Monthly Archives: August 2006

promages in the dark

I was looking at photos from a recent night promtastic in SFO and I wished I had gone, even if I didn’t exactly promsumate.

First, because the kids, esp the boys, looked like they were at their 10 yr HS reunion. Those have their own appeal and tension, but it’s different from prom night.

I would have been happy to show them the ropes, 80’s style. I could have squeezed into my Gunne Sax cornflower blue jacquard taffeta gown with the off-the shoulder ruffle (see, I am old school), and revealed more than cleavage- I could have let them know I was my senior class prom queen. But don’t hate me because I got the roses. Read on.

The high points of my evening involved dolling up my friends in the living room and sending them and their 18 colors of expertly blended eyeshadow circa ’84 into a town only recently under the sway of cable and MTV. Cracking up with my pro-chem bud and her boyfriend. Talking to everyone except my sullen boyfriend. Dancing with my girlfriends. And the little surprise and delight to hear my name called for the court. (It’s not clear to me, to this day, who chose, though we were told it was the Band. I can tell you it was not elected.)

Low points included getting my period on the way out the door (literally crossing the threshhold, running back for pads and a full bottle of aspirin), taking off my shoes so boyfriend would not feel short in photos. Having no kindly physical contact with the boyfriend until my name was called, at which point he realised he was my date, and decided to get all pda. Getting dumped that night by same boyfriend as he dropped me off.

In the tech and feminist circles (where there are few intersections), the title is a dubious honor transformed by the fact that I was booed by the senior class upon coronation. And not a little murmur, mind you.Getting booed and called a f***ing dog by a classmate’s date (who went on to establish a criminal record as well as claim injury in the Catholic clergy sex abuse scandals in Boston). The queen is smart? Long live the queen? Yeah, as long as she gets out of town, she’ll live.

So, what if the unironic delight at possibilities at the prom could be preserved? For me, anticipation and dancing were enough. There is still that nearly-clueless part of me that says something fun and wonderful can happen when we’re playing contemporary dress-up, though much of that ends up being staged as weddings these days. All too often, they aren’t as much fun. I think grownups taking back the prom isn’t a bad idea, just as long as the dudes put on tuxes. C’mon cuties, give us something to really smile at.

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Filed under disco, pat benatar, prom, the 80's, Uncategorized, women