momlogic's Vivian: Who better to ask about what to expect than two of the stars of TV Land's "High School Reunion"? Sure, they got four-star TV treatment on location in Hawaii -- but nerves are a universal issue.
Take Cyndi, the former picked-on nerd who is now a REALLY attractive mom of four. "I kind of knew they wouldn't remember me," she says. "Then I thought, what would happen if none of them did? I'd be the oddball of the reunion. With all the cameras on me, and wearing the dress ... it was awkward. I'm usually the mom in the ponytail at Walmart. It was weird and stressful."
To deal, she decided to go with the flow. "I thought, 'Don't let these people do what they did in high school,'" she says. "I have stubborn streak in me, and I kind of pulled from that. I realized that moms don't usually get a two-week break in Hawaii. I thought, 'Enjoy it while you can. Even if no one remembers you or wants to be around you, just make it a good time.'"
High school kids can be beasts. Facing those bullies who brought you down -- years after you've worked hard to get back up! -- can be another pre-reunion stressor. Eric wasn't out in high school, but he is now. (He and his husband have been together for more than thirteen years and have a 7-year-old son.) Eric saw this adventure as the perfect opportunity to confront John, his former tormentor -- even if it didn't go the way he'd hoped at first. "I had a blast at my regular reunion," Eric says. "If not for the show, I probably wouldn't have talked to John. But in doing the show, I saw it as an opportunity to let him know how he [had] made me feel with his words and his actions. I was looking forward to the opportunity."
With all the time that's gone by, it's quite likely you'll find new common ground with unexpected alumni. For example, Eric and John managed to turn things around. "After that first day, we actually got along," says Eric. "He made me laugh, and I actually hung out with him a couple of times after we taped the show."
Cyndi and Eric seriously bonded over being parents. "Eric being gay but with a child ... we really almost related in a mother-to-mother way," says Cyndi. "[That] surprised me, because I don't really have a lot of gay male friends."
So: You've got the hot shoes, the killer dress, the full facial makeup ... now, be sure to work a positive attitude when you walk through that front door. "The biggest thing is to relax and be yourself," says Eric. "If you're comfortable in who you are, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. If people have a problem, that's their issue."
And the take-home? Cyndi says she learned that being popular has its stressors, too.
"In high school, I thought the popular crowd had it all," she says. "But in doing the show and getting to know them, I found out they had been having just as much stress keeping that popular role. My oldest dealt with a lot of name-calling, but my 13-year-old is in that popular crowd. Now I'm trying to be sensitive to my younger daughter's position, too. I always tell her to make sure she looks out for the nerd and doesn't hurt people, and to be as beautiful on the inside as [she is] on the outside."
Don't miss the season finale of "High School Reunion" tonight at 10 PM!
|Vivian Manning-Schaffel has written for Babble, Parenting, The Advocate, The New York Post, Business Week and a variety of other publications and lives and works in the heart of breeder Brooklyn with her husband and two kids. She authors two pop culture blogs: The Mad Mom and A Hag Supreme, and is on the web at vivianmanningschaffel.com.|