What is the origin of "Sweet 16 party"?

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meirman:
Does anyone know the origin or the meaning of a Sweet 16 party?

For example, why 16? Is it about being old enough to be trusted with the car keys, being old enough to date, old enough to marry. Just another excuse to have a party, and one that should be sufficiently early to not coincide with a HS graduation party?
Meirman
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Joe Fineman:
[nq:1]Does anyone know the origin or the meaning of a Sweet 16 party? For example, why 16? Is it about ... excuse to have a party, and one that should be sufficiently early to not coincide with a HS graduation party?[/nq]
"Sweet sixteen and never been kissed" is proverbial. Google has plenty of allusions to it, but I didn't find any origins.

The OED has a quotation for "sweet sixteen" in 1840 (O.W. Holmes the elder).

Joe Fineman (Email Removed)
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richard.chambers7:
[nq:1]Does anyone know the origin or the meaning of a Sweet 16 party?[/nq]The phrase "sweet sixteen" is counter-factual, as almost any parent will testify. My own daughter was sweet, very sweet, up to the age of 14. As soon as it became noticeable that her breasts were starting to bud, overnight she completely changed her character into that of a werewolf. If I said that two plus two equals four, she would dispute angrily. Things steadily got worse from the age of 14 to 16. At age 16, things reached the nadir. Her bedroom became a ***'s palace, with discarded clothing all over the floor.

I still do not understand where she got all these clothes from, because the amount of pocket money we gave was around the national average. But there they were, all over the floor, worn once then discarded, to a depth of 10 cm all over, but rising to 30 cm in "snowdrifts" near the walls. She would "borrow", without asking, my cardigans, which would then, after one wearing, become part of the clothing detritus on her floor, to be trodden on by everybody who visited her room.

A cheery "good morning" from myself would at times be met by a less than cheery "*** off" from her, and at other times by the unfounded accusation that I was a Victorian father, or a male chauvinist pig.
I would have liked to believe that a 16-year old girl of this description would never be kissed by any self-respecting young male. Surprisingly, this was not the case. She seemed to have no difficulty here, and indeed she had quite a following. This was probably because she adeptly changed character back into one of great sweetness, and some wit, whenever in male company of her own age. Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde would have been proud of her.

This phase of her behaviour lasted until she was 20. From that age onwards she gradually improved, returning to human form by about the age of 25. At age 27, she is once again sweet, this time in the style of a witty, well-educated young woman. But if anybody uses the phrase "sweet sixteen", my advice is not to believe it. Either she is not sweet, or she is not 16. The combination of these two terms is an impossibility.

Richard Chambers Leeds UK.
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Charles Riggs:
[nq:2]Does anyone know the origin or the meaning of a Sweet 16 party?[/nq]
[nq:1]The phrase "sweet sixteen" is counter-factual, as almost any parent will testify. My own daughter was sweet, very sweet, up to the age of 14. ... Her bedroom became a ***'s palace, with discarded clothing all over the floor.[/nq]
What a lovely way to refer to your daughter.
[nq:1]A cheery "good morning" from myself would at times be met by a less than cheery "*** off" from her, and at other times by the unfounded accusation that I was a Victorian father, or a male chauvinist pig.[/nq]
A greeting of "*** off" is precisely what you deserved. Good for her.
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Michael West:
[nq:2]The phrase "sweet sixteen" is counter-factual, as almost any parent ... a ***'s palace, with discarded clothing all over the floor.[/nq]
[nq:1]What a lovely way to refer to your daughter.[/nq]
I thought "***'s palace" might be a received phrase, but Google doesn't support that (you don't want
to go there).
The New Oxford says "***" can mean promiscuous
*or* untidy, so maybe you should cut him some slack.

On a related matter, there appears to be a widespread myth about brothels being untidy. I can't remember ever being inside one, but I've heard they are actually quite well-maintained as a rule.

Michael West
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richard.chambers7:
Do you have any personal experience of bringing up a 16 year old daughter with hormonal imbalance problems? Indeed, have you ever been responsible for a 16 year old daughter at all, even without the hormonal difficulties?

I am actually amazed at how well my daughter turned out in the end. An attractive, witty, cultured and well educated young lady, who any father would be proud of. But it took her a long time to get her hormones into balance. She was sweet 12, and is now sweet 27, but she was never, by any stretch of the imagination, sweet 16. She was an ogre. Most parents would describe a similar experience. The few that don't have been lucky.

Here in Yorkshire, a "***'s palace" is a very untidy room, run by a female who picks nothing, but nothing, up from the floor where it has been dropped. It is an accurate description. The term has been attacked as sexist, but it does have a male counterpart in the "slob's slophouse".

Richard Chambers Leeds UK.
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Robert Bannister:
[nq:1]bedroom[/nq]
[nq:2]What a lovely way to refer to your daughter.[/nq]
[nq:1]I thought "***'s palace" might be a received phrase, but Google doesn't support that (you don't want to go there). The New Oxford says "***" can mean promiscuous *or* untidy, so maybe you should cut him some slack.[/nq]
Until about the 1970s, I never heard '***' used in any way except with the meaning 'sloven'.

Rob Bannister
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Evan Kirshenbaum:
[nq:1]Until about the 1970s, I never heard '***' used in any way except with the meaning 'sloven'.[/nq]
Which, interestingly, MWCD10 derives as
perhaps from Flemish sloovin woman of low character

Evan Kirshenbaum + HP Laboratories >You gotta know when to code,
1501 Page Mill Road, 1U, MS 1141 > Know when to log out,Palo Alto, CA 94304 >Know when to single step,
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sand:
On 03 Aug 2003 18:00:28 -0700, Evan Kirshenbaum
[nq:2]Until about the 1970s, I never heard '***' used in any way except with the meaning 'sloven'.[/nq]
[nq:1]Which, interestingly, MWCD10 derives as perhaps from Flemish sloovin woman of low character[/nq]
In Robert Heinlein's novel "Farnham's Freehold" in which he envisions a future world controlled by black people and whites are slaves, the word "***" was appropriated to mean a white female.

Jan Sand
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