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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
30 Rock


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Saturday, May 28, 2005

What About Prom, Blaine?

That precious time of the year is once again upon us. You know the time of year when graduations, proms and weddings are being celebrated every which way you turn. Even if it isn't your prom, graduation or wedding, no doubt it's someone you know's special day.

But the main focus of this post is the prom. Part of me understands why the prom is such a big deal. It might be you and your sweetheart's last high school hurrah. Or perhaps it's the last chance to drunkenly profess your love to the girl or guy you've been secretly pining for all four years. It's everyone else who falls somewhere in the middle who gets short changed at these things and thus has the so what? attitude towards the "big" day. I, my friends, was one of those people.

I didn't go to my prom. I wasn't seeing anybody at the time and I didn't have any particular desire to overspend money on a dress to hang out with people I could normally hang out with for free. Oh sure, I love watching the big prom scene on tv shows and in movies,, but living it in real life is another matter entirely. At the time I had a crush on a guy friend who was a bit older than me and didn't go to our school. Ironically though, HE was going to my prom with his ex-girlfriend who was a classmate of mine.

Meanwhile, in the other corner of this hormone-raged dilemma was a close friend of mine who, at the time, was going to the prom with a guy who she was in love with who also didn't go to our school. This all would have been fine...had she not had a boyfriend already who she was NOT going with. This boyfriend, by the way, also happened to be the best friend of the guy I liked. And to think, they say John Hughes like script ideas are dead. Huh. You want a good John Hughes teen movie plot? I got your John Hughes revival right here!

So my friend's boyfriend half asked me to go to my prom so he could still hang out with his girlfriend. But going to the prom with your friend's sometimes boyfriend is about as fun as calling dinner and a movie with your dad an actual date. Needless to say, I politely declined, opting instead to meet up with everyone for the post prom festivities.

I don't know about when you went to school, but in my town, the prom was never about the prom night alone. Oh no. The prom was literally an all weekend event. A promapalooza, if you will. Many people got hotel rooms down the shore and partied like MTVers on spring break. My group didn't do that. Come to think of it, I forget exactly what my group did. As you can tell, despite what Billy Joel may have told you, this was not the time to remember.

So then, why write about it all now? Well, this whole post was inspired by a recent episode of The OC devoted to the prom and with it cropped up a prom-related pet peeve that has nothing to do with corsages and barf bags. Instead it has to do with the distinction between prom and THE prom.

Many times in tv and movies THE prom is referred to simply as "prom".


Are you going to prom?
Are you going to THE prom?

See the difference? To me, the latter is clearly the superior choice.

Case in point, the teen classic, Pretty In Pink. In one scene our young heroine, Andie (Molly Ringwald) corners her always rich, sometimes boyfriend Blaine (Andrew McCarthy) about the special day. Over and over Andie repeats, "What about prom Blaine? What about prom", all while pummeling a tiny but extremely wide-eyed Andrew McCarthy into the lockers.

Everytime I see this emotional scene I want Blaine to yell, "It's what about THE prom Andie! THE prom! And shit like this is precisely the reason I'm not going with you!

Of course that never happens, not even in the deleted scene footage on the DVD.

I hadn't seen or heard prom (minus the THE) references in awhile, until The OC came along that is. The OC of all places. I mean the show only has two words in its title. Take away the THE and it's just OC. Which I guess would work, but still, that's not the point now.

In any case on the show, I noticed both variations being used and quite simply, that's not good enough. Who are these writers anyway and where did they grow up? Because everybody I know refers to it as THE prom. It's not like the annoying rOOf vs. ruff debate or vAAse vs. vahhs. While you're at it, why not call the prom a promenade, like it was truly intended to be and call of the farce? In the meantime, I and everyone I know will call it THE prom thank you very much.

THE end.



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