“Lila, you should really write a story about your 19th birthday. I can’t believe you haven’t blogged about it yet!” Hadas said on the phone last night as I was simultaneously painting my nails and watching Jersey Shore.
“Don’t remember it. What happened.”
Thank you for keeping me young, Hadas WV.
The sad part is, I’m still 19. This was less than a year ago. But fortunately for you all I have no shame and am more than happy to share my embarrassments. Let’s go.
Before my 19th birthday even occurred, we made the mistake of planning to have it at Cairo Nights, the dirtiest hookah bar in San Francisco. Owned by the sleaziest 30-year-old Egyptian man I know (sadly, I know a lot of them), this hole in a wall has as many health code violations as an Indian sewage brothel. But, as long as you were old enough to have boobs, Khaled didn’t care how old you were and was more than happy to let anyone in. This was the appeal to Cairo- it was a place where kids could get drunk and do drugs under a dry roof without getting arrested. As you can imagine, it was especially popular during the rainy season.
Cairo Nights has a big reputation in the Bay Area, but is mainly known for hookah coals falling on people and leaving burn marks as well as16-year-olds losing their virginity in the bathroom. As you may suspect, this gem of a hellhole is my idea of a good time.
Luckily, my high school friends are just as pathetic as I am and also love Cairo. I feel fortunate for this. If I had friends who had standards and minded the risk of getting diseases from sitting in the chairs in this place, we’d have problems.
Of course when entering Cairo, Khaled greeted me with a hug and kiss as I proceeded to take pulls of Skyy directly from the handle and dance to Ke$ha’s all too brilliant song “Blow”. Best day ever.
“Lilaaaa! Welcome to Cairo, baby! Happy birthday! How old are you now, 15, 16? Looking sexier and sexier every day, baby!” Khaled yelled at me with his thick Arabic accent.
“That’s creepy, Khaled. I’m 19. Do you have a shot glass I can borrow?”
“Of course, baby. Keep that bottle away from the window though, yes? We don’t want the police to come and shut me down now, do we?”
“Questionable. On the one hand, it would save a lot of lives and keep you and your Arab friends from making out with 13-year-olds. On the other hand, my main source of entertainment would be gone. So no, I wouldn’t want that happening.”
“Lila baby, I can’t hear you. Can you repeat that?” Khaled yelled through the loud music.
I proceeded to drink heavily as the night continued, and couldn’t have been having a better time. Jake had finally agreed to leave his house for once and actually came to San Francisco for this, which was as rare of an occasion as Chelsea Handler getting through a sentence without using the word Caslopus in reference to her own vagina. Again, best day ever. He and about 10 of my friends from my old high school had shown up for this, and were all having a great time drinking, dancing, and gagging from watching Khaled grab the asses of 8th graders.
Some of us stepped outside to get some air when I was approached by a guy who seemed to be a straight-off-the-boat Russian, which I am always skeptical of (read my story, Russians and Other Funny People). “Hey cutie,” he said with a suspiciously non-existent Russian accent, “I’m looking to get at you tonight.”
“…the fuck?” I said to him, standing there trying to figure out if this kid had Asbergers and/or if I had hooked up with him before. Without either of those two explanations to justify his comment, he needed to get out of my life immediately. “Do I know you? And where is your accent?”
“Don’t think so,” he said as he got closer to me, “but I’m down for some Snooki tonight. And what do you mean, accent? Why would you think I’d have an accent?”
“First answer: not happening. Second answer: you look like a Russian terrorist, if those exist.”
“…uh, okay. Whatever you want me to be, babe.”
I went back inside and quickly forgot this interaction as I continued drinking heavily and started getting grab-assy with the stranger sitting at the table next to me. A few hours later when I was drunk enough to say “Khaled, you’re looking gooood tonight!,” (never a good sign) Lacy and John showed up, my two favorite and only friends from the cow town of Novato. “HAPPY FUCKING BIRTHDAY, BITCH!” Lacy screamed at me in the Cairo doorway as she ran in and gave me a hug. “YOU LOOK LIKE A SLUT!”
“Thank you!” I replied. “I’M SO GLAD YOU GUYS ARE HERE!” They sat down at our table as I started chatting up this guy who looked suspiciously familiar, but was too intoxicated to question myself. I’ve found it to be true that trusting my instincts when blacked out is always a guarantee for making new friends and/or a complete disaster. This often leads to personal amusement and always embarrassment on someone’s part. At the rate I’m going with my alcoholic tendencies, this is a risk I’m willing to take.
Before I knew it, I had somehow made it onto his lap and we were talking about school and our futures. “You’re cute!” I informed him. In alcohol-influenced Cairo-attending people lingo, that means “let’s get it on.” And so we did, for the whole Cairo community to see. Not that we were unique in our sloppy drunken make out session- this is the standard expectation for a Cairo attendee. Still, my friends could not have been more entertained by this tragedy of a scene.
“HAHAHAHHA LILA!!!!” Hadas yelled at me across the room as she and Hadas WV laughed hysterically. “THAT’S THE GUY WHO CALLED YOU SNOOKI EARLIER!!”
“HAHAHAH! YEAH! YOU’RE SUCH A SLUT!” Lacy chimed in.
Of course, this didn’t phase me. Yes, it did turn out to be the same suspiciously Russian looking man from earlier to bluntly informed me that he had planned to “get with me” later that night, but of course, it was too late now. There was no turning back. I am many things, my friends, but I am not a quitter.
We continued to make out until the majority of Cairo attendees had gotten in their grinding and coke-doing for the night and decided to head home. My friends and the Russian’s friends were the only ones left and were bonding over us embarrassing ourselves. I didn’t care. I was wearing my favorite black dress, it was my birthday, and I was on top of a stranger whose ethnicity I was pondering in my head the entire time. I couldn’t have felt more fulfilled.
I spontaneously got up off his lap and left him when deciding to stop neglecting my friends who had agreed to come to this health hazard of a business for me. “HEY GUYS!” I greeted them as I returned to our table.
“HAHAH LILA, I LOVE YOU. I can’t believe you just made out with that foreign-looking person in front of all of Cairo,” Lacy commented.
“Whatever,” I slurred back. “Over it.”
Shortly after, my new Russian friend came over to our table and started talking to Hadas, Amy, Lacy and some others, while I was allegedly drunk texting my seventh grade boyfriend telling him I think it’d be great if we got back together.
“So guys,” New Russian Friend said to them, “What do you all think of getting a hotel room? I’m really interested in your friend. Let’s turn this into a hotel party!”
A moment of silence followed this comment when Hadas WV laughed in his face. “HAAHAHH!!! What the fuck!!? Are you serious? Why would we want to get a hotel with you?”
“Hadas, You’re so rude! Don’t laugh in his face!” Lacy said to her. “Actually, though,” she turned to him, “what the fuck? Who are you? You’re SO sketch!!!”
“Uhhh, okay, never mind then,” he said. “Lila (apparently he’d discovered my name over the past three hours), would you want to come home with me tonight?”
“No thank you.”
“Um, okay…can I at least get your number?”
“Better question. Are you a Russian?”
Armenian New Friend left and we said goodbye to our friends who were still suffering through this night. Amy, Hadas, Lacy, John and I left and got in Lacy’s car, deciding to go for a relaxing evening drive through the Tenderloin on a Saturday night. In case you’re not from the Bay Area, the Tenderloin is the red light/homeless/drug dealing district of San Francisco. This may be a surprise to you all, but this is where Cairo Nights is located.
We collectively decided to go on a prostitute hunt, because that is who my friends are. Of course, we immediately spotted one in a red dress on the corner of an ally way, and watched as she climbed into the front seat of a janky gangster car that looked straight out of a Snoop video. We all immediately got excited, because we were seeing a scene straight out of a B.E.T movie, but in real life. “LET’S CHASE DAT BITCH!” John said in the most black girl ghetto accent he could acquire.
Lacy immediately stepped on it and started following the car down the street. This was when Lacy and John decided this was the perfect opportunity for some improv and wanted to create a dialogue between the hooker and the pimp, Lacy being the pimp and John being the whore, of course.
“YO BITCH, SUCK MY DICK. I’M LOOKIN FOR SOME ROADDDD DOME, BITCH.” Lacy began in the best pimp voice she could come up with. Surprisingly, it was quite accurate.
“You know I do it, baby! I do it goooooood!” John replied in his high-pitched black prostitute voice, which was also impressive. When he said this, the prostitute in the car ahead of us turned around and looked at our car. “OH SHIT, YOU THINK THOSE JEWISH WHITE KIDS FOLLOWING US ARE UNDER COVER COPS???”
“BITCH, I don’t give a SHIT. SUCK. MA. DICK.”
“OKAY, BABY, OKAY.”
This went on for approximately 15 minutes until the pimp car in front of us was actually suspicious and quickly cut through an alley way to get rid of us. At this point I was nearly peeing in my pants of laughter, but quickly moved on when someone suggested we go to a strip club. It’s a possibility that it was me who brought up the strip club idea, but based on everyone’s agreed excitement, this part of the story is irrelevant.
Apparently strip clubs close earlier than we thought, and were all closing when we showed up. When the bouncer wouldn’t let us in, I felt the need to explain to him, “BUT IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. I’M A BLAST IN A GLASS. LET ME INTO THIS PLACE.”
“Happy birthday, but we’re closing down for the night. All the dancers are going home. Come back tomorrow.”
“I understand,” I said calmly. “Strippers need to sleep too, I bet.”
“LOOK GUYS!” Hadas yelled as she stepped out of the doorway of the strip club. “ONE OF THE STRIPPERS GAVE ME A SANTA HAT!!!!!! I’M SO HAPPY!!!” she yelled as she started to whimper with joy.
“Please, Hadas, no crying tonight.”
Lacy then drove us back to my car, where Hadas agreed to drive as the soberest one there. We parted ways with Lacy and John and started heading to Amy’s when I came up with my 2nd best suggestion of the night: “LET’S GO TO CJHS!!!!”
Our old high school, Community Jewish High School, is also in a winning neighborhood of San Francisco. It’s right in the middle of the Western Addition, an area full of gangs and crack addicts. Oh yeah, and about 100 white awkward Jewish kids.
Naturally, we all agreed it was a great idea to stop there and get out of the car at 3 in the morning, because it wasn’t like we could get shot or anything. We had a ten-minute photo shoot outside the building, and then collectively decided that we’d rather not get gang raped, and Amy’s house had cookies. We decided to go there.
We fell asleep immediately, and for some reason, I sort of forgot about that night. Embarrassing as it was, it was an all too typical weekend in my belligerent life. But thank you, Hadas WV, for constantly reminding me of these times that deserve to be remembered, and Baruch Hashem, I hope there will be more to come soon.