Saturday, September 01, 2007

My Smurfy Sweet 16

I have only seen a few moments here and there of MTV's show My Super Sweet 16, but the ostentatious sixteenth birthday party phenomenon has been creeping into my view, anyway, because of things like incredibly fancy cakes I've seen made for Sweet 16 parties on Ace of Cakes and on some sort of cake decorating championship show in which 5 cake decorators had to face off to win the chance to make some girl's giant Sweet 16 cake, and because of Sweet 16 party decorations I've seen in party supply catalogs that looked more appropriate for a prom, class reunion, or awards show!

So my mind went back to my own "Sweet 16"... Yes, I did have a 16th birthday party, thrown by my mother for me and my friends. Let's see, it involved a cake, some decorations, and a couple of picnic tables in a hot park. The budget might have hit...oh, $50. Actually, probably a little less in 1980s dollars and more in today's. And while the girl on the cake bake-off show said that the purse-themed cake (I believe) was a little too young for her, I actually went with the avant-garde theme of...Smurfs. No, I didn't "really" like Smurfs, like a 4-year-old might. I think I was 11 before I ever heard of a Smurf, though my 8-years-younger brother was smitten with them as a preschooler, so I'd seen my share of them since. I was trying to be humorously ironic. Not sure if it worked, but I think we had fun. We didn't have terribly high expectations. I think my main expectation was cake!

Me with my Smurfette centerpiece--I somehow missed the whole ballgown & tiara type thing and showed up in jeans & a t-shirt:

Excuse the photo quality, I had to go with the grainy, dark 80s-era instamatic or Disc camera, rather than hiring a wedding photographer to do the honors.

What I did not skimp on was the cake. While elaborate fondant decor was unheard of in 1983 and I lacked a four or five-tier cake, this was a Red Oven red velvet cake, which I am certain to this day tasted better than nearly any cake seen on those television shows. (From my experience tasting wedding cakes at bridal shows before our wedding, the fancy places seem to emphasize looks a lot more than taste!)

Sadly, the cake that wasn't served up right away was ultimately destroyed, ending up all over at least one of the guests... I also seem to recall the remaining ice and water in the ice chest being dumped on people's heads. The guests seemed to have fun, anyway.

And check out the elaborate touches--paper tablecloths! Balloons & streamers! Smurf plates & cups! A birthday sign! (Or is that Pin the Tail on the Donkey? Knowing me, it might be. I actually played Pin the Tail on the Donkey at my 40th birthday party with my family this year!)


And while I didn't hire any popular rock bands to play at the party, we did have entertainment:

Who doesn't like piƱatas, after all?

Oddly, I think I appreciated this Sweet 16 party more than the majority of those girls on TV seem to appreciate their $50K or $100K bashes. (I didn't throw a single tantrum over getting a Lexus at the wrong time, like the girl I saw a clip of on The Soup. I'm not sure, but I think my gifts were more like...stationery and cassette tapes.) Better yet, my 16th birthday was not the best party I was to have until my wedding. I actually upped the ante with two parties for my 17th birthday--another silly park party with a Hawaiian theme, and a night out with some other friends at a clubby-type restaurant. Not sure I did one for 18, but I had a big party for 20. No Smurfs in sight that time...but I'm sure it was not a bit more elegant!

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