I stand in the long line outside the Platinum Club in Northwest. I lean against the wall -- oozing sexuality, or so I hope. Then I notice that the rhinestones on my silver heels are sparkling too much. My shoes and matching corset top suddenly don't look as stylish as I had thought they would.

I reach the front of the line, and the bouncer asks me for my ID. I pull it out and inhale deeply. It's real, but I'm still nervous he will question me. He doesn't, and instead draws large black X's on my hands and says, "You cannot possess alcohol inside or you will be thrown out." I'm just thrilled to get in.

I am an 18-year-old woman, on the brink of college. I no longer have a midnight curfew on my license, I am old enough to fight in a war -- even if it has not been declared by Congress -- and I can buy cigarettes, if I so choose. I feel on top of the world.

That is, until I find myself aimlessly wandering around the Platinum Club in my too-high heels, then heading to the bathroom again with my three friends to avoid just standing around. When we return, four guys approach us to dance. Midway through the second song, I become aware that my partner is probably in his thirties. He offers to buy us drinks. We tell him maybe, and then we duck into the restroom to get away. Eighteen doesn't seem so old anymore.

Regina Lee, Chevy Chase

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