The anatomy of a house party

By in Opinions

Opinions Writer

With school starting, parties are going to be happening in all shapes and forms.
Everyone looks forward to the weekend even more when they know so-and-so is having a house party, which is often cleverly cloaked as “having people over.”
The house party is a living, breathing creature capable of growing, learning or dying out altogether. Each house party is a little different.

  • Stage 1: The get-together
  • The get-together is the most common type of house party. It consists of you and approximately five to 15 of your closest friends sitting in someone’s basement or kitchen, playing drinking games and listening to music at a reasonable volume. A get-together is a low-risk endeavour that most parents approve of and that rarely results in damage. I’m sure most of you have hosted a get-together before.

  • Stage 2: The mixer
  • A mixer is called a mixer because it often brings together friends of friends. Someone will call the host and say, “Do you mind if Cathy from work comes?” to which the host replies, “Of course not, as long as it’s just her.” At a mixer the numbers can climb into the low 20s, but it’s controlled and no one is belligerently drunk yet.

    The volume may rise slightly at a mixer but the party is contained within a certain section of the house. Traditionally it is held in the kitchen or basement.

    Often times, the seeds of new romances are planted at mixers, which is apparent when the new girl Cathy starts making eyes at your friend Doug.

  • Stage 3: The shaker
  • When a shaker rolls in, poise and class usually start heading for the door. People are there to drink.

    Now there are a number of unknown faces present, and only the host knows them all. The volume knob is turned up and a glass may shatter here or there. A mid-level shaker may accomodate up to 40 people, and the house takes on a true party atmosphere.

    One should never underestimate the awesome power of a shaker because a small spark can bump the shaker up into the next category, and all control is lost.

    A shaker may venture into other parts of the house, such as the living room, a bedroom or a deck (weather permitting). The shaker is my favourite type of party because it’s both exciting and comfortable.

    Your jacket probably isn’t going to get stolen.

    Doug may leave with Cathy.

  • Stage 4: The banger
  • Few bangers are successful because they require an extraordinarily well-respected host. The majority of hosts will have a hard time controlling their crowd because this party means business.

    The party will begin to spill over into the rest of the house. Nearly everyone is drunk, and many people begin to lose their shit. Fights between long time boyfriends and girlfriends are common, as is damage.

    Perhaps the host knocks his Grade 12 picture off the wall. Perhaps he gives someone the bum’s rush out the front door.

    The back yard may now serve as the new, more obvious bathroom.

    Forgive me if I have painted the banger with an ugly brush. A banger played properly can be a rewarding experience. However, this is rare. A person is lucky to attend one or two truly successful bangers in their time. I say “successful” because when the police come at 11 p.m. and start handing out carbon paper and takin’ names, it’s not enjoyable.

    Doug and Cathy both say they’re going upstairs to use the bathroom and then conveniently disappear.

  • Stage 5: The gong show
  • I have attended only two gong shows and I hated almost every minute of them.

    The gong show is just what it sounds like, a party where all hope is gone. It’s a real “open party.” The front door is wide open and people seem to disregard the mat where you leave your shoes.

    At a gong show, you may not even know who owns the house anymore. All you had was an address so you went, as did a few hundred other local kids. People converge on the scene and when they’re gone, you may not recognize the place anymore.

    The gong show is quite often the result of some inexperienced party host taking advantage of Mom and Dad’s trust by instructing people to tell all of their friends — or, in one case that I recall, handing out photocopied maps to everyone at school.

    At one gong show, I had difficulty closing the front door behind me because there were too many bodies jammed in there, kind of like when you pack unnecessary stuff for a week-long vacation and can’t close your suitcase.

    People are probably smoking in the house by now.

    After the police clear things out, people may try to return to the party. A small aftershock, if you will.

    The toll for a gong show is high, including holes in drywall, stains in carpet (liquor, vomit, blood, other), broken furniture, fires, injuries, missing electronics, missing exercise equipment and missing pets.