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Our Last 50 Referrers

« Bryan Meets Arthur | Main | Fact for the Day »

August 18, 2008

Reunion, One Step Removed

Donald Pittenger writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Once again, it's 50th high school reunion time. Not mine: that was last year. This time it's Nancy's, but I went to some of the events, including a Friday casual and the Saturday main show.

Believe it or not, there are some high school sweethearts from the same class who got married and stayed alive and married; they go to one 50th together, and that's it. Much more often a class member is married to someone who didn't attend the same high school. So the spouse has the choice of not showing up and letting the side down or attending and being pretty bored. Well, I suspect a man is more likely to be bored than a woman; women, tending to be more social, are likely to start talking and making new friends on the spot.

I happen to be in yet another category. Nancy and I attended the same high school, classes of 1958 and 1957, respectively. She knew a lot of my classmates and had a great time at my reunion events last year. I know some of her classmates, so I was at least able to visit with a few people.

My rule of thumb is that high school kids are more aware of people in classes before theirs than in the classes behind them. That's because older students hold leadership positions or otherwise are in the spotlight while younger students are still learning the ropes and looking for role models.

Whereas I remember some of the '58 guys by name, I found it hard to find common experiences to yak about. I suspect that's because we weren't in many classes together, unlike the case with my own classmates.

The gals are a different matter. I was a pretty shy guy in high school and didn't date heavily until I entered college. But I did pay strict attention to the cute younger ones, including Nancy. My main gripe about her reunion is that many of the women I would have loved to have seen again didn't make it to the events. Some had died, others live too far away, and still others apparently had no interest in attending.

In some ways, perhaps it's just as well that those cutie-pies didn't show up. Fifty years take a toll on everyone, and the very prettiest girls often seem to be the ones hardest hit. My theory is that's because the contrast is so stark. Less-attractive girls and most guys (who were never "pretty" in the first place) get the same sorts of wrinkles, saggy skin and rattier hair, but the changes seem more appropriate somehow.

On the (inevitable) other hand, I noticed a few women who struck me as being more attractive than they were in high school. One seemed to have lost her facial "baby fat" revealing some nice bone structuring. Her smooth skin suggested a little surgical touching-up; but I can't prove that, and like to think what I admired was purely her.

Regardless of the physical effects of aging, the upside is that the reunion attendees are fully-formed personalities compared to the sometimes awkward, sometimes unsure state many of us were in as late-teens.

Sorry if I bore you with reunion postings, but I find these events eternally fascinating.



posted by Donald at August 18, 2008


"women, tending to be more social, are likely to start talking and making new friends on the spot."

Shall we start talking about why that is, or have we covered it already? I'm game!

Posted by: Sister Wolf on August 18, 2008 8:22 PM

I love reunions too. When else in life do you get such a chance to check in regularly (but at distant intervals) with people you've long known, or almost-known? Fascinating. People's ups and downs ... The way some people flourish for a while and others for other whiles ... People's physical fates ... Reflections on life as it goes by ... It's all interesting and touching too ... That's your cohort. This is us, moving through time. Plus, as you say, over time all the melodrama of youth evaporates. Peopel finally seem much more appreciative and tolerant than you imagine they'd be. But a big mystery: whassup with that large bunch of people who don't show up?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 18, 2008 9:58 PM

I've never gone to a reunion. I don't know why. They seem un-Canadian somehow.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 18, 2008 10:21 PM

According to the conventional wisdom in the blogosphere, or at least in certain corners thereof, women are dried-out barren scags by age 30, let alone by their 50th reunions. Not that I subscribe to such a theory, but many men do.

Posted by: Peter on August 18, 2008 10:35 PM

"whassup with that large bunch of people who don't show up?"

Well, Michael, some of us are apt to feel self-conscious, if we feel we haven't achieved our full potential, in terms of career, marriage, etc., and may not wish to face our old peers, out of a sense of embarrassment, that we can't hold our head high amongst them. That certainly applies to some of us. It's also why I don't have a Facebook account; I don't want to run into classmates online, nor share with everyone I know, what I'm doing, what I'm up to, or not.

Posted by: anon on August 18, 2008 10:55 PM

Peter -- I know. Weird, isn't it? Where does that view of women come from? Excessive Maxim addiction?

Anon -- But everyone feels that way, no? Yet some show up for reunions anyway.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 19, 2008 1:06 AM

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