The Prom -- Jan 26, 2002
The day opens with Shannon and Manmeet at the mall. They’re not there to shop, they’re not there to work, they’re just there.
No, actually, they’re there to buy new makeup and to socialize with as many people from their class as they can find in the grocery store. They buy a brand-new magazine, then go home to do their nails and pick hairstyles for the evening. When they’ve chosen hairstyles, they get back on the bus and go back to the mall, where they totally monopolize an entire hair salon for an hour and a half. Manmeet’s hairdresser really loves doing up-dos and has been looking forward to doing Manmeet’s hair all week. My hairdresser appears to be deathly afraid of bobby pins. She asks if I’m taking a date. I say, “yes, my roommate”, but she finds the answer unsatisfactory, and quizzes me as to why Owen isn’t accompanying me.
While we’re at the mall, Gord and Bruce are virtuously working on their open memos. Obviously they don’t have their priorities straight. Our hairdressers finish our hair and we venture out into the world outside, with our updos and our sweatshirts, completely forgetting the brand new magazine we just bought that morning.
We take the bus back home, call the guys, call a taxi, and more or less all manage to be ready to get in the taxi at 6. Everyone except the taxi driver, that is, who has been waiting for us for at least 10 minutes, even though I specified that he should be there at 6 and not before.
So anyway, we pile into the taxi and head down to the Laurel Point Inn, all looking fabulous, where we get out and meet and greet all our friends, who are also all looking fabulous. One of Otto’s friends is providing a free photo service, so in a few weeks we should be able to order prints of a lovely group photo in which Manmeet is sticking her tongue out, Gord is in the middle of blinking, and I’m making bunny ears behind Bruce’s head..
We mingle a bit and pay through the nose for some cocktails which Bruce and Gord are certain contain no alcohol. Though I clearly and precisely order a drink with cranberry juice in it, I get some murky light pink substance. I say, “that’s not cranberry juice.” The bartender says, “that’s cranberry juice, that’s what you ordered.” I point to Bruce’s drink, which is a lovely deep red colour. “Bruce, what did you order?” Bruce says he ordered vodka and cranberry juice. I point out the discrepancy in beverages to the bartender, who eventually after much more back and forth realizes he’s given me pink grapefruit juice. Yeah, pink grapefruit, cranberry, I can see how you could get them easily mixed up. They rhyme, they’re both berries…no, wait.
As I said before, everyone looks very spiffy, whether they’ve opted for a ball gown, a cocktail dress, tux and tails, military dress uniform, etc. etc. After much mingling, Gord and I go to get some wine before dinner. I get the last glass of wine at the bar, leaving Gord to fend for himself and try to scam some whiskey from someone carrying a hip flask.
Dinner is a buffet. Unsurprisingly for Victoria, there are an awful lot of vegetables. As a token of omnivorousness, there are some tough, overcooked, lukewarm chicken breasts in some kind of sauce and a meat sauce for pasta. Actually, it’s a bit inaccurate to say there were an awful lot of vegetables. There was a very nice vegetable medley, a caesar salad, and every form of starch you could possibly imagine. Dinner rolls, pasta salad, potato salad (this was my favorite dish - it was nice and spicy), pan-fried potatos, rice, pasta with three kinds of sauce, etc. I took the eyes-bigger-than-my-stomach approach and piled my plate high with things I didn’t end up finishing. Bruce scarfed his first helping as fast as he could and was back with a plate of seconds before the rest of us were finished our first plates. We had a theory that this was due to his incredibly fast metabolism, but he told us the secret of staying skinny was to fidget a lot, and revealed that the real reason he was eating so much was because he hasn’t been cooking enough vegetables for himself.
During dinner there were several door prizes given out, but I’m afraid I jinxed it for the other people at my table by having won the carriage ride in the early bird draw. After dinner there was a good mix of songs for dancing, though typically there were maybe three guys on the dance floor and the rest girls. There were the oldies but goodies - Sweet Dreams, Ra-Ra-Rasputin, YMCA, Billie Jean, the songs that are trendy now but will be forgotten in six months - Sandstorm, Lady Marmalade, Can’t Get You Out of my Head (na na na na nana na na…), the sort of hip hop music that is full of swears and extra crude and degrading - Blow My Whistle, Bitch, and for good measure, some Gipsy Kings. Though Bruce requested the Gipsy Kings “just to stir things up a little bit”, he declined to dance all evening.
The Prom gets two martinis, a glass of wine with dinner, and a swig of good whisky from a smuggled hip flask, for a total of four pints. The dj was much better than the one at Carbolic, and I actually knew people. It would get that extra pint if the food had been in any way outstanding, and if it had a cool, law-related name like Carbolic Smoke Ball, instead of the kind of generic name that refuses to stick and invites people to refer to it as “the Prom”