Many people believe that Truman Capote’s masked Black and White Ball, which took place in November 1966, was one of the greatest parties of all time. What made it so fabulous? The guest list. Apparently, Capote spent the entire month of July lying by a society friend’s pool deciding who to invite to the ball. Many years ago, like Capote, I spent a July afternoon lying by a pool contemplating a guest list. Only it wasn’t a party I was planning, the guest list on my mind was for a party that I had hosted the night before at my parents’ cabin.
I was sixteen at the time and it was the summer before my senior year in high school. When they were preoccupied with my little sister, it was easy to hypnotize my parents into letting me bring some friends up to the cabin alone. “Mom, it’s only two nights. Nothing bad could happen in two nights! We’re just going to hang out, lie by the pool, and watch movies.” I actually kind of believed what I was telling her. None of us had fake IDs, so if we were going to do any drinking, we would have to shoulder tap, steal, or raid the cabin’s liquor cabinet. Since I was something of a goodie two-shoe, I never considered shoulder tapping or stealing alcohol. The consequences and my parents’ rage were just too unbearable to imagine. The easiest thing to do was drink a small amount of mom and dad’s liquor. Luckily, it doesn’t take that much alcohol to get four teenage girls wasted.
The night started out great — somewhat quietly. I invited a few guys from the home owners association to stop by, but I didn’t realize that bragging about having the house to ourselves was a horrible mistake. Things spiraled out of control quickly, like they always seem to do in the case of underaged drinking and underplanned parties. One friend showed up, then another, then a friend of a friend, and a friend of his friend. Pretty soon the cabin was packed with people I didn’t know or trust. Yes, I was hanging out with a motley crew of locals who had spent time in juvie, grew massive amounts of weed, and broke into vacation homes to throw raging parties. No, choosing to associate myself with this crowd wasn’t one of my best decisions. The last thing I remember is staring into my crush’s eyes begging him to help me keep things under control.
The next morning when I came to, I was passed out on the couch downstairs with an incredibly queasy stomach. Not because I was hung over, but because I was worried about my parents’ house. I went upstairs and was relieved to see that despite a large amount of garbage, the house was still intact. Nothing was broken badly! The TV and computers weren’t stolen! Phew! Hooray! A couple of hours later as my friends and I were cleaning up and attempting to piece the events of the previous night together, I made a shocking discovery: the entire contents of the liquor cabinet were missing.
I would love to say that there was hardly any alcohol in the cabinet and that my parents are totally different from me and never drink. But, that’s not the case. My dad comes from a long line of Irish-blooded alcoholics and my mom can chug a beer quicker than anyone I know. Growing up, I remember them drinking gin fizzes at brunch and sipping mai tais at sunset. The cabinet was two shelves of alcohol. Costco-sized handles of Bacardi and Captain Morgan’s, Bombay Sapphire and Tangeray, Canadian Club and Jack Daniels. All of it was gone! I didn’t know what to do and neither did my friends.
So I found myself lying by the pool, my eyes closed, my body slathered in coconut-scented oil, contemplating the guest list of the previous night’s party. Who took the alcohol? Did they split it up between a group of guys or did one person claim it all? In the short amount of time that I had hung out with the Arnold Street Posse, that’s what they were called, I learned that most of them were not smart. They were a little mean and obviously sneaky and untrustworthy, but as dumb as they come. I knew that when the ASPs were in possession of a massive quantity of stolen alcohol, they liked to drink it as quickly as possible, preferably at a large raucous party. All I had to do was figure out where the party was being held walk in and steal my parents’ alcohol back. Easy, right?
It actually did end up being pretty easy. Later that night, two of my friends and I waltzed into the party quickly and quietly. The third friend remained in the driver’s seat of her running car. The party was crowded and dark and the cabin was dusty and cluttered. When we got to the kitchen, I gave a sigh of relief. There it was! My parents’ liquor cabinet! I’ve always been a planner and before we left on Mission Steal Back My Parents’ Alcohol, I had grabbed a bunch of sturdy brown paper bags with handles. We filled them with the bottles and turned to leave. It’s shocking how nobody really noticed us. Maybe it’s because I insisted that we wore all black?
Back at the cabin, we couldn’t help but make ourselves a round of Captain’s and Coke to celebrate our victory. Then we put the bottles back in the shelf with me trying to remember where the rum, vodka, and whiskey was kept. Thus, at the young age of 16, I learned the importance of a party’s guest list. What was I thinking inviting people I hardly knew over to the cabin for a party?! While I love a good raging house party, I would rather not host them. I never threw a party where I wasn’t in control of the guest list again.