Was it worth it to go to your (5, 10, 20) year high school reunion?
July 20, 2004 9:13 AM   Subscribe

Was it worth it to go to your (5, 10, 20) year high school reunion? All I'm really curious about is who got those cheerleaders pregnant, but if they didn't tell us then they probably won't now.
posted by mecran01 to Society & Culture (25 answers total)
My 20th was amazing. Some people had really changed; others were very much the same. I heard some "what I've been doing since HS" stories that were funny, sweet, devastating and touching. I was happy to see that P. (not a nice person in HS, or now) still has bad hair, D. is still really, really pretty, and really, really nice, M., who was drab and nice in HS is fabulously sophisticated and nice now, P looks just like a rabbi and isn't one.

The 25th was fairly dull except for learning that one of our class is now chief of police, esp. when V. got high in the restroom

Mostly only the white, straight people came. Interesting to see the ravages of drugs and alcohol. It gave me some stuff to think about.
posted by theora55 at 9:35 AM on July 20, 2004

i haven't been to any reunions that have come up (college or high school--law school is fast approaching and i might go to that one, if i'm in town), and i haven't felt that i missed out. anyone i was curious to see but hadn't kept in touch with over the years i had been able to see (or gossip about) at weddings i had been to with or for the few people i was still in touch with from either place. (does that sentence parse? i've rewritten it a couple of times now)

i say skip it. odds are the one person you're really curious about is the one you won't see anyway.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:41 AM on July 20, 2004

Five years is too soon; twenty probably too late. But my ten-year reunion was definitely worth it. All the old cliques and rivalries and remembered teenaged angst were washed away by the divine haze of alcohol. Old wounds were healed, old flirtations renewed, carefully nurtured grudged dissolved. Plus most of the people who were mean to me back then turned out to have really depressing, go-nowhere lives, and most of us geeks had turned out to be hep cats. It was Revenge of the Nerds come to life.

Seriously. It's like prom night. You might regret it if you attend, but you'll definitely regret it if you don't.
posted by ook at 9:44 AM on July 20, 2004

Went to my BSc graduation 10 year reunion. Pretty good - nice to see everyone, good for a laugh and a night out. Maybe helped that we were a sociable bunch anyway as we had to spend a lot of time together in labs. If you only got along with 5 people in your whole time somewhere I imagine it would be pretty crap to go to one of these.
posted by biffa at 9:51 AM on July 20, 2004

Response by poster: There are two functions--a gathering at a park, with families, and a dinner thing for $40 bucks a head. I'll probably go to the park thing. More stories!
posted by mecran01 at 10:01 AM on July 20, 2004

I didn't even get invited to my 10th, and I didn't miss anything. I've managed to keep in contact with everyone who still matters from my life back then, so what would be the point of meeting up with people I don't care about?
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:02 AM on July 20, 2004

Response by poster: From what I can gather, the point is to see if all of the people that deserved terrible lives actually received them. And it's a chance to crash diet and rent a hummer.
posted by mecran01 at 10:09 AM on July 20, 2004

My 20th rocked so hard, largely because the Yahoo! Group set up to organize it had become a 100-message-a-day obsession for many of us, bringing together both far-flung friends and people who never talked in high school for political and social debates not unlike the ones we used to enjoy in the blue. And, we'd all posted our what-have-you-been-doing-for-20-years stories, so by the time we saw each other, we could concentrate on making real connections rather than filling each other in.
posted by nicwolff at 10:13 AM on July 20, 2004

I actually kinda want to go to my 10 year high school reunion, since I heard the guy voted "Best Car" my senior year was arrested for grand theft auto and resisting arrest a few years ago. Didn't go to my 5 year reunion, because it was Thanksgiving weekend, and I'd much rather spend time with my family.

And ook, I didn't go to my prom, and I don't regret it one iota.
posted by emptybowl at 10:14 AM on July 20, 2004

My 10 year high school reunion is on the 7th. I'll let you know in a couple of weeks, mmmkay?
posted by jacquilynne at 11:02 AM on July 20, 2004

I got myself taken off all the alumni listings for my high school shortly after getting out of college. Like ghostinthemachine, I've got no regrets. I'm still in touch with the folks I care to be in touch with.

I did go to my 5 year, just because I happened to be in town. Yeah, 5 year reunions are pretty much a wash.
posted by ursus_comiter at 11:18 AM on July 20, 2004

It all depends on your high school experience.

I couldn't have been more miserable at my all girls catholic high school. The few girls I was actually friends with, I've kept in periodic touch with. That's enough for me. The less reminders of those 4 years, the better. You can't pay me enough money to go to a reunion.

I put my trust in karma. I don't need to see results.
posted by MsVader at 11:20 AM on July 20, 2004

I didn't go to mine, and I don't even know if there was one.

Someone I know kept saying to me that she "couldn't wait" for her high school 10-year reunion because she wanted to introduce her husband to everyone. She seemed to think it was some kind of penultimate accomplishment that she'd managed to get married to a average looking, withdrawn and mopey guy and that everyone was going to be swept away with envy.

I never heard how that turned out, but I suspect she wouldn't have gotten the result she wanted.

I should think the only good reason to go is that you want to see everyone, mingle, and catch up on what they've been doing with themselves. And, once there, avoid those who act like it's their big chance to avenge themselves for being snubbed ten years ago. It's more than likely they are, emotionally speaking, still in high school. And that's not a very attractive quality in a 28-year-old.
posted by orange swan at 11:25 AM on July 20, 2004

My goal was to be unfindable for my fifth year renunion and wildly successful for my tenth. I was definitely out of touch (travelling randomly throughout the US) for my fifth year, and while I was not even close to wildly successful for what would have been my tenth, I probably would have considered going. Except if we had one, nobody invited me.

So screw those jerks.
posted by jennyb at 11:42 AM on July 20, 2004

the point is to see if all of the people that deserved terrible lives actually received them
Well, that, and to see those who deserved good lives get theirs, too.

Kidding aside: the idea of going to the reunion, for me, didn't have much to do with who I did or didn't care about seeing again. I wasn't much of a high-school person, lost touch with most of them almost immediately, and still am not in touch with any of them. It was more like, here's a party with 200 people your age -- but as a bonus, you know everyone's backstory already. And they're all going to be more engaged and open than they normally would be -- because, yeah, some of them are there to try to impress everyone; some of them are hoping to see what a mess everyone else has made of their lives; most of them are planning on never seeing you again anyway; and they all know you know what they were like as teenagers, so have nothing to hide. Everyone was a lot less guarded than they normally would be. Even people I didn't like then, and still don't like now, it was really interesting to see how they had (or hadn't) changed, and why: a room full of two hundred walking character-based novellas. I think that's pretty cool. I had a lot of conversations that night that were a lot more in-depth, and philosophical, and thoughtful, than people are normally willing to be in real life. I think that's pretty cool too.

As with nicwolff's reunion, there was a lot of pre-reunion communication (some of which is kind of interesting in its own right) to get the boring stuff over with, and to get the ball rolling. So maybe that helps. But mostly, it's one of the few universal rites of passage American society has left, and I really do think you'd be missing out on something if you skipped it.
posted by ook at 12:08 PM on July 20, 2004

My 10-year high-school reunion was 10 years ago. It touched off a pretty massive mid-life crisis for me, in a good way. I’d changed too much, see. Being amongst all those people reminded me of the fun, outgoing person I had been ten years before, instead of the depressed, bitter, rather snotty person I’d become. I’ve changed back – people who know me now who didn’t know me 10 years ago find it hard to believe when I tell them who I was then.

My (now ex) wife’s 10-year reunion was terrible. She had been the poor kid at the rich kids’ school. She was there to prove something, to show all the snobs that she’d made something of herself, to try to grab some respect. It didn’t work, and just made her more bitter than she had been before. For the same reason, I guess, I’ll likely never go to a college reunion.

My 20-year high-school reunion is this fall, and I will definitely be there. My high school wasn’t particularly snotty, though. We were sort of the redneck school, and the general psyche of the place was that rudeness was uncool. Sure, we band geeks didn’t get invited to the cool kids’ parties, but people were generally amiable to each other. So the standard reunion one-ups-man-ship wasn’t there for the 10-year, and will likely not be there for the 20-year.

Plus I’ll have the hottest wife there. And I’ll probably borrow Mom’s Mercedes.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:41 PM on July 20, 2004

I didn't go to a single reunion, high-school or college, till my HS's 20th, when my wife convinced me it might be fun. (Like a lot of other folks, I felt I had kept in touch with everyone who I wanted to.)

It was surprisingly fun, especially the get-together the night before that was only for people in our graduating class. The high point was back in a hotel room, after midnight, drinking beers out of a bathtub full of ice, and having the women in the room mock us. ("You guys were all such friggin' idiots--we were twice as horny as any of you, and all you really would have had to do is ask.") Ooops.
posted by LairBob at 1:34 PM on July 20, 2004

I already keep in touch with the people I give a crap about from high school. I see the others around at christmas time whether I like it not. reunion would only be a chance to get loaded at school, legally this time.
posted by Hackworth at 2:03 PM on July 20, 2004

I just went to my 20th. Not ONE SINGLE PERSON from my class showed up. (It was a combo celebration of the founding of the school and everyone else there was either decrepit or still pimply.)
Apathetic bloody classmates.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:14 PM on July 20, 2004

Is it just me or do people seem to take a little too much pride in declaring that they don't go to reunions because "I've only kept in touch with anybody I cared about." Sounds like you guys somehow hope that somehow this information will get passed along to your next reunion, where the people in attendence will be deeply hurt and will rue the day that they made your high school experience unpleasant.
posted by crazy finger at 9:56 PM on July 20, 2004

Not me! I declare I don't go to reunions because I don't ever want to see any of those assholes again!
posted by five fresh fish at 10:53 PM on July 20, 2004

I have no class, therefore, no reunion. If I did, it would be 30 years next year. Damn, I'm gettin' old. Sometimes, I can't imagine how anyone can actually do 4 years in highschool. Its like prison, only you're too young for it. College was way more fun at that age.
posted by Goofyy at 1:17 AM on July 21, 2004

crazy finger, in my case, I really have kept in touch with virtually all those people I cared about. And I had a large number of friends back then. It wasn't that high school was an "unpleasant experience"; it was fine. Among the hundreds (thousands?) of people you went to school with, can you honestly claim to have formed bonds with more than a few dozen?

What is it about the artificial grouping of "kids of a certain age from a certain geographic region" that is supposed to be special? Am I supposed to have some sort of bond with Olaf Kolzig (goalie in the NHL) just because we probably passed each other in the halls of a school dozens of times? Hardly. We had little in common back then, and we have little in common since. I met many people back then who shared common interests, made friends with them, and kept them as friends.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:52 AM on July 21, 2004

crazy finger: my HS graduating class (yes, just the class, not the whole school) was over 1400 students. i only knew the names of a small minority, to not even get into the smaller number i called my friends (most of whom were in the other equally large classes). i imagine the odds of anyone other than the handful i kept in touch with even recognizing my name are pretty slim, much less the odds of any of them caring that i didn't keep in touch.

but i suppose it's more accurate to say that it's unlikely attending my reunion would put me in touch with (or allow me to satisfy my curiosity about) those i fell out of touch with (michael d. edison, lately of berkeley, CA, i'm looking at you), and i can't honestly think of another reason for going to a reunion.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2004

Response by poster: We had the reunion picnic last night. Some people aged a lot more than others, due to sunlight or substance abuse. I met my goal of meeting several people that had gained more weight than I had. One of the drawbacks of attending was that nobody knew me then, so they didn't really know me now, but everyone was nice.

There was a small group of cool guys in the corner talking to each other most of the evening. I couldn't figure out who they were, but got the vibe that they were still trying pretty hard to be cool, which is sort of depressing at age 40.

Oh, and I got new hubcaps for the minivan and washed it, so there's that. And a haircut. /pathetic hypocrite
posted by mecran01 at 10:19 AM on July 31, 2004

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