After dark the shadow people walk
It’s another world
Playing Valentino, trying to get a kiss
From the trendy girl
– Nick Gilder
This week I will continue my little promenade down the nightmare lane of repressed memories to finish my tragic comedy/docudrama – Prom night. Last week ended with the emasculating male ritual of dissecting the dinner tab. Sure to impress the girls. The six of us then fled the restaurant like it was on fire. Partly because we were excited to get to the prom and partly because we didn’t want to witness the waiter hold his hand under the lip of the table in order to rake in his coin shrapnel tip. We loaded into the LeBaron, with three in the front and three in the back. It had already been determined on the way to the restaurant that my date would sit in the back, so as not to off balance the legroom equilibrium. This may have been easier to swallow had she not been the one to suggest it. My friend then proceeded to insert a Haywire cassette into my tape deck, which I immediately ejected and tossed out my open window. My car – my music, so you may as well sit back and embrace the melodic angst of punk rock.
We soon arrived at Parkside’s parking lot and joined a team of revellers busy chugging peach schnapps and Rockaberrys, (the original Brewers Retail beer coolers.) After forty minutes of competitive drinking and high fives, we rehearsed our “sober walk,” popped some “Freshen up” gum (syrup in the middle) and approached the school’s entrance with trepidation. Infiltrating past the crack team of chaperones while inebriated was akin to crossing the border with produce in your trunk. Just. Act. Cool. We passed through without being strip-searched and were instantly regaled with a lavish view of the decorated cafeteria. Sure, it was the same old cafeteria that I dined on soy burgers, but tonight there were streamers and foil!! We paid homage to Motley Crue and snuck a smoke in the boy’s room and then lined up for our prom photos.
I had a habit of dating petite girls, and my date for the prom fit the bill. She wore a slim red dress and with her teased 80s hair she looked like a young Nancy Reagan. Unfortunately, for me, she also shared the same “Just say no” agenda at the after party. I recently dug up a bunch of old photos and discovered this one. I towered over her and in the photo, I’m draped over her like a hunter trophying his kill. We look like Ricardo Montalban and Herve Villechaize welcoming guests to Fantasy Island. Except, I don’t remember Mr Roarke ever having a Dead Kennedys pin on his lapel.
These events were gold to me because I have always been a fan of watching people. Tonight was epic. The preppy girls were all grandstanding about their Falcon Crest influenced gowns, while the rocker chicks all looked like Jo Polniaczek going to her first Eastland Academy formal, navigating their high heels like loosened figure skates. Some of the girls pronounced their steps like they were testing the pond to see if it was frozen yet. This was comedy gold. Of course, the guys all looked the same, except for the occasional dissident Miami Vice time capsuled white linen ensemble with fluorescent t-shirt and no socks.
Now, I already chronicled the whole dance scene a few weeks ago (The Politics of Dancing – poorly) however, the prom is distinguished only by the fact that you don’t have to deke out to the washroom when a slow song comes on. You have a date, and she practically has to throw you a bone and dance with you. Even if it’s only once. Otherwise, it’s eerily reminiscent of a dance you attended several months ago where you had to dress up – the Halloween dance. Only for that dance, you didn’t have to stiff a waiter and vacuum out the Lebaron. Cheers, eighties nation…