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.
-Heather

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.
-Nikki

“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).
-Liam

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.)

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“Purple Rain” As I Should Have Written It

“Purple Rain” As I Should Have Written It

I wrote a post about Prince and the other day. It wasn’t the post I should have written. I’m not sure why. My best explanation is that this A to Z Challenge has had me in my head quite a bit, and I think I needed a little distance from  all the memories swirling around in my brain .

Prince and Purple Rain have special meaning to me and my husband, but it wasn’t something I  put a lot of thought into. It’s just something that was. I was too tired a couple of days ago to find the words to describe it, so I just didn’t try. But I’m going to now.

“Before there was an us, there was you, me and Prince.”

That’s what my husband said to me tonight when I came home from work, put my head on his shoulder and said, “I feel so silly. I didn’t even know the man. Why am I so sad?”

Prince is part of our story. He has been since day one.

Shawn and I worked together in a sub shop in the town where we went to college. All I really knew about Shawn was that he was the guy who liked Nirvana and Pavement. I was the girl who like Mariah Carey and Alanis Morissette. Those seemed like two very different worlds to us.

Then, one night, I brought in my Prince CDs, and we just sat and talked about dancing to his songs in junior high: how they made us think of different crushes we had and who we were with when we first heard the Purple Rain soundtrack. A couple of nights later, we watched the movie together. It became the basis of our friendship. It was our thing before there was even an us.

I don’t know how many times we’ve watched the movie together since then.  Or how many times we quoted lyrics or lines to each other. Or slow danced to “Purple Rain” in our living room. Rarely a week goes by that I don’t listen to his music.

So tonight we sat and ate dinner and talked about Prince long after the kids got bored and left the table, Prince’s music in the background.

Now we’re going to open a bottle of wine and watch Purple Rain. And I will cry when it’s over. Because Prince is part of our story, and to have a piece of that gone is heartbreaking.

 

 

“Crazy” Patsy Cline #AtoZChallenge

“Crazy” Patsy Cline #AtoZChallenge

My sister, Debbie, and I did not see eye-to-eye on most things growing up.

She is only 15 months older than me, but for most of my childhood, she seemed to think it was 15 years. And since she was older and “more mature,” she always got top pick. Always.

When we played school, she always got to be the teacher. When we played broadcast news, she got to be lead anchor. When we played Mass, she was always the priest.

All of this made me simultaneously hate her and crave her affection. “If she likes me,” I naively thought, “maybe I’ll get to be the priest every once in a while.” Classic younger sibling mistake.  It would turn into our biggest argument: I wanted to be her and she didn’t want to be anywhere near me.

Fortunately, two things saved our relationship.

The first: our love for biopics. If a movie trailer had the words “true story” in it, we were on it like Siskell and Ebert. Find me two nine- and ten-year-old girls who were obsessed with the movie Heart Like a Wheel: The Shirley Muldowney Story as much as we were and I will show you two girls who are lying little bitches.

The second was music. For Christmas 1985, Santa joined Columbia House and left a box of 12 cassettes for my sister and I to share. Normally we would have been pissed about the whole sharing thing. Our closeness in age meant we didn’t own a single sweater we could call our own until middle school when I binge-ate brownies all summer long and gained 10 pounds more than her.

But having joint custody of these cassettes didn’t bother us. We happily played The Bangles, Madonna and Whitney Houston all the live-long day. The only thing we disagreed on was whether to listen to “Walk Like and Egyptian” or “True Blue” first.

So, when the movie Sweet Dreams hit cable, we were in heaven. It was like the Reeses’ commercial where the guy with the chocolate bumps into the guy with the open jar of peanut butter.  The only thing better was when then made Labamba a couple of years later and we could swoon over Lou Diamond Phillips.

For those of you who haven’t seen Sweet Dreams, its the story of the doomed singer Patsy Cline. Jessica Lange plays Patsy and Ed Harris plays Patsy’s sometimes abusive husband Charlie Dick. (It took me a long time to watch a movie with Ed Harris in it and not see him as a real jerkwad.)

We became obsessed with the music. We wanted to listen to as much Patsy as we could get our hands on but we didn’t own any and had no way of getting it. Santa may have had a Columbia House membership, but we sure didn’t. And Musicland in the mall didn’t carry “Crazy” on cassingle.

We were so desperate to hear her music, we drug our tape recorder out to the living room and recorded the songs off the TV. They cut some of the songs short to work in less important things like dialogue and plot, but some Patsy was better than no Patsy.

Sweet Dreams became our two-hour peace treaty. If I was lucky, Debbie would be game to listen to our homemade soundtrack afterward and I would get another half hour of her time. The only argument we would get into was over who could sing “Crazy” better. Naturally, Debbie won.

Check out my post on bluntmoms.com!

Check out my post on bluntmoms.com!

It’s possible that I’ve been lying to you. In all my talk of boy bands, Rick Astley and Dirty Dancing, I may have given you the impression that I love all things 80s. This simply isn’t so.

I am here to say that I’m not really a fan of John Hughes films …. any more.

To find out why, you need to check out my post I Am So Over 80s Teen Movies on bluntmoms.com.

The Summer I Went to Kellerman’s

The Summer I Went to Kellerman’s

I took my girls to the park the other day. It was a little cold – barely 70 degrees. Two teenage girls walked by me in bikinis, headed down to the nearby beach, not a goosebump on their tanned, toned flesh. I looked down at myself. I was wearing a cardigan and orthopedic flip flops. How are they not freezing their unwrinkled asses off? I thought. Silly kids.

I shook my head and turned back to my book. Not more than a minute later, a handful of shirtless teenage boys walked by. Huh, that’s weird. Why are all these kids half-naked?

Then, liked greased lightning, it struck me….the shirtless boys were following the bikini-clad girls. Duh, Nancy Drew. It’s summertime, and that means summer romances are in full bloom. Everybody, I mean, everybody’s in love.

I remember my first taste of summer love. It happened when I was 13 years old. His name was Johnny. He was a dancer at a resort in the Catskills, and he was AMAZING! It all started because he had this friend, Penny, who got knocked up by Robbie the creep and she needed an abortion….wait, wait, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. I should back up a bit, put things in context for you….

It was the summer of 1988, when nobody called me “baby” and it definitely occurred to me to mind.

I hadn’t had a real boyfriend yet. Just a long list of celebrity crushes which included the likes of Bo Duke, Gopher from “The Love Boat,” Gilbert Blythe from PBS’s “Anne of Green Gables” (god rest his hunky soul) and Joey McIntyre. The list was about to get obliterated, though, because 1988 was the summer I saw “Dirty Dancing” for the first time, and it blew my Gilbert-Blythe-lovin’ mind.

Thirteen is a bad age for a lot of people, but especially for me. I was dorky in the most tragic way possible. I still played with Barbies. I read a lot of books. I once used a beige eyeshadow in place of foundation because I thought they were the same thing and then went to a babysitting gig that way. I carried a watermelon through my adolescence.

All I wanted was for a boy to like me. I thought if that happened, then that would mean I was normal and everything would be fine. I just didn’t have a clue how to make it happen. Then I saw Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey dancing on a log together and somehow felt they could help me.

I’m not even sure why exactly. On the surface, there wasn’t a lot I could relate to. I had never been to a resort. I had never asked my dad for money to help a dancer I just met get an abortion. I couldn’t even stay out past 9 p.m.

But Baby and I did have a few things in common – the awkward hair; the awkward conversations with guys; the pretty, popular older sister. I was tired of being me, just like Baby was. I wanted something exciting to happen. I wanted to feel like an adult. (I also wanted to know about sex, and this movie was the closest I was going to get to figuring that out short of watching porn. “Basic Instinct” hadn’t come out yet.)

Baby gave me hope. And if she could bag a hunk like Johnny, then I was her disciple. I got a copy of the movie for Christmas and watched it every day like it was an afternoon special. I lived and breathed the gospel according to Frances Houseman.

I figured the first step was to improve my look. Somehow I got it in my head that if I looked more like Baby, all my boy problems would be solved. (It didn’t occur to me that the whole still-playing-with-Barbies thing might have had something to do with it.) So I cut my jeans into shorts, bought knock-off Keds, and begged for a perm. My mom would only let me get one if it was an Ogilvy home perm, just like the ones she had been giving to my grandmother in our kitchen every six to eight months. What teen girl wouldn’t love to have her not-fully-grown-out mullet permed to look just like her grandmother? The effect was less Jennifer Grey and more Rosie O’Donnell.

Needless to say, it didn’t work. I had no choice but to spend my summer nights watching Baby and Johnny dry hump all over the Catskills. When I got a little tired of that, I would act out alternative Baby/Johnny story lines with my Barbies. Sometimes Johnny would go to the Peace Corps with Baby. Other times she would stay at Kellerman’s with him and they would teach dancing lessons together. Either way, it didn’t matter, because they had sex and therefore were in love, and they would stay that way for the rest of their lives. Amen.

That’s what’s weird about this now. As an adult, I feel like I totally missed the whole point of the movie. I didn’t get that it was just a summer fling. I honestly thought Baby and Johnny ended up together, raising a bunch of curly-haired, spaghetti-armed children.

I didn’t realize until recently that Baby and Johnny never even said “I love you” to each other. I had to go back and think through the dialogue in my head (which wasn’t hard since I spent nearly three years committing the film to memory), but it’s not there. How and why did I miss it?

Because all I knew about sex at that age was that you only do it with someone you are in love with and are preferably engaged/married to. That’s it. Ever. It didn’t occur to me that people might have sex for other reasons. That’s because 13-year-olds don’t know shit about adult relationships.

Here’s another example of my naivete. Around this same time I saw the movie “Great Balls of Fire” and thought it was totally reasonable for Jerry Lee Lewis to want to marry his 13-year-old cousin. Thank god the internet hadn’t been invented yet, or I might have wound up with one of those “Dateline” predators.

My own daughter will turn 13 next month. I considered watching “Dirty Dancing’ with her. I haven’t seen the movie in almost two decades. But I don’t think I will. Not because I have a problem with the whole coming-of-age-burgeoning-sexuality thing. I just don’t think she will be interested. Unlike me at that age, she’s happy with who she is and isn’t in a hurry to grow up. And I’m not in any rush to change that.

Also, if I watch the movie now, I won’t be able to watch it the same way. Part of me still wants to believe Baby and Johnny made it after all. I like that ending better.