As always, we had "no particular place to go", so early in high school we would spend most of the evening in the parking lot of the local grocery store (we didn't have 24 hour stores then). Most of the night was spent sitting on the hood of the car checking out the guys on the other side of the lot and they would spend their time checking us out. Once in a while someone would drive by and remind someone of some juicy gossip, or a carload of guys from a different town would pass through leaving us with talk of which guy was the best looking and trying to guess where they were from.
As we ventured further into high school this just did not cut it any more, so we would pile in the car and drive to the bigger towns and "cruise the gut". Now there was somewhat of a ritual of the goings on before we began cruising. First of all was the car wash - the car HAD to be clean to even get guys to look your way. Secondly we would go to the drive-in hamburger joint and have something to eat so we could endure the hours of cruising. My specialty was usually shrimp in a basket. All of their meals came in a basket - a plastic basket made to look like a woven basket with paper laid in it with your food on top. Always a ton of french fries and of course a soft drink served in a real glass mug. You would have to roll up your window about 3 to 4 inches so they could attach a tray to the outside of your car with your food piled on it. After eating, you would start up your car and that would cue the waitress you were ready to leave and she would come to the car and lift up the tray and off you would go.
There was a 30 minute drive to Lansing from our tiny town, so we had time to smoke cigarettes and slug down some Boones Farm wine. The alcohol content was weak but it loosened us up enough to actually talk to others and insure we had a good time (at least that is what we believed to be true). We would discuss the probability of some of our favorites being there and hope we could actually stop and talk to them.
Upon arrival there would be 6 blocks of cars loaded with people our ages with no particular place to go. We would drive down the street - two lanes going in opposite directions - each going about 5 or 10 miles per hour and would hang out the windows and talk to the guys (and an occasional friendly girl) going in an opposite direction. The cars carried fares of guys with horrible pick-up lines, hunks you dreamed about that would just look knowing your heart was aching to talk to them, to others with whom you traded insults. The cruising would last from about 9:30 until midnight and then the "gut" would become empty again until next Friday.
The ride home was always a noisy one with everyone talking about the people we had seen. We went there to meet guys but what we really gained was some great friendships with other girls and of course, a strong feeling of independence. Together we went, together we left, and stayed together the entire time. Pretty cheap evening as our meals would cost less than $2.00 and gasoline was 35 cents per gallon at the time. The Boones Farm was $1 a bottle plus whatever we paid the person who bought it for us and cigarettes were about 50 cents a pack. Today I have some great memories of those days and when I run into some of my old cronies we talk about "cruising the gut" and struggle to remember the names of the guys we felt we couldn't live without.