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A Blast from the Past: The 1989 Party Scene at B-CC

He went on to say, “If you were a B-CC student, underclassman or upperclassman, there was always a party for you somewhere during Friday night or the weekends.”
B-CC Archives
The 1980s party scene has captured B-CC students’ imaginations over time. B-CC alumni, in an undated photo, attend a 1980s-themed dance.

Some students cited for this story have asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of this topic. It is The Tattler’s policy not to use anonymous sources unless all other avenues have been exhausted. We would also like to clarify that The Tattler does not condone underage drinking, which is illegal in Maryland.

The ’80s brought a variety of subcultures to life, and B-CC was no exception. Whether a jock, cheerleader, stoner, or nerd, everyone partied together no matter the group or grade level. John Mobile, B-CC class of 1989 said, “Parties were way more inclusive [then] than now. You could just show up. There were no guest lists or exclusivity where you got kicked out unless the host had an issue with you.” He went on to say, “If you were a B-CC student, underclassman, or upperclassman, there was always a party for you somewhere during Friday night or the weekends.”

Social dynamics in the ’80s were different from today’s, with no smartphones or social media. Mobile said, “If you wanted to find out about the latest party, you relied on word of mouth, phone calls, or hearing people talk about it outside of C-steps while smoking.” Bennett Upston, B-CC class of 1989 states, “The word would get out easily and the most people that showed up at a party was over 100, but it was mostly just B-CC kids that partied with each other.”

The students of B-CC in the ’80s knew how to have a good time, and their party scene was legendary. Bill Stone, B-CC class of 1989 states, “The music was usually rock or go-go and it was just like the party scene from the John Hughes classic 16 Candles.” Mobile adds, “House parties were popular, and sometimes people would show up at Columbia Country Club’s golf course and have an impromptu party at the ninth hole. No one really cared back then. The cops let us kids have a good time, unlike today.” 

The party culture at B-CC in 2023 stands in stark contrast to the ‘80s. The advent of the digital age and the widespread use of smartphones have transformed the way teenagers plan, attend, and document their parties. Layla Hamzaoui, a current B-CC senior, said, ”Social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have become essential tools for organizing and promoting parties. Invitations are now digital, and events can go viral within hours when the party’s address is leaked on people’s stories, or states open invite.”

One of the most notable shifts in B-CC’s party culture is a heightened focus on safety and responsibility. In the ‘80s, parties often took place with minimal adult supervision, and excessive drinking and drug use were not uncommon. Upston said, “There was a lot of pot smoking that took place.” Mobile added, “Some people also did acid, but it was mainly just alcohol like Milwaukee’s Best/The Beast and Budweiser.” This is in contrast to today, when a current B-CC junior said, “We mainly drink Trulys, White Claws, Twisted Teas, or hard lemonade because hard alcohol is usually looked down on when it’s a more contained party. I’ve seen people sneak in flasks filled with vodka to combat that.”

Stone says, “I used to throw some pretty big parties when my parents were out of town. It wasn’t that big of a deal. It was pretty easy to get alcohol by pooling money from our group and either using fake IDs, getting someone older to buy it for us, or waiting outside of the store and asking passersby to buy it for us. There was also a place called Dunmores, and Tenley Market that didn’t care about fake IDs or underage drinking.” A current B-CC senior says, “Most people use their fake IDs now and go clubbing or to bars instead of going to house parties. Few people are able to have successful parties without it getting shut down early by nosey neighbors.”

Parents are more actively involved in ensuring parties are safe environments for students. Hamzaoui said, “Some of the house parties I’ve gone to have parents watching from afar, or a bouncer to keep unwanted guests out to ensure responsible behavior.” There’s also a greater emphasis on educating students about the risks associated with substance use now. Hamzaoui added, “In health class, we were taught about the negative results of irresponsible behavior and substance use, but people still engage in those behaviors, nonetheless.”  

The ’80s party scene in some ways was similar to now, but overall, it seems there was more freedom and laid-back energy that allowed the older generation to be able to have the big blowout parties that teens now can only dream of through popular movies like “Project X” and “Superbad.” Even though the Bethesda social scene has changed over the past 40 years, B-CC students continue to party.

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About the Contributor
Lucy Dahl
Lucy Dahl, Staff Reporter
Lucy Dahl, a B-CC senior, serves as a Tattler writer and specializes in Opinion and Features. She hopes to someday be a travel journalist and live somewhere tropical.

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  • Y

    Yassy NaficyJan 30, 2024 at 9:29 am

    As a Freshman and Sophomore my best friends and i, being girls, would go to Senior parties and it was definitely like 16 Candles. In those days parents left their Gen X kids totally unattended hence the raging parties and our house becoming known as “the party house” … the police gave up at one point and a parent came over and grabbed his son by the collar and dragged him off! Broken furniture was not uncommon. Also there were so many more snow days, leading to cases of beer being acquired from Tenleytown or elsewhere the norm. Kids are safer these days but something must be said for freedom and becoming independent, and being able to talk to your kids more effectively as Gen X parents. I just remember the 80s as one huge fun decade. Too much fun? Never!

  • D

    DB ‘90Jan 29, 2024 at 11:33 am

    I would say many school policies changed after the late 80’s. People used to go to dances every other week after the football games. Pregaming in basements like “The Hell Pit” got people fired. Go-Go was king and there was some great rock/hair bands. SGA had their own office and officers had their own key. We messed that up for the future classes. As much fun as we had the 70’s put us to shame.

  • D

    David BardachJan 28, 2024 at 12:08 pm

    Nobody partied like the class of ‘89! Those parties were legendary! Billy Stone always through the best parties and the Columbia Country Club nights were legendary until The cops came that one night and messed it up forever!