As you read this blog, I must warn that you will find, honest thoughts, ambitions, and hopes from my mind.
Watch any classic American TV show on teenagers at high school or college, and what do you see them do in their free time? Party! Or, if I write it according to how it is pronounced in said programmes, PARTAAYYYY!!!! Everybody gets dressed up when school finishes for the weekend and meets up, dancing and drinking the night away. It’s a vital part to growing up, it would seem.
That’s one of the downsides of going to a boarding school. You can’t go out partying with your friends every Saturday night. It’s sad to know that you’re sat in watching TV with teachers while across the country, people your age are raving the night away.
And that is probably one of the reasons that the House Dinner is regarded as such a major occasion in the school social calendar.
At the end of every academic year, when all the exams are finished, each boarding house has a huge House Dinner that takes place outside school. All of the students get dressed up in all their finery and flee the school grounds to a restaurant where they are met with a 3 course meal and a huge rave afterwards.
Now, I have unfortunately not blessed with an eye for style or fashion. I have never really seen the point in paying extravagant amounts of money for something you’ll wear once. But this year, for some crazy reason, I disregarded my beliefs in this matter and did just that.
And, my God, am I glad I did.
I have always admired Urban Outfitters. Entering that shop felt like stepping into a new dimension of interesting, unusual clothes, that are only to be worn by those with the boldness to be able to carry the unique style off. I’ve secretly dreamt of the day when my life would be made up of pure Urban Outfitters things. I’d wake up in my UO gorgeous, embroidered, thick quilt, strut across my UO fluffy rug, and select a fully UO outfit, from my black beanie on my ruffled hair to my studded creepers. Oh, one day I will make this a reality. But, alas, I had never bought anything from this blessed shop, having sadly put back clothes on the rail when staring at the huge 3-figure price, eyes blurred with tears.
As I was cruising through shops on the Internet searching for a dress, I decided to take a cheeky look at the Urban Outfitters website. There, I found the dress of my dreams. Sleeveless. Fairly short, but not too short – an acceptable length. Tight top half, with see through material above the chest and above the stomach, with black material covering my chest that led down to a loose, more flow-y skirt. The back had two triangle cut outs in the centre, and a huge chunky zip with more cut outs either side of it. It. Was. Beautiful. With delivery, it would cost £48 – an extreme price for a one occasion dress. I went to click away, sadness in my heart, when I stopped myself. Who said it had to be one occasion? I could wear it to parties in the future, to dinners, to dates – it’d be perfect! Without giving myself time to change my mind, I grabbed my debit card, filled out my details, and clicked ‘Order’. It was done.
I was nervous about the dress. It was an unusual dress, and very different to anything I’d dared to wear before. What if it didn’t suit me? What if I looked less like the svelte model on the website and more like a heffalump? What if my friends didn’t like it? I worried, and worried, and worried some more, regretting my impulsive decision. Upon it’s arrival, I tried it on. I stepped in front of the mirror with bated breath, and instantly fell in love with what I saw. It was perfect. I hung the dress up excitedly, and awaited the day.
The preparation for the House Dinner requires an entire afternoon, for the girls anyway. You have an extremely long shower, then moisturise, paint your nails, do your makeup and style your hair, before getting into your dress and choosing the perfect accessories and shoes.
I have an issue in this lengthy process – I don’t wear makeup. I lack the patience, the skill and the equipment that a lot of girls have in order to make themselves look beautiful daily. And so I called upon my dear friend Harley, who I know to be a makeup queen. She arrived, ready for this difficult challenge, and asked for my makeup, which I proudly set upon the desk. Gazing upon my limited collection, face aghast, she swept it all away and laid her own massive bag on the desk, exclaiming as she brought out a mass of concealers, foundations, mascaras, eyeliners, lipsticks, highlighters, lip glosses, and eye shadows. I swear this girl had more makeup than Boots does. Grabbing a brush, she set upon working on my travesty of a face. I sat patiently as my skin was attacked with various products. The result was unrecognisable. I gasped as I stared in the mirror – I never thought it was possible for me to look so… Good. My skin seemed flawless, my eyes were dark and edgy, my eyes as red as roses. I loved it.
But the task was not over yet! My hair was then straightened and suddenly I was hanging upside down with my the back of my head being vigorously attacked in the art of backbrushing. So much hairspray was sprayed that I thought I would surely faint, my mouth filled with the foul taste that made me want to throw up. Without a word, I was pushed into my room to get into my dress.
Each house’s House Dinner is always on a different night to the others, so each house has their night of glory where they stand waiting for the bus as other house members admire them and take countless photos. This is always my least favourite part. I feel so awkward and just want the bus to arrive quicker so I can leave as soon as possible without the awful photos. But arriving there that night, I loved it. I felt gorgeous – whether I looked it is a different matter, but the fact I felt it gave me so much confidence. My amazing friends ran over, complimenting me and demanding photos, making me feel so loved and happy. Eventually, the evil icy wind got the better of me and I scurried away into the first minibus that arrived with my friend Annie. Thank God it arrived when it did – if the wind had got any stronger, I fear my dress would have ended up over my head. Now that would have put a dampener on the night…
Arriving at the usual place, I was amazed at the decorations. Pink, purple and silver streamers lay amongst the tables, with some hanging from the ceiling. Taking my place at the high table (I finally got to sit there after 3 house dinners because I am a Sixth Former), I was excited to discover bubbles on the table. It would appear I was not as excited at this prospect as my much loved English teacher who was sat next to me and took to blowing all of her bubbles in the first 5 minutes, with the glee in her expression matching that of a young child.
I was so glad to be sat on the high table as it meant I got to talk to my aforementioned English teacher for the entire dinner. She is my favourite teacher at school and it was just lovely to be able to joke and laugh with her as you wouldn’t be able to with a teacher if you went to a day school. That’s something I do love about boarding school – that relationship you can build up with teachers so that they become almost your friends. It’s brilliant, and makes lessons a lot more enjoyable.
The dinner was exquisite. I had a delightfully smooth pâté, then a divine roast dinner and a thick, chocolatey fudge cake to finish. Washed down with some rose wine, it was a feast fit for a king.
After the dinner, we danced the night away. A few people murdered some classics on the karaoke – always entertaining. I got some more wonderful photos, not only with my own year, but also with the younger ones.
I’ve been in my boarding house for 4 years now, and although it isn’t my last year at the school, it is my last year in the house. Next year, my dorm and I shall move up into the Upper Sixth Formers House, for our final year in the school. To be perfectly honest, I’m dreading it. My boarding house is my home – my houseparents have become my family. I cannot imagine leaving them. The fact that this would be the last house dinner where I am actually a member of my house and not one who returns from the senior house was brought to my attention by my dear fellow Potterhead friend in Year 10, Amy, who hugged me and confessed that she would miss me next year. Had Harley not spent so long on my makeup, I would have burst into tears right then and there. Instead I blinked them away furiously and ignored this fact by dancing with Amy and taking many ridiculous photos with her, Annie and Aimee, determined to make this night a good and memorable one.
By the end of the night when we crawled into the house from the minibus, my feet were aching, my arms were sore and the beat of the music was still pounding furiously in my head. Struggling to find the strength to undress and pull my onesie on, I eventually flopped onto my bed, amid the chaotic mess in my room and sleep, all too well knowing that I must surely rise in 6 and a half hours.
Well, my dear readers, are you a party animal yourself? Or are you more satisfied staying in to watch the TV? Comment below! Much love to you all. Good night.