I recently travelled to New York City to celebrate my oldest son’s 21st birthday. Now, I know some of you might be thinking that turning 21 in Canada isn’t quite the same, considering the drinking age is 19 in most provinces. Nevertheless, this milestone isn’t just about consuming copious amounts of alcohol—well, maybe just a tad. Turning 21 represents a significant moment, signifying one’s entry into adulthood and commemorating the transition to a new phase of life. It provided a wonderful opportunity (or excuse) for my son and me to spend four days together, and New York City was the perfect backdrop.
We decided to forgo the steep $900 price tag of Hamilton tickets. Instead, we opted to let our days unfold spontaneously. My son, a fashion enthusiast, had his heart set on exploring the latest niche stores, and I couldn’t have been more thrilled to join him. Like mother, like son, right?
We indulged in shopping sprees and savoured culinary delights throughout the city, punctuating our adventures with a few cocktails along the way. Since it was a birthday celebration, I wanted to treat ourselves to a special dinner out, so we dined at BouludSud, a New York classic. It was the best!
Twenty-one suits him perfectly. I cherished our numerous conversations, his perspectives on life, love, and the future, his genuine enthusiasm, and his honesty. It’s astonishing to see how much he’s grown up…
I can recall my 21st birthday as if it happened yesterday. Even though I was actually bound for London, embarking on my first journey to Europe. I had no clue what to anticipate, just a medley of movie scenes playing in my mind. Within an hour of landing, I found myself enjoying my first gin and tonic at a small bar near Victoria Station – and let me tell you, it was tasty!
I was undeniably like a deer caught in the headlights, with my eyes and senses absorbing every facet of this new world. Everything appeared so foreign to me: the architecture, the Royal Palace, the cathedrals, the cozy pubs, and the bustling crowds. Yet, I loved every single moment of it, and I couldn’t get enough!
I marked my 21st birthday in grand style when my friends treated me to a night at the “Hippodrome,” a place that once rivalled the legendary Studio 54. Getting into this iconic disco wasn’t just a matter of walking in. You had to pass a discerning inspection before gaining entry. Stepping inside, I was immediately struck by its immense size. Built in the early 1900s, this disco had the capacity to accommodate up to 2,000 partygoers.
As I roamed around the club, I tried not to openly gawk at the intriguing characters I encountered. My search eventually led me to the restroom. I was slightly bewildered by the mix of men and women milling about. I couldn’t help but wonder if I had stumbled into the wrong place. Little did I know at the time that this would be my first encounter with an openly gay crowd. I’m pretty sure my jaw remained agape throughout the entire experience. It was a moment when the big city transformed my perspective.
I distinctly remember admiring a striking, dark-haired individual passing by in a strapless dress. Initially, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what seemed different about the scene. Until it hit me – it was a man in a strapless dress, the hem stopping just below the nipples. I realized how incredibly naive I had been up until that point…
Whether you’re twenty-one or fifty, every year is a milestone; just to be healthy, happy and alive is celebration enough. I loved being twenty-one, but I wouldn’t trade my 53-year-old self for anything. The memories of my trip to London will always be close to my heart. My New York trip with my twenty-one-year-old son was priceless!