High School Reunion: How to Bring Your Spouse and Make it Not Suck

Incoming: a Facebook notification from a high school classmate, a girl you barely remember. After ignoring it for a few days (or weeks), you finally click. To your dismay, you’ve been invited to your high school reunion.

It’s from the former senior class president, and it goes a bit like this:

Hi Everyone!

Your former Student Council is planning our much-anticipated Class of (shhh…) reunion! Can you believe it’s been XX years?!

The reunion will be Saturday, September 17, at 6 p.m. in the Polk High School Gymnasium. 

The theme is “Blue Crush,” same as our junior prom 🙂 Bikinis, cornrows, and shark costumes are encouraged. Don’t worry, I’m bringing a Slip ‘n Slide!

Best of all, I’m thrilled to announce that we booked UNCLE KRACKER to play “Drift Away” and a few other hits for us!!!

I look forward to seeing each and every one of you on the 17th!

Go Commodores!

If you’re like many of us, you recoil instantly. Why would you go to your reunion? You don’t live in your hometown anymore, you already keep in touch with your close friends from high school, and anyone else you’re curious about is just a Facebook stalk away.

And now that you’re married, you would have to face the idea of dragging your SO along to an event where s/he knows no one, and you, unfortunately, know everyone.

BUT… Take a deep breath before you click “Not Attending.”

It’s common for people to dread their reunions, only to emerge feeling pretty awesome about the experience. You’ll reconnect with classmates you’ve totally forgotten about, perhaps a few teachers you’ve lost touch with.

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And rather than seeing these people through a haze of teenage angst, as you did ten years ago, you’ll most likely experience a warm sense of familiarity when you see all of their faces. You might find yourself eagerly catching up with your old English teacher or your bandmate. The star running back you never had a class with will pull you in for a bear hug. As much as it pains you to admit it, no Instagram stalk-session can replace these IRL interactions. Why not grab a beer and lean into the small talk?

At some point in the night, you’ll inevitably wind up at a table with your old friend group. You’ll swap stories about group projects and cutting class and marathoning Dawson’s Creek during sleepovers. You’ll remember happy times you’d forgotten, and the crummy seasons you endured in high school won’t seem so bad.

If you can wrangle your partner into going with you, they will be your secret weapon. Lab partner’s name slipped your mind? Have your person introduce themselves first and ask her name. Tired of rattling off your resume to curious classmates? Take a spin around the dance floor.

Let’s say the event is a disaster. No one shows up, or the class clown does a terrible 30-minute standup set, or your bozo ex tries to rekindle the flame. Have a secret signal between you and your SO for “Let’s bounce.” You can gather with your close friends at a bar afterward, or spend some quality time with your family if they still live in town.

If your partner is the graduate and you’re feeling out of place, just ask someone, “What was my husband/wife like in high school?” When you attend each other’s reunions, you catch a glimpse of each other’s past selves. You’ll hear about his Smashing Pumpkins phase. He’ll learn that you used to dominate the volleyball court.

It’s a little like time-traveling. As you encounter versions of each other that you’ve never known, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation of the person you married.   And when the sloshed folks start careening down the Slip ‘n Slide, you’ll have someone to hold your drink for you.