party etiquette in the early sixties
There were two ways to get into an invite only party – score an invitation or convince yourself that yours was lost in the mail because all your mates got one then slip inside with them. Who’s going to notice the ring-in when five young blokes with highly attractive girls on their arms enter the room?
The father of the babe throwing the party, that’s who. Usually a war veteran who had spent his formative years chasing the Japanese through the jungles of the South West Pacific or a thick-armed ex-merchant seaman with less than fond memories of the bars and brothels of Port Said.
Men with the eyes of an eagle and ready to respond with murderous intent if any one of these Bondi deadbeats so much as glanced unhealthily at their daughter. Their beautiful and highly desirable daughter who did not suffer the same parental inconvenience when she examined the same deadbeats for any sign of intellectual life.
This was 1961 and the wild marijuana found growing along all Maitland’s waterways hadn’t yet been officially noticed by the authorities and little coloured pills were taken for headaches .. so parties were sober affairs for anyone under the legal drinking age. But that didn’t mean one or two of the lads weren’t beyond lifting one of the old man’s Scotch bottles from his liquor cabinet as the night drew on and slipping away into the backyard where another invitation to another function took place.
From which some interior carnage sometimes eventuated and any hastily eaten chicken chow mien with fried rice prior to the engagement was summarily rejected … this set of circumstances could sometimes be used to the advantage of the uninvited if the unfortunate individual – now faced with a mess of unwholesome splatter on his shirt, jeans and shoes – set aside any plans to rejoin the party inside thus leaving his young lovely without any proper and lasting companionship for the remainder of the evening.
We were a generation of fast movers in this respect.
Prior to this windfall, our single uninvited yahoo used his time to circulate amongst his mates’ girlfriends while their boyfriends were standing around the gramophone singing along with Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps.
It’s a little known fact that party-time in the early sixties was not only free from drug taking – generally speaking – most attempts at intimacy were done fully clothed .. surfers were modest in that regard and some parts of the male and female anatomy were completely off limits .. particularly with a large and unreasonably suspicious war veteran on patrol around the house.
These lads liked to come in late and mob-handed – all but overcoming dear old dad who by this stage had taken in a little sauce himself and was retired to the study and listening to his Dave Brubeck albums.
One of the problems was that in a small coastal hamlet such as Bondi where everyone knew everyone was most of the crashers were known to be close and personal friends of most of the invitees so that when they began to distribute themselves about the house ransacking anything of value and punching holes in the walls it was a case of either joining in or slipping away before the coppers arrived.
Which provided another problem in that the South Bondi Boardriders club’s membership was heavily weighted by members of both the gaming and vice squads, not to mention half of the uniforms who worked out of the Bondi Police Station.
These were the times we lived in, when surfing relationships were both inter-generational and intricately intertwined in an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding.
Ask anyone who was there.