Teen Thursday: It's My Party, I Can Blog If I Want To

Okay, I wouldn't have called myself a party girl in high school, but I'd say I went to my fair share. The first one I remember attending was after Freshman year Homecoming, when our group headed out to our friend Witte's farm once we'd gotten tired of the dance itself. The night involved chilling out in his barn, running up and down the skateboarding ramp there in our formal wear, and I even rode his donkey in my Homecoming dress. (No, that is not a euphemism, and yes, I was 100% sober.)

For me, high school parties varied based on which group of friends I was hanging with at the time. Some parties involved nothing other than sitting around in someone's basement, playing video games and watching movies and eating processed snack foods.

Others were... a little different. One time, my best friend and I smuggled a fifth of vodka into our friend's sweet sixteen party, where we sat alone in a back room trading it back and forth. By the end of the night I was drunk for the first time in my life and she was near the point of passing out. Things took a turn for the worse when instead of my older sister and her boyfriend picking us up as originally planned, my mother showed up out of the blue. And despite my brilliant idea to disguise my inebriated state by throwing a coat over my face, she knew exactly what was going on the moment she laid eyes on me. I got in major trouble for that one.

By the time I was a junior in high school, most of my friends were college-aged, and in turn I transitioned to going to older parties rather than ones thrown by my peers. I'd sneak out in the middle of the night or lie to my mom about where I was going, which was usually the anarchist bookstore that became party central after hours. We'd listen to music and have political debates and drink cheap boxed wine and play games of spin-the-bottle, and in the morning I'd wake up on the floor with some crusty punk's combat boot about to kick me in the face as they were leaving.

I never went to my senior prom (and, personally, I don't regret it), but I did go to a "mock" prom set up by my older friends the same year-- you can see me in the picture, back row middle, next to the girl with short black hair. Everyone got dressed up and it was pretty close to a real prom experience, except we only had to hang out with people we liked and got to listen to music we loved instead of enduring some awful school-hired DJ's set list. It was a blast.

But even throughout all that, I still had friends who had parties that were completely different. As a senior I went to a joint birthday party that was a scavenger hunt, where we split into groups and drove all over town trying to collect random, ridiculous items off a list; another cinephile friend of mine would have weekly movie screenings of obscure David Lynch and Fellini films, where people would watch and then discuss afterward. None of that was the booze-and-drug-fueled happenings so often portrayed in teen films or books. Almost all of my exposure to any of that during my teen years came from hanging with an older crowd. Which isn't to say that didn't happen in my own age group-- I'm sure it did, I just wasn't hanging with the right kids. (Actually, I was definitely hanging with the right kids. My high school friends were awesome.)

So, what are/were the parties during your high school years like? Any funny/crazy stories you want to share? And are there any YA books you felt represented your own experiences?


Lisa Schroeder said...

I love that picture!

Where I lived, people would have parties out in the country. Kegs of beer, people standing around talking, then someone would crank up the music from a car radio. Whenever someone tried to have one in a house, it seemed like it always turned into a disaster. Country kids didn't know how to be civilized, or something.

Meg said...

It sounds like the parties you went to were fun!
Mostly, the parties I went to involved too many people I didn't know (and/or didn't like) & too many illegal substances I should have stayed away from!
I guess I was hanging out with the right kids who turned out to be the wrong kids & whom I hope my daughter stays away from.
I like your memories better...I think I'll pretend their mine for awhile ;)

Jennifer Hoffine said...

I hung out with the theatre crowd in high school. Actually, the theatre crowd from two schools sort of combined because some of us did community summer theatre.

We had great parties also, including those discussions you mentioned, movies and a scavenger hunt that led to a few stolen street signs, a goat taken from the city's petting zoo and the cops looking for us (oh-no). Now, I'm not saying no illegal substances were involved, but it was fine if you didn't want to participate (no peer pressure).

So, I also had great people to hang out with in high school, and almost all of them were my age or younger.

Melissa Walker said...

I really felt like the party scenes in BEFORE I FALL were true to life. Though I only went to a few "high school parties" b/c I was mostly a really good girl back then!

Sara said...

I remember lots of keggers out at the lake - I wonder how everybody got home safely. Perhaps they all had designated drivers! Parties at my school were very word-of-mouth, which made it stressful because you never knew if you were really invited or should just show up. Lots of social angst was expended over stuff like that!

beedeecee said...

i also agree that the party scenes in BEFORE I FALL were true to my high school experience. i didn't "party" until my senior year, but plenty of my close friends had been doing so since junior high.

Denise Jaden said...

I didn't go to many high school parties, but my family camped a lot, and most weekends I ended up partying with a regular group of friends at the far end (away from my parents) of the campground. Ahhh, such memories!

sarahockler.com said...

The party memory that stands out most for me is the ONE and ONLY time my parents actually went out of town overnight and left me home with my BFF. We had a small party of about 12 close friends, during which someone apparently prank called 9-1-1 (NOT COOL, PEOPLE) and hung up. The dispatcher called back, because they have to, and someone passed me the cordless. I didn't believe it was actually 911 dispatch -- I thought it was my friend Matt, who was way late and supposed to bring more beer.

So when the guy on the phone said, "what is the nature of your emergency, ma'am?" I slurred, "Dude, hell yeah there's an emergency! We're almost out of beer!" Well, once I figured out it really was 911 dispatch, I sobered up QUICK. I tried to pretend I was my mom, then I told them it was my brother who called (but he was only 8 at the time), then he wasn't really my brother but a good friend who was like a brother, what a mess! They said they'd be sending a squad car up to investigate. We cleaned that place up so fast... but they never showed. They were probably all laughing at us back in the station.

A lot of other stuff happened, but cut to the next day, when my parents totally busted me on account of how clean the house was (I never would've cleaned it unprovoked - STUPID!), my dad asked me if there was a fight the night before b/c one of the pool cues was broken. Only I didn't know about the broken cue, and I was so dumb that I actually said, "Oh, are you talking about the 911 call?"

Yeah. Cue raised eyebrows, throbbing temple vein, bulging eyes. "Excuse me?"

Things went downhill fast after that. Needless to say I spent that entire summer grounded. I did become a kick-ass pool player, though, since that's all I could do at home!

Mindi Scott said...

Ha, Hannah! I love that you put a coat over your face, thinking that would fool your mom!

Most of the parties I went to in high school were just a dozen or so people sitting around, playing cards, and/or watching movies. Sometimes there was Spin the Bottle or Truth or Dare (yes, really!), but I stayed away from all that. Back then, I could think of nothing more humiliating than playing those games.

My senior year, I did go to a few public school parties. They were just like the private school parties except with smoking and binge drinking added into the mix!

I remember once that someone arrived at a party and knocked on the door yelling, "This is the police! Open up! We have a report that there are minors in possession in there!"

Everyone was cracking up and told me to go hide upstairs. Instead, I laid down the couch, waiting for my punishment to come. Then I threw up and a boy kissed me in a non-creepy way. (Yes, in that order.)

kristen tracy said...

What does it say about me that my party years don't leap out at me? I grew up in a town of 800 near Yellowstone Park. If there were crazy-wild or crazy-dull or crazy-average parties happening, they were taking place in barns and basements and spud cellars and bomb shelters that were undisclosed to me. But that's cool. I had college on my mind. I wanted to move to Los Angeles. And a did! All because of my non-partying G.P.A. (I actually have been to a party in a bomb shelter. But that happened in grad school.)

Emily Wing Smith said...

I remember having a party in high school and my eight-year-old sister came in saying, "I hate to interrupt your 'party,' but..."

I no longer remember why she interrupted, but the finger quotes around party--yeah. Sad.

Parties were tame at my high school for most of us, not just me!

Midnight Bloom said...

I didn't go to a single high school party... not even the prom after-party which pretty much our entire grade was invited to. Our graduating class had maybe a hundred or so people but my really close friends and myself didn't go. A few of them had their own little party since none of us are drinkers and the 'main' party would have, but I guess I still didn't really want to go. I'm sure there were parties throughout the year, but I never hung out with those people so I wasn't exactly invited.

Did I feel left out? No. There's no point going to a party where you don't like the crowd. I guess I'm not much of a partier too, lol. I definitely still prefer a quiet night with some good friends watching movies and eating way too much pizza and candy. :)

Tracey J said...

I never attended parties in high school either and truthfully I don't feel like I missed out on much. The people who attended lots of parties at my school were considered "popular." And I guess that just wasn't me. I'd rather stay at home and I still do.

Micol Ostow said...

I went to a very small religious school and though there were some classes that were notorious partiers, mine was not one of them! We were very tame. I tried to make up for it in college but I'm not really a wild child at heart...

Sarah Darer Littman said...

I went to high school in the daze before programs like DARE. So there were illicit substances and lots of what I'm sure we thought was extremely deep and intellectual conversation. I wish I had a tape recording of it, although I'm sure it would probably make me cringe, like when my friend read my "deep, intellectual and angsty" poetry from our high school lit journal aloud at dinner after our recent reunion. OMG. I wanted to crawl under the table.

Shari Green said...

I remember parties fueled by way too much beer, but (fortunately) no drugs. And the funny/crazy stories are best left in the past... or, you know, put into my novels. ;)

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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