In some ways, the intergender sleepover is the Holy Grail of the teenage struggle against oppressive parenting and/or the need to get some. Please do not attempt this without first mastering either Girls' Sleepovers or Boys' Sleepovers.

The first obstacle in the way of this wonderful event is undoubtably the set of joyless, overprotective imbeciles that conspire to ruin every adolescent's life (TWAJS). Parents invariably will come up with spurious reasons for not allowing their 13 year-old daughter to stay the night unsupervised in the presence of teenage boys. The real reason is of course that teenagers, darkness and a lack of adults generally ends in the maternity ward.

However, by judicious use of the White Lie, it is a relatively simple affair to circumvent parents and at least make it to the sleepover. The rewards for doing so are simply astronomical.

Intergender Sleepover Checklist

Spin The Bottle

Regarded as somewhat lame in more mature circles, Spin The Bottle is nevertheless a good opening gambit, especially if you play it in conjunction with some lubrication. That's alcohol, y'all. Don't worry that you're too young - you won't get through much of it and it won't take much to get you rolling. And if you drink too much you'll soon learn. In any case, Spin The Bottle will culminate in at least one couple getting some good french kissing action.

Postman's Knock

Possibly a uniquely British game, Postman's Knock was a good standard in children's parties because of the simplicity of the rules. A 'postman' calls to one of the girls and asks them for either a kiss, a hug or a punch. Of course, this being Teenage Intergender Sleepovering, the choices are revised upwards - more adventurous games will offer the appealing prospect of french kiss, tit grope or flashing of the pussy. Of course, with the action occurring in a seperate room (typically the hall or lobby), there is apt opportunity for both lying and serious necking.

Truth Or Dare

A worldwide classic. Truth or Dare is great in a large group simply because of the peer group pressure. However, it also leads to some of the most impressive falsehoods ever devised. Canadian girlfriends with loose morals will magic themselves into the world, 21 year old Italian hunks will have suddenly romanced girls on trips to Europe, and three inches can instantly become 8. Truths are nearly always sexual, and there's never been a dare recorded that didn't involve either physical contact or removal of clothing.

Strip (Insert Game Here)

By this time, the assembled throng will be on the edge of their seats. The guys will all be desperatly trying to hide their... *ahem* ...excitement, while the girls will all be wriggling to alleviate the peculiar itching feeling. It's at this point that the proper course of events is that one game be played to strip rules. Strip Poker is the obvious one, but unless somebody present is in the habit of being hustled out of their pocket money every week by an older brother, nobody has a clue how to play. Strip Snap is fine for the mentally-deficient, but Strip Twister is possibly the king of all Strip games. This contest will invariably sort the exhibitionists and the well-developed from the shy and embarrassed, but this can help the process of coupling off. The game will usually end when the more adventurous of both sexes agree that they should all strip at the same time to save personal embarrassment. Once this is achieved, it is customary for one couple to be discovered either taking a shower together or in a state of undress in a darkened room.

The sleepover will then move into the quieter stage whereby a video, of either the erotic or horror genres, will be put on, and newly-formed couples will share sleeping bags, normally with a reduced level of conversation and a vastly-increased level of petting. Once the film has finished and the lights go out... well... just remember that these were exactly the sorts of boys your mom warned you about. The rest is up to you.

As a veteran of the teenage co-ed sleepover, I've got to come out in support of the whole idea. Yes, it invariably leads to at least one person doing something that they regret in the morning, but for the majority, it is a vital (not to say unbelievably enjoyable) part of growing up and learning about yourself, others and that big bad sex thing.

Wow, sounds like FastEddie had quite a time back in the day. I grew up with a much more subdued crowd, and coupled with the fact that I was as shy as a whale, I never saw anything like that kinda action at the parties and sleepovers I attended. Strip twister? Sheesh. Oiled no doubt?

But despite the lack of out-and-out sex, we kids still managed to have a great deal of fun crossing the various boundaries of adolescence. So for those of you who are less outgoing, or have more conservative friends, here are some other avenues to explore...

The Expedition
Sometimes there's a reaon - the booze has dried up, someone wants a fag - other times it's just spontaneous, but if you live anywhere other than a metropolis, this is a great thing to do. Guys get your coats on (you'll need them later, trust me) girls find some more realistic footwear to borrow, and out you go. If someone knows the area they can direct the ramble, but usually the best bet is simply to head off into the darkness, get away from the streetlights if you can, it begins to get cold. At this point the guys can offer the girls temporary lodging within coats, and with a little luck with the guy still inside. Someone should bring up the subject of serial killers, aliens, hauntings or wild beasts. Now is the time for stories, and possibly some lamp-post climbing. Don't drag it out too long though, someone will be cold, and someone will have stupid shoes on.

Playing with Fire
Fire is one of those things that everyone gets in a big state about because it's so easy to start and not necessarily so easy to stop. But if you've got enough brains to understand the risks, and the class cretin isn't around, now is the time to show off your powers. For you are the God of Hellfire, and you bring them... well, fire. Plastic bottle spirit engines, lighter tricks, match flicking, and if you're good, and you live in the country, perhaps some small homemade pyrotechnics. Just remember not to get too excited, and stay clear of the really dangerous stuff. If you've been stereotyped in your peer-group as 'science boy', this can be a way to win back some street cred. But remember to seem calm, confident, in control and don't go too far or you'll end up being 'freak boy' instead. If you're a girl you can do no wrong here. Girls who like fire get noticed. And sure, every year some kid burns down his house, that's just kids for you. Don't be that kid.

Drugs
Man, I can feel the downvotes already. Drugs are bad, ok? So naturally some of you will want to try some of that. Stick to the weed til you're rich and bored and you'll probably be ok. Bear in mind anyway, that really ciggarettes and booze fall under this category too, and there are far more booze related crimes than 'drugs' related ones. Everything in moderation.

Party Tricks
Can you spin a pencil round your hand? Do a good magic trick? Read "The Raven" well? Breakdance? Hypnotise people? Do one fingered pushups? Play piano really well? Juggle? Do flips? Freestyle? Do impressions? Now is the time! Being cool and distant is for school baby, now is the time for showing off! Just be careful not to become an attention whore. Nobody wants to be the clown. Do your coolness, take your moment of glory, then move aside and let someone else do their thing. If you find yourself competing directly, say arm wrestling the other strong girl, then, if it comes up, be a cool loser.

Make up a Song
You need to all be fairly merry for this, but it's a great way to bond with the gang. Use a well known melody such as we are sailing or irish rover, and base the lyrics on the events of the night, especially something adventurous or profound that happens during The Expedition (see above). The more stupidly silly the lyrics and the more nuanced the song "ssshh! quiet bit! shhhh!" the more fun it will be.

Do Battle
If it's summer then you are obliged by law to have a water fight, girls v boys. If the weather or time of year doesn't lend itself, then you have other options, such as a pillow fight or some such. These battles can often descend into tickle fights, which of course is a Good Thing, so go with that. Bear in mind that someone will almost certainly get hurt at least once, probably one of the girls, so try not to go too nuts, and if it happens to be you, try not to spoil the fun by making a big fuss. That's just the price of the fun. Someone somewhere has to pay, this time it was you. Very occaisionally some poor bugger will get a broken wrist or something and the party will be aborted early. Again, just go for it. It's worth the risk.

Assault Course
You think you're too cool to play anymore? Hah! Get a bunch of pillows, cushions off the sofa, matresses, bedclothes and so on, and turn the stairs into a dry slope, then practice your body surfing. Or just move everything breakable out of a room and turn it into a padded cell. Bounce for all you're worth! When you're good n' pissed, with members of the opposite sex joining in, this is pretty much the definition of fun. You'll come back to this in your late teens on the streets outside your local club, only there the assault course is made of concrete, and the police are there to spoil the fun.

Rough n Tumble
Following on from the previous items, you should all now be nicely bonded. You'll have figured out which girls are following you around, or which guy seems to want to keep picking you up, hopefully you'll approve enough to enjoy it, and just let it go where it's going. Keep it innocent, save the randiness for when the lights finally go out. For now, it's all about (i) carrying people and (ii) jumping on people. Guys, be careful not to squish the girls too violently, but they're not made of glass, and do enjoy a bit of a squeeze. If you find yourself at the bottom of a pile-on and it's getting a bit heavy, just stop moving. Hopefully someone will notice, and then you can pretend to be dead/unconscious/whatever, until someone does something like check your pulse whereupon you can get them to jump a good metre in the air if you move right. Beware though that a punishment pile-on is on the cards, and the boy who cried wolf got squished into paté.

Speak to the Dead
Where would we be without a good seance? Doing homework is where. And do you want to be doing homework? Right then. Ad hoc ouija boards are more fun than commercial ones. Get the atmosphere right by using the right materials - wooden table, upturned wine glass - get the lights down, candles are even better, and get spooky.

Bedtime
By now you've pretty much destroyed the house. The parents weren't in so it's ok for now, and if you're good pals, you'll help rebuild in the morning. The resident will probably have designated a sleeping area or some such, but usually this is ignored, as small couples and groups try to find private spots and people crash where they sit. A number of you won't be coupled up, or won't want to be off alone somewhere anyway, so group together and bed down in a room somewhere. Turn off the lights. And then...

Don't Sleep
What, did you think it was over? Hell no! Prepare for singing, group poetry, word games, mind games, jokes, storytelling, raucous laughter, romantic and sexual revelations, suspicious noises, pleading ("Please will you let me sleep? I will give you money...") and lots and lots of giggling, until everyone has a sore throat, burning eyes, and at least two people are apparently suffering from delirious, exhausted hallucinations.

=sigh=

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