It was 1994 and I turned twenty-one in June that year. I was working at Red Lobster, which my co-workers affectionately called the Red Dumpster. For my twenty-first birthday, the girls I worked with promised to rock my world with a wild birthday celebration. They teased me for weeks about how my birthday present would have batteries and in my naivety, I was horrified and curious.
Angie and Sally, two sisters that I worked with were several years older than me, far less naive, far more wild, and much more cool. Angie arranged for a road trip from San Diego to Hollywood. There was six of us girls and the plan was to spend my first night of my twenty-first year at a high end club, frequented by celebrities. It was the early nineties and Cher had recently split up with her 22 year old boy toy, bagel boy Rob Camilletti. He was working as a bartender at the same club we were going to.
We checked into the expensive, yet rundown Hollywood hotel and got ready for the big night out. The club/bar did not disappoint. I do not know how Angie got us in or how much it cost to get in, however as a poor college student, I appreciated the opportunity and I walked into my first club with wide-eyed wonder.
As promised, the bagel boy was tending bar and one of the girls suggested I select a name for the night. Without much hesitation, I selected Molly. I still do not know why it was suggested to change my name, yet it was fun to be in this exotic atmosphere and to be someone else. Knowing the girls, it is quite possible they were messing with me. Nevertheless, my altered ego for my twenty-first birthday night was Molly.
I never ordered a single drink that night, yet consumed more than I should have. While standing at the bar, my lovely friends would tell any man that came near that my name was Molly and it was my twenty-first birthday, which was followed by another round of drinks in honor of MOLLY. One such fast talking club patron was thrilled to buy me a drink. He introduced himself as Ice and proceeded to sing “Happy Birthday, Dear Molly.” He put his arm around me and was genuinely excited about my birthday—perhaps, even more so than I was!
I did not know who the heck he was, this Ice person. I kept asking the girls, “Who is that creep and why does he keep bothering me.” Uncomfortable in my own skin, the attention this stranger was showering on me was far beyond my comfort zone. Years later, it has become very clear to me who ICE FREAKING T is. Naive. I was. He was nice and generous. Oh, yes, and he loved to sing.
The night wore on and my level of intoxication grew. I do not remember all the people I met or the friends I made. By the end of the night, I was begging for the shots to stop. I wandered off by myself as the night wore on. Unable to maintain my composure from the continuous shots, I needed to get away. Exciting night? Yes? Overwhelmed? Yes, yes! Oh youth!
I eventually went outside to get some air. The girls found me sitting on the sidewalk and we bid our goodbyes to the celebrity club. The cab back to the hotel became very interesting when I rolled down the window and threw up on the side of the cab most of the ride home. After a breakfast of 7-11 nachos the following morning, I puked my guts out most of the way down Interstate 5 between Los Angeles and San Diego.
Nearly 18 years ago, I am in contact with most of my girlfriends from Red Lobster. Memories are made in the most unexpected places but some of the friendships last a lifetime. Each time I sit down to watch my guilty pleasure television, I cannot help smiling when Ice and Coco do their thing and remembering back to the first time I got intoxicated in a club with a rap star I did not know.