Thursday, January 28, 2010

Party exchange

We have to organise a little party for our boy's third birthday next month, which I'm quite looking forward to.



Essentially, I'm looking to entertain some little kids with games, exhausting them by making them run about like chickens in front of a car and filling them so full of food they become perfectly spherical and end the day resembling the following:

I hope he enjoys it. His tastes in parties will probably change over the coming decades, as mine have.

The first party I ever attended was . . . unmemorable.

Not the most reliable foundation for an anecdote that, but even if I have no recollection of it, I can deduce that it probably involved jelly, ice cream and a trough full of carbohydrates covered in sugar.

It being the seventies, there was probably a few gallons of blue pop on the go as well, which had the distinction of being blue flavoured as well as coloured. Also, possibly carcinogenic, but children born in the 70s are noted for their resistance to cancer inducing chemicals, so we probably don't need to worry about those buboes which are actually beauty lumps and a sign of character anyway.

Occasionally, we had fancy dress parties. I seem to remember that the costumes we wore were all hand made and, what's more, bloody great. My parents once crafted a roman centurion outfit for me, complete with magnificent silver helmet that was, if memory serves, an old painted rubber football cut to shape.

Continuing the theme of influential personae in British history and literature, my middle brother went as Robin Hood and was a positive symphony in Lincoln Green, and my youngest brother went as . . . well . . . a rabbit. But my parents had the foresight to sew his carrot to his paw so he wouldn't lose it, or barter it for a Wagon Wheel.

It's all in the details see.

Grown ups tend to cheat at fancy dress parties because we hire or buy the costumes, and when someone makes their own we're full of admiration. In a moment of genius, my friend, at a horror themed party, came as his own electricity bill, because that was something that scared him on a regular basis.

On the night before my ninth birthday I was so excited about all my friends coming to my house for some childish shenanigans that I practically wet my paisley PJs with anticipation. Nothing could hinder my birthday party. Nothing.

In the night however, the mumps fairy came to visit and I woke up with a neck wider than my waist.

These were the days before vaccinations for such things, so my Mum phoned up all our friends to tell them that our house had become a miserable pit of disease. Rather than keep their precious ones protected from the nasty virus, the poor little buggers were marched round to get infected and give me presents in return. I was glad about this because misery loves company and I felt like a trend setter.

Then, teen-hood arrived in a hormone-scented cyclone of insecurity and gaucheness. The party format changed to one where I would demonstrate that I didn't give a damn what other people thought about me, and was desperate for everyone to know this. I'd even roll the sleeves up on my light-grey genuine faux-leather jacket to indicate insouciance.


About as cool as a radiator on a 1984 Vaxhaull Cavalier after a trip to Benidorm.

As teenagehood progressed, the social ineptitude didn't completely go away, but at least I could now hold a conversation using words of more than one syllable, and my voice wouldn't start by being a deep grumble at the beginning of a sentence but end as a bat-frighteningly high tremor.

We also discovered mingling. Not with other people, because that would require the ability to talk coherently about someone else, a subject teenagers are notoriously unfamiliar with, but just mingling saliva from snogging. Sometimes you would snog for ages, especially if one of you caught your lip in your partner's brace.

Parties also began to involve booze. These were the days before kids had it easy with alcopops, and we were forced to down copious quantities of cheap cider with an alcohol content equivalent to rum flavoured truffles.

However, even these weak beverages sometimes worked, eventually getting us a bit drunk, and if you had enough you might get lucky and be allowed into the inner sanctum of a girl's top.

This was a mixed blessing for a boy from an almost all-male household because, whilst boobs were something you could quite happily think about all day, every day, once you managed to get your incompetent little donnies on some real ones you were at a bit of a loss about what to do next.

A bra clasp was a mystery. There was nothing on my clothes that did up like that, and I spent much time analysing the structure and function of the bra before making my move. If I'd have put as much mental effort into my A Levels I'd have been laughing.

There must have been a by-law which prevented girls giving you any clues about how to get their top off, and I presume this was some sort of social experiment like when evil zoologists give an octopus a screw top jar with a prawn* in it to see how clever and dedicated it is.

I persevered, much like a team of top government scientists would if they were trying to reverse-engineer the mechanics of an alien spaceship that had been buried in silt for a thousand years. Only instead of a faster-than-light drive or energy weapons, I was after nipples.

You can imagine the sense of accomplishment when the bra came off after just thirty or forty minutes of intense fumbling.

Then . . .

Well, what next? I hadn't covered this in sex education, as I had been too busy laughing at the cartoon drawings of genitals and trying not to be sick at the birth video. A source of information was my friend Jason's older brother, who reliably informed us that girls liked it if you flicked their nips and shouted "Yeah baby!" in a gruff voice.

Jason's brother may have been a virgin.

I was a tad dubious, even at that age.

I remember hearing a girl complain to her mates that a boy had treated her boobs like a radio set and she'd told him to "Bog off!". I averted my head so they couldn't see I'd gone bright red at the mention of such things and resolved that, should I ever be fortunate enough to be in such a position, I would never try to get the Top 40 on a girl's mammaries. Being told to bog off would be a fate worse than death.

So, as well as trying not to clash teeth more than a dozen times, a boy must treat a girl's jumper spuds with the respect they deserve. With this in mind, as well as the withering judgements that might be made if I was overly graspy, I settled for a gentle fondle, which was apparently the right thing to do because I wasn't told to bog off and got seconds a few days later.

I wish bras had come with an undo button back then mind.

Parties, and my taste in them, have changed and evolved over the years, although I'm not hard to please. I now like decent food and quality beverages, I like conversation with people I find interesting. Alcohol is an addendum to a party and not an essential part. I like the music to be like auditory wallpaper and not smacking me upside the head with bass-driven sound waves from a cheap amplifier. I like a spot of sophistication, maybe crackers with more than one type of cheese and eight Ferrero Rochers built in a pyramid.

I would really like someone to train hedgehogs to scuttle back and forth, their backs adorned with olives, cocktail sausages, and pieces of pineapple and cheese. Obviously, it'd have to be one hedgehog for each different type of foodstuff because mixing pineapple with olives is just unhygienic.

No doubt a younger me would find it all a bit tedious, but then a younger me wouldn't have been able to hold a decent discussion or, in fact, keep still for more than ten minutes.

I still like boobs though.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, please remember this is a residential area so be quiet on your way home.

*a prawn with nice breasts, presumably.


  1. You know, that first grope is every bit as awkward for the girl as it is for the guy.

    Happy early birthday to your little man. I'm getting ready to plan the kid's 5th and she's decided she wants a dress up/petting zoo party. On the moon. Wonderful.

  2. I can't imagine anything worse than downing cheap cider. I haven't yet and hopefully never will.

    30-40 minutes isn't bad for a novice.

  3. otherworldlyone - I'm sure it is, really. And that sounds like a great idea for a party. I might steal it and claim it as my own.

    Mo - good record. And thanks. I'm down to a cool 28 minutes now.

  4. My first experience with 'jumper spuds' as you poetically put them was on a school bus trip. The girl got impatient with just kissing and placed my hand where it was wanted.
    I'm convinced to this day I was the first.

  5. I amazingly deft at bra-unhooking. I could even do it one-handed. A bit like unsnapping your fingers, the maneuver. But, trust me, make sure your thumbnail has not been allowed to grow too long or chewed ragged. Nothing breaks the mood so much as a jagged gash between her shoulder blades. My nemesis was the tight jeans that were so fashionable (and delight to look at) at the time of my teens. Any intrusion into the area by an adult (like an irate father) would trap one's hand where it was. It is a bit difficult to run away from an outraged parent dragging a young woman by her waistband.

    I had better luck in my twenties when they would race to, uh, outstrip you.

  6. I think this is the best post of yours I've read. So much to like in this one I don't know where to start.

  7. How did talking about your sons birthday,end with me thinking about the first time I got felt up!?! I need a drink to rid myself of that memory. Thank you!

  8. I SO like kids parties...not!
    The yelling, the screaming, the fighting...and that was just to get me in the door..
    Very fine post, this one. 11 out of 10 mate.. (Aussies are allowed to award more than 10)

  9. Eric - A girl, who I have no doubt, went on to acheive great things.

    Douglas - lol. A man of many talents.

    MLS - Ta. Glad you liked it.

    thinkinfyou - Glad I could provide you with a reason to get blotto. You're welcome!

    Tempo - Thanks mate. A party's not complete without some screaming, somewhere along the line.

  10. Would really love to attend a party hosted by you, I think. You can't do wrong by me if there's crackers and cheese.

    Do you hate it too?
    "If you're going through Hell, keep going."

  11. Parties were never the same after the introduced digital radios. No experience of tweaking to help find the right frequency.

  12. Ah, teenage parties, either a gateway to manhood or suicidally ego-deflating. A schoolfriend (who was supposed sexually experienced) told me that having sex needed as much energy as 10 mile run, which, not being sporty, genuinely worried me at the time.

  13. Michael - You are obviously a chap of taste and discernment.

    Mdme DeF - And you can't give them a bit of a smack to get them going these days, either.

    Gadjo - Lol! At that age, you'd probably happily run 10 miles FOR sex.


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