I have memories of attending coed birthday parties as a preschool aged child. Kip's, for instance. It was probably his 3rd or 4th birthday and we played some balloon popping game in his back yard. And my neighbor, Jason Pattison. We went to Bullwinkles. I wet my pants because I was too embarrassed to ask his mom to take me to the bathroom. Poor logic...wetting my pants was like a thousand times more embarrassing than asking for help to the bathroom.
But around the time I was six, I learned of the horrible, contagious disease that all boys have; known to most of us as the common cootie bug. It can be easily spread by such things as attending a boys birthday party. Birthday parties became strictly girls-only for the next few years. Anyone remember Nicole Robertson's slumber party/ all night dance contest?
Then all of a sudden, boy-girl parties didn't sound so bad any more....they became some sort of a rite-of-passage. Though you never forgot that boys had cooties, you just didn't think catching cooties sounded all that bad. All the cool girls were catching them.
Kyle Lane invited me to his birthday party in sixth grade. I was nowhere close to the top of the list of cool girls in sixth grade. Quite the opposite. I was feelin' pretty on top of the world when the coolest boy in school invited me to his party. We went to....wait for it....the SKATING RINK. (Where else?) Jessica and Kyle totally couple skated and Kyle tried to show off by skating backwards and biffed it. Then back to Kyles house for cake and presents. We spent some time hanging out at Kyle's for a while and the separation of boys and girls appeared. The boys played basketball and Kyle's super cool older sister taught the girls the Electric Slide. I had never felt more cool at any point in my young life than I did at that moment.
Every time I've danced the Electric Slide since then (which is not all that often...I promise I don't dance the Electric Slide every afternoon alone in my living room), I can totally recall this memory and feeling on top of the world. And it makes me happy.