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Author Topic: Key Parties
A Cat Named Easter
Catfish on a Hot Tin Roof


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My wife watched an episode of "Cold Case" the other week in which key parties were an integral part of the plot. We discussed the episode later, specifically how their (older) children's awareness contributed to the plot and how sometimes it's just not a good idea for your kids to know about your sex life.

Anyway, it got me to thinking. I suspect key parties weren't as common as we have been led to believe, if any ever occurred at all. My own parents were pretty "free-spirited" in the 70's and if they were involved in anything like that, they did a pretty good job of keeping it from me. Anecdotal evidence, I know, but they were certainly involved in other (from my current perspective) inappropriate behaviors that they weren't so careful about hiding.

Another thought: I like to believe my wife and I are fairly open-minded people who live in a reasonably progressive community. We have good relationships with many of our new neighbors. There are frequent social gatherings (every month or so) involving alcohol and conversations invariably turn "adult". Still, I just can't imagine anyone stepping up and saying "Hey! I've got a great idea!", let alone anyone else saying "Sure, let's go for it!".

Were things really that much different 30 to 40 years ago? What do you think? Did Key Parties ever happen, or were they just the fantasies of middle class suburbanites, hot for their neighbors?

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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I doubt key parties were as common as they were made out to be, but I don't think they were complete fantasies, either. Based on absolutely no evidence, just my own supposition, I think there were probably some real key parties and a lot of gossip about key parties that never really happened.

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BeachLife
The Bills of St. Mary's


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You know I grew up in the 70s and the first I heard of key parties was in the movie IceStorm (1997). Since then I've seen it depicted serveral times, all in more recent movies or television shows. I imagine they happened, but I don't think they were nearly as common as hollywood wants us to believe.

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Cervus
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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What's a key party?

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pinqy
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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General version (as in The Ice Storm): the men put their car keys in a hat, the women pick out the keys at random and go home with the man whose key they picked.

pinqy

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Syllavus
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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A key party is when everyone puts their keys in a basket as they arrive at the party, then when it's time to go home, they randomly reach in to the basket and go home with whomever's keys they get. Sort of like swinging with a system to decide who swings with whom. I'm sure this probably happened, but I doubt it was common.

ETA: Spanked by pinqy, my apologies to ali. [Embarrassed]

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Ana Ng
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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How does one get that started? Sounds terrifying!

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Jay Tea
The "Was on Sale" Song


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The swinging scene in the UK was huge in the seventies, and with modern networking it's even bigger now. I wouldn't discount so readily the popularity of bonking the neighbours [lol]

Richie: Where have you been?

Eddie: I've been to a car swapping party.

Richie: A car swapping party.

Eddie: Yeah, it's great. All the men stand round in a circle and throw their wives in the middle. Then you pick the one you want, and she escorts you to your car.

Richie: Eddie, you're not married.

Eddie: I know, that's why I came home on the bus.


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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Jay Tea:
The swinging scene in the UK was huge in the seventies, and with modern networking it's even bigger now. I wouldn't discount so readily the popularity of bonking the neighbours [lol]

There seems to be quite a large and active swinging scene in the US too. What I discount is not the possibility of bonking the neighbors, but of key parties being widespread among groups of people who weren't into the swinging scene and had nothing in common except being neighbors. Which is pretty much how it's presented in The Ice Storm.

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A Cat Named Easter
Catfish on a Hot Tin Roof


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Thank you, Lainie.

There I was trying to compose an intelligent response and you went and took the words right out of my mind. Of course, you arranged them much more elegantly.

I also wanted to add: If I'm not mistaken, the swinging scene tends to frown on that kind of arrangement. Too many opportunities for misunderstandings and hurt feelings (at the very least).

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I am the bringer of dreamless sleep.

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RainyDaze
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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This key swap thing sounds so random. But beyond that, just how common is having it on with the neighbors and doing it openly with the SO's knowledge and without causing a break up?

Secret trysts I can understand. Not approve of mind you, but understand. The whole concept is just so alien to me.

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frogpond
Jingle Sales


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quote:
Originally posted by RainyDaze:
This key swap thing sounds so random. But beyond that, just how common is having it on with the neighbors and doing it openly with the SO's knowledge and without causing a break up?

Secret trysts I can understand. Not approve of mind you, but understand. The whole concept is just so alien to me.

Yeah, what are the odds of two people that are totally unattracted to each other ending up together? This doesn't sound like a good idea by any stretch of the imagination.

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by RainyDaze:
This key swap thing sounds so random. But beyond that, just how common is having it on with the neighbors and doing it openly with the SO's knowledge and without causing a break up?

To clarify, both spouses/SOs would attend the key party and participate in the swap. Wifey would go home with whomever's keys she picked out, and hubby would take home whoever picked out his keys.

But as I've already said, I don't think it was common.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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Phaedra
Jingle Bell Hock


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When my parents had parties in the sixties people put their keys in a large dish in the hallway and I remember jokes I didn't understand about who was taking whose keys on the way home. I was allowed to be around for a while but was always packed off to bed long before the parties ended so I don't what transpired. It was probably just humour generated by the Profumo scandal that was raging in the UK at the time.

Aside from not wanting to contemplate my parents being involved in key parties (I just can't imagine my mother agreeing to get her kit off ... don't doubt my father would have been game) I'm a bit puzzled. Most of the guests were driven to the house....soooo did the chauffeurs get to choose who went home with who? The more I think of it the odder it seems...if they had chauffeurs why were the car keys brought into the house? Oh glory ...maybe they were key parties. I'm not going to think about that any more who knows what I might remember next.
[Eek!]

More recently I was quite surprised when a young, single, man I know said he'd been involved in the swinging scene for a while. He says the scene is thriving in the UK and very easy to get into via the web.


quote:
What I discount is not the possibility of bonking the neighbors, but of key parties being widespread among groups of people who weren't into the swinging scene and had nothing in common except being neighbors. Which is pretty much how it's presented in The Ice Storm.
I agree Lainie, it sounds pretty far fetched. How many of your neighbours would you want to get down and dirty with? My choices are as follows

90 year old and his portly son.
Miserable, mean spirited, retired accountant (can't stand the sight of him. Grrrr).
Snooty couple (woman permanently looks like she has just got a whiff of something very unsavoury).
Maths professor, nice chap but always so plastered he's barely coherent.
Bumptious Conservative councilor/wanna be mayor.
Charming, devoutly religious couple who have kindly informed me that they pray for my soul on a regular basis. (I think that may be a subtle hint to me to not entertain so often).

Not exactly key party material eh! [Wink]

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Fowlplay
The First USA Noel


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Funny, I'd never heard of this until now and I consider myself fairly well versed in debauchery. A brief google search turned up this gem:

Key Party

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kitoboo
Deck the Malls


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I was in my 20s during the 70s. While I heard rumors and jokes about keyparties I suspect they existed mainly in letters to "Playboy".
It was the time of the "sexual revolution" and "free love" and many strange things did happen then but no, key parties were not common.

-kitoboo

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ComicBookGeek
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I've personally been to a few parties where you drop your keys in the hat upon entering. Of course, that was to prevent impaired driving.

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franjava
Deck the Malls


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I would think this happens, not so much among neighbours, but among a circle of friends found through swinging clubs, internet, etc. I do NOT want to "get my freak on" with any of MY neighbours!!! [Eek!]

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jessboo
The First USA Noel


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Slight hijack, but there's a key party in The Grinch. In Whoville, ffs! Will somebody please think of the children!

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Do you have any wine? All of this would go a lot smoother in an altered state of reality.

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Bach_girl
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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My grandma is...73 I think...

Anyway- back in the day, when they bought their home it was in a neighborhood of VA houses. A great majority of their neighbors were also young couples with young children. They all became friends and had parties quite often, and according to my grandmother, and stories my grandfather told us when he was around- these parties got pretty wild.

My great grandmother would go over there too and apparently she was known for standing on the picnic table and singing songs from the telephone book...lol.

Anyway...I have asked her several times jokingly if any of these were key parties- and she just smiled and said yes- but she never put her keys in the pile. She says one of the neighbor guys was really funky and she was afraid somehow she would get stuck with him.

She always talks about how back then neighbors really spent a lot of time together, they carpooled, partied, had dinners, etc. These days neighbors usually avoid each other.

More antedote than data, but interesting nonetheless.

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defrostmode
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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yeah, that wouldn't exactly work here (besides being something my wife and I wouldn't do).

my neighbors are:
-a family we've never even talked to, but they seem to get in arguments alot
-an elderly couple
-a lesbian and her kids
==and last but not least==
-a couple that my wife thinks are making meth

not exactly my top choices of who I'd be with regardless if we did that sort of thing.

also, Were there no single people back then? or were the single neighbors just not invited?

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Bach_girl:
My grandma is...73 I think.... . . She always talks about how back then neighbors really spent a lot of time together, they carpooled, partied, had dinners, etc. These days neighbors usually avoid each other.

It really varies by neighborhood and neighbor as well as time. My mom is 87; she and my dad never socialized with their neighbors, although they knew people who did.

And some neighborhoods nowadays, including mine, feature quite a bit of social interaction. Except during the depths of winter, when we hardly see each other. [Wink]

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evilrabbit
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by jessboo:
Slight hijack, but there's a key party in The Grinch. In Whoville, ffs! Will somebody please think of the children!

I don't remember that, but I'm guessing it's not actually a Key Party. I would guess it's more a case of "collecteverybody's keys so we know no one drives home drunk".

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NeeCD
Happy Holly Days


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I grew up in the 70's, too, and I first heard of key parties while watching "That 70's Show" a few years ago. I just can't imagine relying on the luck of the draw to decide who I'd go home with. I have a fairly relaxed view of things like this, but I still like to decide for myself who I'm gettin' naked with.

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AdamsOffOx
I Am Curious, Yellowtail


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Single people didn't live in the suburbs back then.
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Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I distinctly remember walking out of the theater after The Ice Storm and wondering out loud if key parties were real. The two friends I was with said they thought they probably were real, but uncommon. Makes sense to me. Tellingly, I only know of one person around my age (i.e. born in the early '70s and thus not old enough to remember them, but close) who hasn't seen that movie but knows what key parties were.

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Swept away by my feelings, ashamed and confused
But just now it's enough to be walking with you
Let the mystery play as it will! -Lui Collins

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Biggles
I Saw Three Shipments


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Common? No, but the horrible thought is that my parents probably did it. When I was young in the early 70's, my parent lived in a new suburb with lots of other young families.. a so called 'nappy valley' pretty far from downtown with few buses and dad took the only car. I remember the small cul-de-sac we lived had a dozen or so brand houses & new gardens and lawns around it.

Only this year, while quite drunk & emotional my 60 something year old mother confessed that my younger brother (who looks noticeable different from my sister and I) may not my father's. She didn't go into many details, but when my brother and I had a de-brief after a fairly intense conversation, the father could have been one of several neighbours. She claimed at the time that the street had parties where everybody "shared.. everything".

I chicked out on following up with my mother when she was sober.. we aren't that close and some stuff I really don't want to know about.

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Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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quote:
Common? No, but the horrible thought is that my parents probably did it.
Don't worry, parents never have sex at all, ever. It's the stork, I tell you!

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/Troberg

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Ramblin' Dave, quietly making noise
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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quote:
Originally posted by Troberg:
Don't worry, parents never have sex at all, ever. It's the stork, I tell you!

Hence the punchline of one of my favorite dirty jokes. A kid asks his mother where babies come from and she says the stork. Then the little boy asks, "Yeah, well then who f***ed the stork?!"

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Another lifetime I'd have fallen in love with you
Swept away by my feelings, ashamed and confused
But just now it's enough to be walking with you
Let the mystery play as it will! -Lui Collins

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jessboo
The First USA Noel


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quote:
Originally posted by evilrabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by jessboo:
Slight hijack, but there's a key party in The Grinch. In Whoville, ffs! Will somebody please think of the children!

I don't remember that, but I'm guessing it's not actually a Key Party. I would guess it's more a case of "collecteverybody's keys so we know no one drives home drunk".
I really don't think so. It's not a totally innocent film- in one part where a baby arrives, the dad says something like "honey, he looks just like your boss!". It's blatantly a key party- the camera zooms in on them putting their keys in a bowl. If it were about drink-driving, they'd say something about it, not just leave you to guess. Anyway, that's a bit of a random moral to put in a kids' film.

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hoitoider
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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I still remember MAD's parody of 'The Love Boat', 'The Lust Boat':

Passenger: I'm so excited to be on this cruise!
Mulie: Here, have one of these. (puts a bowl in front of her)
Passenger: Oh, is this a bowl of chips?
Mulie: No, it's a bowl of cabin keys. Pick one & start having some fun!

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Lainie
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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quote:
Originally posted by Biggles:
Only this year, while quite drunk & emotional my 60 something year old mother confessed that my younger brother (who looks noticeable different from my sister and I) may not my father's. She didn't go into many details, but when my brother and I had a de-brief after a fairly intense conversation, the father could have been one of several neighbours. She claimed at the time that the street had parties where everybody "shared.. everything".

[Eek!]

quote:
I chicked out on following up with my mother when she was sober.. we aren't that close and some stuff I really don't want to know about.
Even if you were "that close," would you really want to know about her and the neighbors, and your brother's questionable paternity? Yikes.

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How homophobic do you have to be to have penguin gaydar? - Lewis Black

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ChelleGame
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


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quote:
Originally posted by jessboo:
quote:
Originally posted by evilrabbit:
quote:
Originally posted by jessboo:
Slight hijack, but there's a key party in The Grinch. In Whoville, ffs! Will somebody please think of the children!

I don't remember that, but I'm guessing it's not actually a Key Party. I would guess it's more a case of "collecteverybody's keys so we know no one drives home drunk".
I really don't think so. It's not a totally innocent film- in one part where a baby arrives, the dad says something like "honey, he looks just like your boss!". It's blatantly a key party- the camera zooms in on them putting their keys in a bowl. If it were about drink-driving, they'd say something about it, not just leave you to guess. Anyway, that's a bit of a random moral to put in a kids' film.
Sounds about right -- an attempt to amuse the parents watching the movie, and meant to not be understood by the kids.

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Michelle

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inkiemouse
Let It Wasabi


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You guys' definition is a lot better than the one I heard of a few months ago.

The way I've heard it, it's the same deal with the party and the keys in the bowl, but you go home with the couple whose key you picked up...

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LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


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quote:
my neighbors are:
-a family we've never even talked to, but they seem to get in arguments alot
-an elderly couple
-a lesbian and her kids
==and last but not least==
-a couple that my wife thinks are making meth

Oh, definitely the last one.

I mean...

--------------------
"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

Posts: 3239 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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