Guest List: First of all, everyone knows that a successful party starts with a great guest list. It should be diverse. Eclectic. A mix of people from all walks of life. I know you’re fond of those pasty losers from the Robotics Club, Ashlee, but trust me: shotgunning cases of Mountain Dew and reprogramming the neighborhood’s garage doors does not a wild teenage rager make. Instead, reach out a little and ask the mean girls. The freaks. The skanks. The playas, the hatas, the skaters, and possibly even a divorced math teacher or two. Don’t worry if you don’t know them, because no teenager will ever turn down a party invitation. Even when it comes from someone in the gifted-and-talented program.
Party Planning: As anyone who’s ever watched the WB knows, the best time to throw a killer “par-tay” is when your parents are out of town. Or at least farther away than across the street playing Jenga at the Wilson’s. I mean, honestly, Ashlee. If you want to be a rebel, think like a rebel. Did Amy Winehouse ever ask her mother’s permission before snorting lines off the nightstand? So wait until your parents go on their anniversary trip. Or to the church retreat. Or, better yet, wait until your grandma breaks her other hip, the poor thing. Then simply lock up the pets, throw open your front door, and get ready to get your house party on, y’all.
Invitations: Per proper etiquette, invites should be sent no later than four weeks before an event. However, since most of your guests can’t even remember to close their mouths while chewing, it’s probably best to wait until the last possible moment to spread the word. Besides, as any insurance adjuster could tell you, teenagers thrive on spontaneity. The day of the shindig, simply text your guests with the message “Party at Ashlee’s!” or “PAA!” or “STWPAPBYJ!” or any other of those ridiculous little codes you all seem to prefer over proper English grammar. Or just save yourself the trouble and tell Janice Hopkin’s daughter you’re having a party. Lord knows that girl’s got a mouth on her.
Being a Good Hostess: The beauty of an unsupervised teenage party is that it basically runs itself! After your guests arrive, simply show them which bushes you’d like them to puke in and where your mother keeps the funnels. That’s pretty much it. Just be aware that, though a gracious host always knows when a party should end, in your case that determination will probably be made by either your neighbors or local law enforcement. So, if your guests are forced to leave before they can thank you, don’t worry about it. After all, nothing says “A good time was had by all” more than a pack of red-eyed burnouts running down the street screaming “Narc!”
Entertainment: Teenage girls love parties with great music because it gives them an excuse to dance on tables and take off their tops. (Which is also something teenage boys enjoy.) So put together a playlist of songs that contain loads of “mad bass.” Hip-hop, rap, metal, trance, or anything else that sounds like a toddler stuck in a coffee can should work. Then, once the party’s under way, crank up your tunes loud enough to wake every sleeping baby on the block. And, if you find that your sound system isn’t up to task, just ask that weird pizza-delivery guy for help. My husband says that jerk’s got more speakers in his piece-of-shit Sentra than Best Buy.
After Party: Though there’s nothing more fun than a house full of unchecked hormones, the day after the party can, unfortunately, be kind of a drag. Nobody likes spending half a day spraying their entire house with Lysol and steam-cleaning the love seat. However, during the two weeks you’ll be grounded without mercy, take comfort in all the new “hits” on your Facebook.com and know that it was all worth it just to become slightly more popular this year.
So that’s it, Ashlee. I think you’re well on your way to throwing the crazy teenage party of your dreams. And, though a responsible mother of two certainly shouldn’t tell you that your party would be even better with lots of underage drinking, be sure to let me know if you’re free to babysit this New Year’s Eve. I might just happen to know where there’s an unattended beer refrigerator.
This is a piece of mine that originally appeared on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency in 2008 and I just remembered it. I’ll be back in a week or so with some stories about my recent adventures with Rick Perry, Delia Ephron and 32 pairs of khaki pants. Happy holidays!