Last month, I went to my 20-year high school reunion, and at first, there seemed to be no point in even having a reunion since we are all on Facebook and more or less know what everyone has been doing. But we went ahead and planned one anyway, because at the very least, it was a great excuse to go out and have some fun. Much to my surprise, not only did I have a lot of fun, but I also walked away learning a lot of things about myself and everyone else who went to the reunion.
Here are 12 surprising things I learned after attending my 20-year high school reunion:
1. I have forgotten how to do my hair. I’m a work-at-home mom, which means 90 percent of the time I’m in comfy shorts and T-shirts and my hair is just something I occasionally pull at when my 5-year-old won’t stop talking long enough to brush her teeth properly. Actually, doing anything with my hair is a skill I have long forgotten. I did manage to put my hair up in what I thought was a “style” and what most people think of as a regular ponytail. I know, I’m pathetic.
2. Name tags are a great idea, especially for me. Most of the time, I used the help of name tags, not because I naturally forgot people’s names, but because I was taking major advantage of the open bar that hindered my ability to remember them.
3. Everyone is still young to me. I was talking to a classmate who told me he is a lawyer now, and I was totally blown away, like, “No way. How is the kid who sat behind me in math class and dressed like Robert Smith from The Cure a lawyer now?”
4. We all did a good job at growing up. Despite having an open bar, no one vomited on themselves (although the next morning was a different story, ahem). There were no drunk fights, no DUIs and no arrests. We have all learned to party fairly responsibly like a bunch of grown-up suckers who have work later that week and can’t afford three days to recuperate from a hangover.
5. I like everyone more now. Without the teenage angst, hormones, gossip and drama, all the classmates I saw and spoke with at the reunion seemed to be cool people. It could have very well been the four(?) blue cocktails talking, but I really liked the upgraded versions of my high school classmates.
6. Sliders that have been under a heating lamp should go nowhere near your mouth, unless you like stale buns and cold, gray hamburger patties topped with slimy grilled onions, that is. I practically kissed the servers’ feet when they came out with the fresh egg rolls.
7. We genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. Maybe it was because it has been been 20 years and people’s old high school grudges and rivalries have long ago been mended or at least forgotten, or maybe we got all of our judgements about each other out of the way on Facebook. Whatever it was, no one came with any chips on their shoulder, and it was really nice to see everyone making a genuine effort to talk and catch up with each other’s lives.
8. I turn into Cupid when I am buzzed. What happens when you watch too many rom-coms and drink alcohol for the first time in months? You try to set up your single classmates! Except I was still sober enough to realize how inappropriate it would be to do that, so I just did it in my head. “Oh, she should definitely get with him tonight. Then tomorrow morning, they’ll wake up and realize they have fallen deeply in love despite their cynical outlooks on life, which oddly enough is what brings them closer together!”
Yeah, I probably shouldn’t drink ever again.
9. I get drowsy after 10 p.m. Okay, so this one wasn’t really a surprise, but what did surprise me is how I still kept going well after midnight.
10. I grew up in a pretty diverse place. I didn’t really appreciate this until after I graduated and met other people whose high schools weren’t nearly as diverse as mine. I realized how lucky I was to have grown up in a place where I was exposed to different types of people, cultures and food (oh, the food!) on a regular basis. Caucasians, African Americans, Asians, Hispanics and everything else in between—we had a sprinkling of just about every ethnicity at my high school, which I think made my childhood a lot more interesting. And did I mention all the delicious food I got to try?
11. I miss SWV (Sisters With Voices). We had music from our graduating year playing in the background, and I forgot how amazing SWV used to be, with nary a twerking ass in sight!
12. Reunions are better at a bar. When we had our 10-year reunion, it was at a banquet hall, forcing everyone to sit at a table and awkwardly eat chicken with each other. The assigned seating didn’t encourage anyone to mingle and talk with one another. So if you’re planning a reunion, try to have it at a nice bar. Unlike the banquet hall with chairs and tables, at the bar, we were able to move around, talk, get drinks—and my high school classmates weren’t forced to sit in front of me and watch while I double-fisted egg rolls.