Did you wear your sunglasses at night? Did you party like it was 1999? Did you need a hero? Did you have the eye of the tiger, or were you a round the way girl, a material girl, or a girl who just wanted to have fun? Did someone yell out Let’s Dance? Did you do the Safety Dance? Did you have a total eclipse of your heart while you flashdanced, or did you whip it while you danced and asked that someone pump up the volume? – Michael Obel-Omia
I’M GOING TO THE PROM…AGAIN!
This past Friday night I entered a time warp and went back to my prom…in the 80’s! It was for a friend’s birthday party where we were told the theme was 80’s prom. Some people took that to mean just dress like you did in the 80’s, but not this gal. No. I was going to take this seriously and have a lot fun with it. I normally can’t stand theme parties, but a chance to relive the 80’s for an evening? I was all over this theme like a cheap suit!
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PREPARING FOR THE 80’s
So I immediately took to eBay and went a little crazy. I found and ordered a Laura Ashley dress (strapless with a black velvet bodice and an eggplant purple skirt) which looked exactly like something I would have worn to the prom had it been in the winter. I then ordered a black bolero jacket (with puffy 80’s shoulders), a black taffeta sash for a bow (it was meant to tie around a chair for a wedding so 5 arrived), fingerless lace Madonna gloves, a black leather clutch with bow and a skinny strap (very 80’s). I then shopped Target and bought sheer black hose (I forgot how uncomfortable those are), hit up some contacts at MAC Cosmetics for insanely bright makeup, ordered a teasing brush, extra hold hairspray and gel from Amazon and went through what was left of my 80’s rhinestone jewelry collection. I already owned a pair of pointy-toe Stuart Weitzman low-heeled pumps I knew I could decorate with rhinestone clips I had stashed somewhere. So I was packed and ready to head off to Buffalo (where I really did go to the prom) in my vintage Go Go’s t-shirt. If security opened my suitcase they were going to laugh their asses off!
Once the Laura Ashley dress I ordered arrived I was in for a bit of a not so pleasant surprise. I wear a 6 or 8 in real life so I ordered the dress in a 10 to make sure it fit over my ample chest. I wrongly assumed I’d have some room to play with and could alter it myself since I only spent $30 on the dress. When I took it out of the box, I took one look at the bodice and my heart sank. It was tiny! I tried it on and had a good 4 inches of open back. Has vanity sizing really changed true sizes that much? I’m I really a size 12? Oh Lord. After I got over that kick in the arse, I asked Carol what to do and she walked me through how to corset the dress. Since I would have a bolero jacket and a giant bow on nobody would see the dress had been surgically altered. So I ran to Michael’s where I bought a leather hole puncher, black duck tape and 4 feet of 1/4 inch thick of black elastic lacing. I actually managed to successfully accomplish this DIY project. But I sent a backup dress to my friend’s house in Buffalo, just in case (it wasn’t nearly as good).
THE DAY OF
I arrived in Buffalo and ran around with my BFF since diapers, Joan. We went to different high schools but Buffalo is a small city and all the private school kids knew each other so I knew all her friends and she knew all of mine. In fact I actually went to her senior prom (I was a junior) with a friend of hers. I also went to her 25th high school reunion, but that’s another story. I was in town for one of her best friend’s birthday party (she picked the brilliant prom theme) and we had errands to run. Mostly to pick up 25 balloons which was a fiasco of epic proportions (24 made it to the party).
GETTING READY FOR PROM
Getting ready for the party was almost as fun as the party itself. Applying brightly colored makeup (think blue, purple and pink) with reckless abandon to an overly pale face (so the colors would pop) was amusing. I teased the hell out of my hair and then sprayed it with extra hold hairspray while my head was upside down. Once I flipped my head back up after a good shot of spray I laughed so hard I cried and nearly ruined my makeup! My long hair was standing up on end!
I had also forgotten how uncomfortable I was in the 80’s. All that makeup, the tight sheer pantyhose, heavy jewelry and my strapless dress (that needed surgery before I could wear it) was torture. The clip-on pearl and rhinestone earrings (I really wore in the 80’s) only made it half way through the evening but thankfully I wore comfortable shoes! So while others were kicking theirs off to dance to 80’s tunes, I was swaying (I can no longer hop around) with my shoes on.
AT THE PARTY
One guy came as 80’s John McEnroe which was freaking hysterical since I was a fan back then, another came as Lloyd Dobler from “Say Anything”, there were a few 80’s Madonna inspired women, a couple that dressed more my usual nightly speed back then (kinda punk), there were some Clash and English Beat t-shirts, some seriously teased hair, some belts worn really low on the waist with combat boots (another 80’s fave) and then there were a few of us who took the prom theme literally including the birthday girl! I didn’t care. I was just happy to be there, see so many people I actually hung out with in the 80’s and dance my heart out with them again…all while drinking drinks I did not drink in the 80’s (my tastes in booze have evolved) and eating a delicious Rubic’s Cube/Pac Man birthday cake.
Can we do this every year? I’m ready! Any time anyone wants to travel back to the 80’s – I’ll be there (not in a Jackson Five way either).
– Lauren Dimet Waters
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