Mixtape Monday: Prom Night

Mixtape Monday: Prom Night

After going back over some old posts, I realized I wasn’t really living up to the “mixtape” part of “Mixtapes and Cupcakes.” I haven’t really met the “cupcake” requirement, either now that I think of it. In fact, I really only have one cupcake recipe I use on a regular basis. Maybe I should have put more thought into the name of my blog.

Anywho … in an effort to start living up to my name, I’m introducing a regular feature called “Mixtape Mondays” because Mondays stink and music makes it better. Also, it’s the only day of the week that fits well with the word “mixtape.”

Every week I will pick a new topic and ask my faithful readers to help me out. This is primarily to keep me from only picking songs from the 90s where it appears my mixtape making abilities got left behind…along with actual mixtapes.

If you want to play along you can follow me on Facebook.

This week’s topic is prom. I don’t really have a good reason for picking it. I just heard an ad on the radio for a “Prom Rewind Party” at our local casino and thought, “Hey, people really like prom.”

I’m not sure why this is. My own proms weren’t that magical. We didn’t have to fight city hall to hold the dance. I didn’t make my own dress. I wasn’t the victim of a cruel bet to make me into prom queen.

My proms were pretty average. We had both the dinner and dance in our high school gymnasium and after it was over we all went to the commons for “After Prom” where we got pizza and karaoke. I think that’s how it was for a lot of people.

So, why do we love prom so much? I guess it’s the Pretty In Pink effect. We all want to live in a John Hughes movie. Or maybe that’s just me.

I thought I should get to the bottom of it and see if anyone else out there had a prom song or memory that wasn’t directly tied to the movie version of prom. I asked the question “What songs make you think of prom?”

Here’s some of the answers:

Our song was “I will remember you” by Sarah McLachlan. I hated it so much. We were way too young to be that nostalgic. At the time, I worked at Sam Goody with the guy who DJ’d our prom, so I’m pretty sure I got some Afghan Whigs played, though I don’t remember what song. I thought I was so cool with my indie rock and my connex with the DJ.
– Nicole

When I think proms for some reason I always think of the movie and soundtrack of Pretty in Pink…I think I watched it way too many times when I was younger. Prom Story – Junior Prom I got the flu at the prom and had to leave shortly after the dance started. Made it home and was able to change out my dress before I started throwing up.
– Sarah

The Romantics “What I Like About You” and Van Halen’s “Oh, Pretty Woman”. For some reason I remember my junior prom in 1982 better than my senior prom. And no, alcohol was not the reason! Just better songs!
– Tony

Stevie B “Because I love you.” Incidentally, it is also the one-song soundtrack to my lonely solo shuffling at Skatetown. Those were some brutal, friend-zone, times.
– Jenn

Kenny G “Forever in Love” was our theme for senior prom at RS. My first official date with Jeff (now husband).
­- Jenny

The theme for my junior prom in 1984 was “Puttin’ on the Ritz.” The version that was played at prom was by Taco, a 1980s one hit wonder. I just learned by visiting Wikipedia that it was actually a cover of a song written in the 1920s by none other than Irving Berlin. The more you know!
– Mary

Pour Some Sugar on Me, Hurts So Good. I don’t really remember slow songs due to the fact that I was dateless, lol.

Of course “Shout” (little bit softer now), with the whole Blues Brothers dance. And any song from Romy and Michelle. (Which works well for prom and reunion mixed tapes). No stories, but I did hit a cat on the way to my junior prom. I still feel bad about that one.

“This Is The Time” by Billy Joel. Other prom themes during my high school years when I didn’t actually go to the prom include “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton and “With or Without You” by U2 (that last one is a still a headscratcher).

Thanks to everyone who submitted songs and stories! And now … let’s dance!

Rockstar (1)

Footloose – Kenny Loggins
I Melt With You – Modern English
If You Leave – Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark
The Rockafeller Skank – Fatboy Slim
Teenage Dirtbag – Wheetus
I Will Remember You – Sarah McLachlan
What I Like About You – The Romantics
With or Without You – U2
Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams
Because I Love You – Stevie B.
Puttin’ On The Ritz– Taco
Cruel To Be Kind – Letters to Cleo
Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
I Remember You – Skid Row
Forever In Love – Kenny G
Shout! – This Isley Brothers

Here’s the link to my Spotify playlist if you’d like to listen along.

(I’m crossing my fingers that the link works. I’ve been messing with it all morning. If it doesn’t work, let me know and I’ll try to get it fixed for next week.)



If there’s one thing you should know about my 13-year-old daughter, it’s that when she starts to feel uncomfortable she goes from this bright, witty teenager to Beaker from The Muppets in the time it takes to say “meep.” She clams up so hard, she could spit pearls.


It’s been a problem since she was little. Relatives would try to talk to her and she’d look at them like they were speaking Chinese. Kids would try to talk to her and she’d give them one-word answers. Every parent-teacher conference has gone along the lines of, “Your daughter is very bright, top of the class, but she never speaks.”


Maybe it’s my fault. During my pregnancy with her, I watched a lot of “Daria.” Does shyness and skepticism pass through the womb?




Over the years, we’ve tried to help her overcome this by signing her up for a variety of activities. Summer school programs, drama classes, indoor soccer, dance, gymnastic. All of them have ended up a bit like this: She’s excited at first, but then spends every subsequent practice or meeting folding her head and shoulders in toward her body like a turtle so she doesn’t have to make eye contact.


It’s painful. I feel for her. I really do.


So when our daughter’s future high school threw an event aimed at getting incoming freshmen to sign up for activities, my husband and I saw only one course of action – to thrust our painfully shy, socially awkward teenager who’s had trouble in extracurricular activities into the world of highly competitive, almost psychotically outgoing fellow teenagers.


Ace parenting, I know. But it’s what you do when your child is about to enter high school, right? You force encourage them to sign up for stuff because you hope it will make their transition into hell high school a smooth one. And because activities made high school bearable for you, you think it will do the same for them. And maybe, possibly give them a leg up when applying for scholarships.


How could anything riddled with so many hidden motives not turn out well?


The groups were divided into two hallways – the athletic clubs and the social/academic clubs. Our daughter made it clear from the get-go that she wasn’t interested in sports, which was fine by us, so we steered her toward the academic clubs.


There were so many choices. Synchronized swimming, academic decathlon, theater, debate, cycling club. Her school has a cycling club for crying out loud! You know what we had at my high school? Sports, music, drama, yearbook and Future Homemakers of America. (Is that even a thing any more? Hang on while I google it … holy shit, it is! It’s called Family, Career and Community Leaders of America now.)


It made me a bit giddy to see all this intellectual opportunity and unbridled enthusiasm laid out before us like a buffet. Our daughter, not so much.


I have to admit, it was a little overwhelming. The students’ enthusiasm gave them an intensity that was hard to ignore. And good grief, were they intense. (Except the boy manning the cycling club table. That kid was super chill.)


Within seconds of rounding the corner, two speech and debate kids jumped her. One was shoving a flyer in her face while the other was fluttering around saying all the stuff that was basically on the flyer.


In their fervor, they had backed her up against the lockers like they were looking to steal her lunch money.


My daughter’s eyes darted around, searching for possible escape routes. I could feel her thinking, “Please stop talking to me so I can put my name on your stupid list and cease interacting with you.” You know, the line of thinking that will get you far in speech and debate.


That’s how it went for a while. We would approach a table, some kids would thrust a flyer in her face, I would shove her toward the sign up sheet and she would put her email down without looking at anyone.


Every table was a new opportunity for her to have a mild panic attack and for me to geek out over how wonderful high school was going to be.


These kids were so engaging and confident. I wanted their confidence to rub off on her. Heck, I wanted their confidence to rub off on me. I was five seconds away from putting my own email down on their signup sheet.


Herein lies the rub.


I want my daughter to love this stuff, because I loved this kind of stuff in high school. Maybe it was because I didn’t drink or do drugs and I lived in the middle of a cornfield, but  drama and yearbook were what made high school bearable.


But does she love this stuff? I’m not so sure. She’s smart and creative and hilarious, but in a more private way. And there shouldn’t be anything wrong with that. Maybe clubs aren’t her thing.


Besides, who was I to push her into doing academic decathlon because it seems intellectually invigorating? Yes, I loved joining clubs, but if I’m being perfectly honest, I was less concerned with choosing one that suited my interests and passions and more concerned with signing up for whichever one had the cutest boys in it.


And my parents stayed out of it. As they should have.


Maybe I need to take a cue from the cycling club kid and just chill out a little. Maybe my husband and I need to give her a little breathing space to figure some of this out on her own.


After we left, I got to thinking…what would happen to her if she didn’t sign up for a single club? Would her social world collapse? Will she grow up and end up living on the streets? Probably not.


Will she still be shy? Sure. But that’s something my husband and I are never going to “fix.” And maybe she’ll be happier if we stop trying to.