hey, he’s going through what I’m going through. Hey, I don’t really know him, but I feel connected to him. Maybe I’m not as crazy as I thought I was. Hooray for feeling connected and a little more sane through self-absorbed posts!

    • C

      The term “self-masturbatory” is the most absurd thing ever. Isn’t that what masturbatory implies anyway?? Not a comment on you or your use of the word, more just that gen y or whoever came up with that to describe millennials. My question is this, why do old people complain so much about us complaining? Isn’t that a bit self-masturbatory in and of itself?

  • Evan (@mercuti0)

    @BretEastonEllis asked me to ask you about the coke and have you seen it or whatever cause Sarah is taking off and putting on her coat like every 4 minutes because she’s “too skinny” she mouths and then the “new” Kanye comes on and there is a moment where everyone at the table concentrates on what this might mean but the beat starts and lines form and pretty soon it’s 3:43 with a text from Sarah “taquitooosss” so we stumble out and tip the bouncer and it’s only 50 paces to the intersection where in the summer we stopped traffic with a flip flop–we only have a minute to get home until we’re completely lost so let’s hail another cab and wake up the next morning in a queen-sized bed overlooking The Park next to a well-read copy of Wes Anderson’s shooting script for “The Royal Tenenbaums. So like get back to me thanks.

    • BROBA

      Everything’s derivative now Patrick.

    • siobot

      I think I love you but maybe it’s just because I’ve had a glass of wine with half a Xanax and you know how wine tends to creep up and maybe I just haven’t taken Xanax in while but either way I think it’s alright and you’ve said what you needed to say and I love you or maybe I “love you” or maybe I just like you, but that’s how it is sometimes, especially in summer in L.A.

  • Gleidis

    Don’t get why people have to over analyze everything. I like this post as pretty much everything you write. Well done Ryan.

  • Brandon Humphries

    I’ve never even been close to a party like any of these. I’ve also never been blackout drunk before so maybe that has something to do with it. Guess I’m just too boring for this particular brand of fun.

  • wwi2thec

    God, the Westwood one made me almost tear up a bit. I’ve definitely been there. Thank you for that.

  • tres keys (@tr_sk_ys)

    I don’t understand why you only respond to either stupid or mean comment/tweets??

    • gary

      because he obviously likes attention. why else would he write every thought that comes to mind on the internet

  • Melanie

    Don’t get me wrong, I went to college in WI and we partied like champs – but our parties were pretty much $2.50 pitchers of Miller Lite that we drank until we blacked out and escorted our friends home. I think I would die if I went to one of your parties. Also, is self-masturbatory really a thing? I’ve never heard of it, but then again i’m not very up and up on these sorts of things. Either way, amusing article for an otherwise very boring afternoon at work.

  • RKS

    I’m honored to be your first party host AND the first WW2 solider in your bathroom!

  • AM

    you call that partying…? ;)

  • Veronica

    I really liked the style of this one. Nicely done :)

  • 7 Parties Of My 20s | A Near-Life Experience

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  • Bar Havoc

    beautifully written. honest. this is a lot of us, especially the writers.

  • gary

    No. One. Cares.

  • deirdre

    ugh you’re awesome

  • Erin

    I needed to read this tonight. My life the past 3 years has been this, exactly. Self-destructive, ridiculous, sometimes fucking amazing, parties. Good article for me and my friends.

  • myburningthoughts

    This read like a Brett Easton Ellis novel. This is all I aspire to.

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