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EST. May 2000 (AD)

 
 

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Tips for Surviving a Reunion When You Peaked in High School

By Sarah Schaffner

Okay, so you peaked early. You mistakenly believed those days of youth and effortless beauty that you flaunted in the faces of those less appealing friends you surrounded yourself with would be endless. High

School was merely a platform from which you would catapult to a life of coasting on your oozing sex appeal. But now you're thirty..ish years old, staring down forty through the bottom of a half-empty apple-tini, tugging on your Forever 21 tube top to keep it in the general vicinity of your neckline, watching twenty-something's guzzle YOUR free Woo-Woos. It seems your glory days are fading fast into the faint glow of an acid flashback. And it's Reunion time.

Let's get real. Reunions are a large measuring stick with which to gage your own success against that of your classmates, multiplied by how much money everyone makes, divided by the amount of years since graduation. We know, we know, math was for nerds. You didn't have time for that. Isn't that why you were popular in the first place? And even though, in hindsight, perhaps paying attention in a handful of those algebra classes might have helped steer you clear of your current financial predicament, there's no use crying in your dollar drafts. This handy guide is sure to help you navigate the treacherous landscape of The High School Reunion. So that even though you may lead the life of a washed up child star in private, no one from your alma mater need know.

You might be thinking that your peers will be measuring success in terms of accomplishments. Who has achieved the most impressive feats since last marching out of those hallowed halls, cap in hand? Who has singlehandedly though intellectual or financial prowess helped improve the lives of others, or humanity as a whole? Wrong. These pale in comparison to the obvious, most important question: Who got fat? This is really all that matters. You might serve drinks out of a bathtub in a silver body suit, but at least that suit's a size two. For once, your diet of martini's and Marb lights will aid in your night's goals, instead of leaving you with severely impaired judgment and a hoarse, tranny voice. Obviously, you will have to subsist on rice cakes and seltzer a few weeks beforehand, but if your teenage years taught you anything, it's how to survive on an eating disorder.

Profession and financial status come hand in hand at number two. The Question, "So what do YOU do?" will inevitably work its way into the first 28 seconds of every conversation. You've heard of a 401k, but let's face it, you were never much of an athlete to begin with so why start now? Best to stick to vague generalizations: sales, marketing, finance- these are safe, go-to answers. When combined with a dismissive wave of the hand and an amused eye-roll, these answers give the illusion of "You know, boring old stuff. And I'm really not one to brag about my financial success." A word of warning here: Don't get too cocky. So you were up late and caught a rerun of Michael Douglas in Wall Street, and now you're thinking you wanna be a commodities broker. But you barely know what a commodity is, much less how to fix one once they're broken, so it's best to stick to the plan. Let some other poor sap be ostracized for claiming to invent the internet. You're a "business woman," and leave it at that.

Alright, you thought you'd be married by now. Or at least engaged with a giant, sparkly bauble that no doubt claimed some innocent lives in its transit to America. But hey, you're no UN ambassador- let's leave the peacekeeping to the professionals. At any rate, you just ended your relationship with your boyfriend. "Relationship" and "boyfriend" of course, are terms you use loosely. So loosely in fact that you simply mean a member of the opposite sex whom you use to sleep with and lend money to, that would never get paid back. But this isn't the time to split hairs. You're out one potential escort, and $160. There's no need to panic. Married women, especially those with kids, envy anything that's skinnier and seems to be having more fun and freedom. They don't need to know that you spend that free time creating online bridal registries at Bed, Bath and Beyond under an alias. Or that your recent definition of fun has been trying on wedding gowns in neighboring cities. As far as they're concerned, and you let on, is that you just aren't ready to be tied down. And who can blame a busy career girl like yourself?

Reunion night can be rife with potentially humiliating and awkward situations, but if you follow these basic guidelines and manage some slight self-restraint with the open bar, you may just come out on top. You might even come out with more than that, if that shy band geek morphed into some dark, mysterious, brooding Rock God. Who knows? With seven gin and tonics and only a rice cake under your belt, anything's possible.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Schaffner is a freelance writer and editor living in Baltimore, MD. She contributes a regular humor column in For Her Information and has survived more than one reunion using these very same guidelines. Depending on who you talk to, she may or may not have been a commodities broker at one time.

Contact Sarah