Remember when I was telling you about the incredible junk/antique place with the stunning Ladies' Room? Well, I realized that I didn't show you one of the things I bought in there. First, I should say that I love found photos. I love looking at old photos of people I don't know, doing things like standing in the backyard, showing off a pet rabbit, playing a board game, sitting around looking unattractive, or caught in the act of eating party food by somebody's uncle. I also like old photo studio headshots, which are lovely. Anyway, in that shop, I saw this incredible 8 x 10 in one of those old fancy folders hanging from a clothespin at eye level:
There's no names written on the back, but according to the folder it's from the University of Pennsylvania college prom, May 18 1956, at the Hotel Broadwood. I could stare at this photograph for hours. I mean, look at them! They appear to be intelligent people having themselves a time surrounded with Old School party accoutrements: bottles of bourbon right there on the table, club soda, ice buckets, bottle caps, cut lemons, and full ashtrays. And look back there behind her shoulder- is that a bottle of beer sitting forgotten in an empty corsage box? Nice. And I like the other two in the picture; I like to imagine that the guy standing right behind them may not be standing for long. He seems to be staggering a bit, maybe groping for the back of a chair for support. But I love our hero with the glasses and what appears to be a Phi Beta Kappa key around his neck. He's wearing a plaid cummerbund, which you may not be able to tell from this scan. He would definitely be interesting to talk to.
She seems pretty nice, too. Except for the supershort hair, she reminds me a little of Sara Moulton, who I used to watch on the Food Network. But I feel bad for her because her dress looks uncomfortable- look at the little ruffles of netting along the neckline. I just got a skirt in a vintage shop that is soooo cute, but it's a bit uncomfortable to wear because it has a built-in nylon crinoline underneath with a row of gathered black netting that peeks out from under the hem. Yes, it's adorable, but that netting is just like the stuff on her dress and it feels quite quite scratchy and uncomfortable on my legs, so I can't imagine feeling that stuff scratch all over the Tender Breast Flesh Area for a few hours. But she looks nice and after some careful scrutiny, it looks like she likes him, so I'm glad.
College proms- do they still have those? We had one. It was called The Beaux Arts Ball and nobody went except the Architecture students.
But looking at this old fifties college prom photograph made me go look at my old high school senior prom picture:
I distinctly remember taking great pains with doing my hair, although you certainly can't tell from the picture. I imagine that the stifling heat and humidity of Charleston in early June had already worked its evil magic. What a lousy dress!- but in small-ish town 1991, there just weren't any elegant and sophisticated dresses to be had. But at least my prom wasn't in, say, 1983- I would have really been fucked. Think of the "Footloose" prom dresses and be grateful.
And if you look closely you can see the awful zit on the right side of my face that had emerged the day before. Mom and I both went to the biggest drugstore in town and bought armloads of anti-acne creams, gels, cleansers, toners, cover-ups, anything we could grab to get rid of or disguise the red angry hurting lump shining like a beacon right there on my cheek about a half-inch away from the side of my nose. Nothing doing. No matter what we did, it sat there so obviously I felt as if I might as well have been walking around with a spider on my face.
Things had already been weird anyway- I'd already been out of school for around six weeks because I'd gotten mono and was too sick to leave the house, but I was OK with that because it basically meant I got to take the last month and a half of high school off. I mean, I was in pain and ill and everything, but I wasn't in school, at least. But it worked out so that the first time I could really be outside doing something substantial was The Prom.
Here's a weird thing: my boyfriend Rob, who'd asked me out back in March or April, showed up with his best friend Troy and the three of us went together. Huh? I barely knew Troy, who was perfectly nice but I had no idea he was coming. But it probably worked out for the better since Rob and I had nothing in common and didn't ever have much to talk about, so Troy helped move the evening along more smoothly. And let me preface this next statement I'm about to make by saying that Rob was a very sweet and decent guy and he was very nice to me- I just had nothing to talk to him about and he had no intellect and was a terrible kisser and I was only going out with him because it hadn't occured to me to say no. Nobody had ever asked me out before and I wanted to see what going on a date was like before I died.
But the prom was such a fucking bore. It was so boring and lame and uneventful it wasn't even funny. It's not even worth talking about and I have no idea why I'm talking to you about it now.
I would much rather have been in the Hotel Broadwood in Pennsylvania on May 18th, 1956, sitting at Roger and Doris' table.