By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Keegan Hamilton and Francisco Alvarado
By Jake Rossen
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Chris Joseph
By Michael E. Miller
Another friend of Razor´s stepped forward bravely. Dressed in a Patriots jersey and a pair of jeans, he declared, ¨I´m Mork from Ork,¨ evidently hoping the simple declaration would suffice as a costume.
¨Nanu, nanu!¨ I said, extending my hand, fingers spread Orkian style. The pretender looked at me blankly.
¨Yeah, she´s right!¨ Razor exclaimed, finally accessing his banks of cultural trivia to corroborate the accuracy of my greeting.
Nearby, Colleen, a 1983 graduate of Hialeah Miami Lakes, sported the Culture Club look, topped off with a black hat with a band full of buttons -- acquired, she said, when she worked at Yesterday & Today record store. That was when ¨today¨ was back in the day, she said, adding that she had no prom memories to share.
¨I wasn´t that popular, and I never went,¨ she said. ¨Now, I can hang out with my friends, so it´s a lot more fun.¨
While Duran Duran and Blondie summoned bodies in all manner of poofy-sleeved and shoulder-padded glory, I decided to check out the back patio, where a couple of guys were bonding in a timeless male tradition -- by assaulting each other. One of them was holding his crotch and rolling on the paver stones.
¨It´s OK,¨ a friend who stood observing his friend´s agony reassured me. ¨We´re roommates.¨
The injured party, pulling himself to his feet only to lean against a cement wall, his hand still cradling the family jewels, suggested a truce. ¨Buy me a shot!¨ he croaked.
¨You started it,¨ the apparent ball-buster said.
¨OK, I´ll buy you a shot,¨ the friend said.
Like that, it was settled -- the two walked off, one with a bit of a limp. Just like Reagan and Gorbachev.
We all make our accommodations. I still haven´t forgiven the ´80s for some of its musical transgressions (though I´ve learned to live with some of them). One of those transgressions was being re-inflicted at that very moment.
¨And it was all over when they started playing Journey,¨ I summed up for Douglas, a guy I´d been chatting with about his art forgery career.
He agreed. ¨Yes, Steve Perry was the beginning of the end.¨
But when David Bowie beckoned with ¨Let´s Dance,¨ it seemed as good a time as any to get out on the checkered dance floor, where Ashley had spent the entire evening making friends with some club regulars. I soon realized that my body no longer knew how to move to the dated music. I just flailed and bounced -- sort of like a spastic jumping jack -- until the song was over.
Ashley said she had a similar problem. ¨How did ´80s people dance? They didn´t exactly pop, lock, and drop it, you know?¨
We watched people slow-dancing to ¨Total Eclipse of the Heart.¨ A lesbian couple would have been my pick for Prom King and Queen. Not only because they´d dressed the part -- one in a Siouxsie and the Banshees off-shoulder T and a crinoline skirt that flared as her partner, in a tux shirt and vest and plaid punk pants, spun her -- but because they truly seemed to be living the romantic ideal of the prom. Theirs was a connection you could feel, from the romantic step-and-sway embrace of the slow songs to the energetic connection of their synth-pop bop.
Without romantic partners, some of us had nothing to do but watch the ice melt in our drinks and comment on one another´s outfits -- another timeless prom tradition. Of course, it wouldn´t have been a prom without some hormonally charged spit-swapping and groping attempts at heavy petting. A couple of red brocade couches were being used for that purpose by several couples, this time without the interference of a busy-body chaperone.
All in all, it had turned out to be an inspired evening -- better than either prom I actually attended a couple of decades ago. Before Ashley and I left, we posed for a photo beneath the balloon arch. And then, we were ready to shed our roles as members of some graduating class, like teenagers stepping out of their prom dresses.