Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What About Prom, Blane? WHAT ABOUT PROM?

A few days ago I saw some girls who were obviously in the middle of a terribly important discussion. They were about fourteen, totally into their conversation except for the occasional necessity of reading a text message or replying to one. I couldn't help but think about when I was their age, and really, I shudder a little bit when I remember the sheer awkwardness that was the hallmark of my early teenage years. The braces, the frizzy hair, the utter lack of confidence around those alien creatures called boys – just about all of it makes me cringe.

Of course, like so many teenage girls, I thought that I knew it all, thought that I was covered in coolness, but in retrospect I was completely naïve and overly earnest and annoyingly self-absorbed. Actually, unbeknownst to me, I was a nerdy version of a drama queen: even though I was well-aware of all the gossip and “scandal” at our junior high, I only stayed involved in that stuff for about five minutes before I retreated into my Piles Of Books. Honestly, who needed junior high drama when the sophisticated, self-assured girls in the Sweet Valley High novels were dealing with, like, MA-JOR stuff?

I mean, GAH!

I can’t tell you how many 1980-something nights I sat in my bedroom with my hair in sponge curlers, incessantly wiping my face with a cotton ball soaked in Sea Breeze, talking on my yellow Princess-style push-button phone while adjusting the rubber bands on my braces, putting one cassette after another into my jam box, thinking that clearly no one had ever understood The Plight Of The Teenage Heart better than Mr. Phil Collins. I mean, who doesn’t remember this classic?
"You called me from the room in your hotel
All full of romance for someone that you met
And telling me how sorry you were, leaving so soon
And that you miss me sometimes when you’re alone in your room
Do I feel lonely too?

You have no right to ask me how I feel
You have no right to speak to me so kind
We can’t go on just holding on to time
Now that we’re living separate lives."
Never you mind that I’d never had a boyfriend. I still knew deep in my heart of hearts the agony, the heart-wrenching grief of true love.

And I knew those things, of course, because of John Hughes movies.

In fact, reading those lyrics makes me want to watch “Night Tracks” on WTBS out of Atlanta and record all the best videos (Dexy’s Midnight Runners singing "Come On, Eileen," anyone?) on a VCR with its remote attached by a wire.

While tinkering with MS-DOS until the amber letters on the monitor make my eyes cross.

While drinking Pepsi Free.

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