What It's Like to Party When You Have One Arm

Until I realized my disability could become an edgy accessory, I spent college dodging frat guys mesmerized by the fact that I was born without a left arm below the elbow.

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Apr 19 2017, 5:00am

This article was originally published on VICE Australia.

The first thing I learned at college was that you need two hands to operate a keg. I only have one; I was born missing my left arm just below the elbow. You might think that adolescence was hell for someone like me, but once my classmates knew who I was and that I had one hand, they barely teased me about it. It wasn't until I started partying that people made comments about my disability.

It's complicated being someone that likes attention, dressing up, and talking to strangers but is also made uncomfortable by those same things. I was always aware that I was different; even beyond my disability, I have a pretty distinct style. (Today, I always dress in black and top off my outfits with a choker and thigh-high boots.) But I wasn't profoundly aware that other people saw me that way until I got to college. Leave it to drunk people to say whatever they think.

I attended my first Hofstra University frat party with my suitemates, Karina and Alexa. Upon meeting me, they didn't say anything about my arm, presumably because they had already figured it out from Facebook. On the first night of Welcome Week, I was putting in my earphones and getting ready to watch Sex and the City reruns when they burst into my room and shoved a beer in my hand. I didn't have a choice: I was going out. I got decked out in 2011's best—ripped jeans, Uggs, a stretchy nylon tank top, a rhinestone choker that said "kiss," and a trucker hat that said "Just Be A Queen." To say that I was shy and didn't like being looked at would be a lie. I was excited—until I saw the keg. I would have to pump, pour, and hold my red Solo Cup at the same time. I could have scooped my cup into the huge tub of jungle juice, but I was warned not to.

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