I wish I could say that slumber parties taught me about life, or friendship, or sex, or even ouija boards. When it comes right down to it, I never liked slumber parties. During the course of the evening, something would always happen that would mark me as a party-pooper or as an uglier-than-(insert cutest girl in fifth grade here). The era of slambooks, those hideous little notebooks with “anonymous” entries about who you most despised or who was the most annoying person in the school, brought about more humiliation than I could stand. It was apparent I would always be “Nicest Girl.”
But I didn’t want to be nice. I wanted to be pretty, or funny, or scary, even. Anything but nice . Nice was the curse of boring people who always lent you a pencil or who didn’t complain when you traded them a sucky sandwich for their wonderful salami on Italian bread one. Nice was terrible. It was the worst fate my fifth-grade mind could conjure up.
The girls I hung out with in grade school were always trying to freeze each other’s bras. I was safe from this particularly weird punishment because I wore a camibra. A camibra is a cut-off undershirt with a scrawny lace flower sewn on it. It is the 90-pound weakling version of a training bra. I hated my camibra, but it was better than still wearing an undershirt. I think.
Anyway, I would always be the one who said, “Hey, that isn’t very nice,” when the other girls would start rifling through someone’s Cabbage Patch backpack. I would always be the one who was too afraid to kiss a classmate’s older brother on a dare. I never chose dare. I always told the truth, too.
Slumber parties were reminders of how uncool I was, and they continued to be until college. I can’t consider a bunch of drunken co-eds passing out in a 12’ by 12’ dorm room a real slumber party, but at least during those I wasn’t so obviously uncool. Then again, it’s nigh impossible to be obvious to an unconscious person.
My friend Kasey used to have me over to her house overnight a lot, in grade school. I can’t call it a slumber party, since it was just the two of us, but we really did have fun. We would put on talent shows, ride her horse, eat macaroni and cheese, stay up late, watch scary movies, tell ghost stories … those were some great times. With her, I was always cool, even though she wasn’t uncool. I was just comfortable, I suppose. She never dared me to do things I didn’t want to do, and she never called me “nice.”
I think every group of kids needs a nice one, a smart one, a cute one, a funny one, and so on. Slumber parties are tiny social paradigms, and to work properly, all the roles must be involved. I would have enjoyed them more if I hadn’t been the nice one. The nice one must fulfill her nice duties and must live up to her nice image. I just couldn’t freeze someone’s bra nicely.