I was in J.C. Penney recently and saw endless racks of strapless satin gowns--with beading and sequins, in every color of the rainbow--as I passed through the dress section. That's right, I remembered: it's that time of year again. Prom time.
So as a nod to high school proms everywhere, I thought I'd share a picture of my prom date (then my boyfriend, now my husband) and myself, at our junior prom in 1975.
Here's how I prepared to make myself "beautiful" for the big night: The morning of the prom, I went over to school to help out with last minute decorating touches in the gym. Then I rushed home to lie out in the backyard (coated in baby oil) for a few hours, under the delusion that I could give myself a Coppertone tan by the time my heartthrob came to pick me up. I did not get a one-day killer tan; I got a one-day painful sunburn. I had also spritzed my hair with vinegar (a tip for lightening your hair that I'd seen in a magazine), believing that I could not only be tan by nightfall, but have blond streaks in my hair as well. Apparently, you need more than a few hours in the sun for that to happen. I ended up having to shampoo my hair about three times so that it wouldn't smell like salad dressing, and that put me behind for having it rolled up in pink sponge curlers by my mom. I was under her big, old-fashioned hair dryer hood until minutes before my dashing boyfriend came to collect me, and even then, my hair was still on the wet side. It was bad enough that I'd experimented with short hair (which just didn't suit me) months before the prom and was in the process of growing it out again, making it an awkward length; on top of that, it was damp and had a slight vinegar aroma about it.
And for some reason, I thought a little red velvet bow (which matched the sash on my dress) pinned on the side of my head was the perfect touch. Yikes--imagine our modern misses doing this to their hair on prom night. It was not a very sophisticated look.
At least my dress was very sweet. My mom had sewn it for me, using a pattern and fabric that we'd picked out together. It was made of lace over a taffeta lining. My shoes were sweet, too; they were pumps dyed to match the cream color of my dress. Dainty pumps were not at all in style for sixteen-year-olds at the time, however. In 1975, clunky platform shoes were all the rage.
Which brings me to my boyfriend's get-up: For some reason, he decided to be a bit madcap and zany that night, and he wore these hilarious, high-heeled platform saddle shoes (??), along with a raspberry red ruffled shirt, a white suit coat, and black tuxedo pants. He sported a relatively big head of hair back in those days, earning him the nickname "The Nest" from his group of guy friends. I don't think that either one of us was having his best hair day on prom night.
I don't know why I'm sharing this picture with you. It's just that it's prom time, and that got me thinking about the good old days...Plus, I thought you could use a good laugh.
(Okay, that's enough. You can stop laughing now!)