17 April 2022 -- On Proms, Now and Then

The Architecture and Honors students here at our study abroad center in Switzerland just held the first-ever prom in the facility, and a delightful time was had by all. There were multiple themes to work with, including "Under the Sea," "Euphoria," "Met Gala Camp," "Disaster," and "Slut."  "Disaster Slut" and other inventive intersections were quite common. Happily leaning against the wall for the evening as a chaperone, I got to watch the students dance, sing, scream, laugh uproariously, and crown their gender-inclusive prom kings and queens. I thought back, of course, to my own senior prom in high school. 

For our 1980 Wantagh High School Senior Prom, our class had to "borrow" money from the juniors since we were so apathetic we didn't bother to raise any, which will surprise no one who has read my blog post here about our wild commencement ceremony just a few weeks later (link below). 

Our prom was at a country club somewhere, as I remember, and Dennis drove Clare, Laura, and me there -- at something approaching the speed of sound -- in his father's gigantic Buick Electra 225.  

The first band was a bunch of young long-haired dudes playing all the southern rock stuff that was somehow so popular in my school (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Marshall Tucker, Charlie Daniels, etc.), like the south shore of Long Island was some lost state of the Confederacy. But nobody moved, no one danced, nothing. Our prom was looking as sad and dead as our class spirit.  

But then a second band came on, a bunch of paunchy, middle-aged Greek guys in powder-blue tuxedos and ruffled shirts -- a freaking wedding band!!-- and they played current pop songs, and the place went nuts! These guys were pros, knew how to work the crowd, and *everybody* got up to dance -- all of us awkward, graceless, rhythm-challenged, teenage, suburban white kids -- and we had a wonderful time. I can distinctly remember them tearing into Billy Joel as their opening song -- "You may be right, I may be crazy" -- and my leaping around like a demented frog in response.  

My dad, the musician, liked to point out that all of our important milestones in life have a musical accompaniment. He also liked to point out that you better take good care of the band. Our prom was a fine example of both of those truths. 


"Pomp and Circumstance, Pink Floyd and Chuck Berry" 


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