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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 16, 1987)
Thursday, April 16, 1987
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By Geoff McMurtry
What happened to all the parties? There
was a time when there would be a list of
parties at various locations all over campus
and the surrounding vicinity. The problem
used to be not what to do tonight, but what to
However, this semester is winding to a
close, and so far I have attended only two or
three really killer parties. You know, the ones
where you know something is going to happen
the minute you leave, so you never do, and
everywhere you go for the next week (or until
the next killer party), everyone keeps talking
about all the incredible things that happened
there and the hilarious people who said and
did the wildest, most outstandingly funny
things. You remember almost half of them.
Part of the problem is that complacency
and routine have set in, and the hosts and
potential hosts of parties, operating without
a solid precedent to guide them, have been
hosting smaller and tighter groups of friends,
in turn making parties more and more pedes
trian and sedate.
Stemming from this, we seem to have
reached a communication problem in the
subcultural gsp. We, as students, have become
far too liberal in what we graciously call a
First of all, we need a working definition of
the very word "party." A party is: a very large
group of people, less than half of whom have
met, partaking of intoxicants. The last part is
important. I know it seems irresponsibly
picky, but a party without substances to
abuse is merely a Large Gathering. A Large
Gathering is comparable to a business meet
ing, a geography class or a family reunion.
Worse, in fact, because they all have purpose,
a sense of being, which kills all spontaneity,
while a substantially Large Gathering of
drunken strangers does not. (Important note:
This by no means is meant to imply that
having alcohol present automatically quali
fies a group as a party; it does not, as we shall
Please note the emphasis on the word
"large." A party is not 10 or 15 friends watch
ing TV. That's a Get-Together. A party is not
even 20 to 40 people sipping drinks and chat
ting pleasantly. That's still just a Large Gath
ering. At a party, no one chats because you
have to scream to be heard. The only time
people sip at a party is when they have the
e last glass and the next keg isn't back yet.
Glog would be a better word to describe the
consumption that takes place at a party.
The more irresponsible the better. It is a
party, is it not?
Now that we have a large group of people
present and an abundance of "beer" (generic
term for abusable substances), the next
major requirement is for lots and lots of
strangers to be included. Of course friends
should be present; what's a party without
friends? But strangers are vital. One of the
express purposes of a party is to meet people,
and friends, by definition, have already been
met. Besides, there has to be someone to
make fun of.
So now you're at a house, there seem to be
quite a few people present, almost everyone
has a "beer," the conversational level seems
fairly loud, and you're having a fairly good
time. Is it a party yet? Or is it still a mere
Large Gathering? Admittedly, there is a bit of
an overlap between 'some "specially Large
Gatherings and some rather small and tame
' parties, but here is a good general rule: If you
can hear anything from one room to the next,
other than the stereo and breaking glass, it's
not quite a party yet.
They say experience is the best teacher, so
in the interest of education I think it perti
nent to share a bit of my experience. Last year
I lived with two roommates in what was
known as a "Party House." A Party House is a
dwelling in which, at any given moment,
regardless of time of day or week, a party
could reasonably be expected to break out.
It's not as hard as it sounds once you get
the reputation, all sorts of oddballs show up
with beer at all sorts of hours. Anyway, we had
four specific rules of what it took to consti
tute a successful party.
Rule One involved our rickety back stair
case, which led to our dark, damp basement,
which contained a loud stereo, throngs of
people, and, of course, several kegs. After a
few trips up and down the crowded, rickety
staircase, beer would be spilled on it, making
it very slippery and quite dangerous. If not
one guest could get drunk enough to fall
down the rickety staircase, we would feel
offended. Not just a mere trip, mind you, but a
full-scale fall was required to salve our
demanding expectations. Rule One was:
Someone Had To Fall Down The Back
Rule Two was our least favorite, but we
soon realized the distinct correlation between
non-fulfillment of Rule Two and, well, parties
that were merely Gatherings. Rule Two was:
something Had To Get Broken. This rule
isn't as simple as it sounds. The breakage had
to be accidental, not on purpose. The whole
point of these rules is to be able to tell
whether this is the Happening Place, or if the
music needs to be changed. Any moron can
break stuff on purpose, even at a small Get
Together, but getting people so drunk that
they can't help themselves is part of the
host's art and is taken very seriously by any
conscientious host. Breaking things on pur
pose has nothing to do with a successful
party, but it could lead to a successful lynch
ing. Rule Three was: Someone Had to Puke.
I know that sounds morbid, heartless and
cruel, but it's an integral part of people being
so drunk that they can't help themselves.
Just part of the American ideal of conspicu
ous consumption. Besides, if you can keep
them away from the bathroom they become
part of the entertainment.
Rule Four has been pretty much a standard
since the first party in Oog Neanderthalman's
cave on New Hampshire Street, but it's a good
rule and a popular one, so we kept it on the
charter. Stated simply, and as politely as
possible: Two People Who've Never Met
Before (preferably of the opposite sex, but
rules can be stretched for a party's sake)
Must Meet Each Other And . . . Uh. . .
anduh. . .Leave Together, You Know?
Decorum prohibits finishing that sentence,
but look up Leave Together in Roget's. There
was no official requirement that anyone
actually vacate the premises, and it was con
sidered quite an entertainment bonus if they
A the fulfillment of each of these rules,
the general ambiance is picked up a bit by
the delirious cheers of throngs of happy party
goers, excited in the knowledge that there's a
party in the making, and they're part of it. If
it's starting to get late or the sun is coming
up, a good host will take it upon himself to
ensure that all unmet requirements are met.
Any guest fulfilling all four should host his
I hope this handy guide will assist any
potential hosts in planning and organizing
their next party and help keep it from lapsing,
into a Gathering. I know you're capable, UNL
We have the people and the resources right
NOTE: My editor is worried that this may
be construed in some circles as being socially
irresponsible to print in a newspaper. I con
cur, and have agreed to include this uplifting
caution. Don't drive drunk. Don't drive at all.
I mean this seriously. Ride a bike. It is virtu
ally impossible to fall asleep on a bike, and
you aren't likely to kill anyone but yourself.
Trust me, I'm still alive.
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