Saturday, April 30, 2011

Proms: Then and Now

Copyright colormagickid
Prom season is upon us, and I don't think that today's teenagers have the faintest idea how rotten spoiled and lucky they are. I was watching a segment on Good Morning America not long ago about current prom trends - thousands of dollars being doled out on dresses, accessories, hair, makeup, and even tanning sessions all in preparation for an evening that will eventually become mostly forgettable. When one considers the usual return on investment for getting gussied up for prom night (i.e. a catered meal of dry chicken at the local country club and making out in the parking lot with the football captain or more likely, the team's unofficial water boy) you have to admit that it's a big waste of money.

Besides, the kids from my generation (the 80s/90s) and prior to that often didn't have it so lucky. How many of us, hoping for our first limo ride, was offered the old man's Oldsmobile for transportation instead? So here's a little picture book demonstrating the differences between today's proms and the proms of my high school years, with a little help from a really rad photo archive on Flickr:

Difference #1: We had to do our own hair.


Copyright MsLisaTM
Copyright ronstarr64
As you can see, that was no small feat, my friends. Don't forget the 80s was the era of hair bands, A Flock of Seagulls and Duckie from Pretty in Pink. I'm willing to bet most of these kids' parents didn't have the extra dough to pay to have their head done, when an entire can of Aqua Net or that newly found invention, mousse, accomplished the job quite nicely.

Difference #2: We usually didn't wear a designer prom dress.

Copyright leanndra
Copyright lobstar28
Copyright liberalmind1012
Copyright amykai2000
Some of us wore Jessica Mclintock Gunne Sax, but I don't know anyone who dropped over $500 or so on a gown whose sole purpose was to be worn once. In some cases a trusted mother or aunt would make the dress for us (emphasis on the word trusted.)

Difference #3: We weren't always so psyched about our dates.

Copyright ellynkocher
Yikes. These folks look like they'd rather be at the dentist or the gynecologist. Sorry, kids, but the cold truth is we all can't take someone who looks like Don Johnson or Heather Locklear to the prom, so make the best of it. 


Difference #4: The decorations/photo taking backdrops weren't always so hip.
Needs more plants, don't you think?


Copyright lobstar28
Copyright liberalmind1012
Nothing screams 80s like black and pink balloons!


Difference #5: We had awesome music. 
Here, finally, is where I can say the proms of yesteryear trumped today's proms anytime. We had Huey Lewis and the News, INXS, Foreigner, and Hall and Oates. Today's kids are stuck shimmying to Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and that annoying girl who sings about fried egg...I mean, Friday. 'Nuff said, right?

P.S. All photos from Flickr.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Royal Wedding 2011: It's Just Not the Same



Recently I asked on Facebook if I were the only person who really didn't give a *&%^ about William and Kate's upcoming wedding and was pleasantly surprised to confirm that indeed, I'm not the only one who's getting kind of tired of the global hype surrounding this event. Don't get me wrong - I don't dislike William and Kate in the slightest. I think they come across as two very nice young people and I sincerely wish them a lifetime of love and happiness (aka let's hope it works out better than it did for William's parents.)


It's just that...well...doesn't it seem to you that the magic just isn't there this time around? I suppose there are a number of reasons why I feel that way. For starters, I was 9 years old when Diana married Charles in July 1981. Like so many other little girls from that time and generation, I wasn't disillusioned yet by the real world and had no idea at the time that poor Diana was stepping into a viper's nest of a family. Diana was the first time any of us had heard of a real princess being married on TV, so that in itself was pretty exciting. Seeing the horse drawn carriage, the pomp and circumstance, the remarkable train on her gown, and the multitudes of people watching - this was definitely a fairy tale come to life. 


Also, the wedding was exciting because Diana seemed very down to earth and girls and young women could look up to her. Lookswise, she reminded me of one of my sisters. She wore regular clothes when the media first introduced us to her. She was young, pretty, shy, and she loved Duran Duran and dancing, which totally made her cool in my eyes and the eyes of my school peers. Not that Kate doesn't have that same level of approachability, but I distinctly remember the footage of Diana Spencer at the school she worked at, and as a kid not much older than the ones she taught, it definitely gave me a different perspective. Through the years, as I got older, so did Diana, who became more beautiful and grew into her role as a humanitarian.




I don't recall getting up at 4 AM to watch the wedding as some women from my generation did, but I do remember seeing a good portion of it on live TV. And that's another thing: Royal Wedding 2011 has a large technical component to it. There's the official website, Facebook page, Twitter account, video spoofs, etc. I think part of what made Diana and Charles' wedding so magical was the fact that it was broadcast live and for those folks who hadn't yet adopted that wonderful new invention called the VCR, the only way to catch the excitement was to watch it live. Sometimes I miss the days when not everything was so easily recordable: it's been said that the crime rate dropped the night the Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, because everyone was watching the show. 


Having said all that, I probably will catch part of Royal Wedding 2011 because it's one of Diana's sons getting married (and I think she would be quite proud), and William and Kate found each other on their own accord. I just know it won't be quite as exciting as Royal Wedding 1981.


What do you peeps think? What do you remember most about Diana and Charles' wedding...and are you going to watch Will and Kate's?



Friday, April 15, 2011

Two Forgotten Friday Favorites: Mary Hopkin

I think that a 60s singer like Mary Hopkin is the true definition of a songstress: no costumes, no embellishments, just a lovely voice with the bonus of having a pretty face to go along with it. To quote one of the songs she made famous, those were the days, my friends. Mary is probably best known for being one of the first artists to record on the Beatles' Apple recording label. Born in Wales in 1950, she got her big break when the model Twiggy saw her perform on a British talent show called Opportunity Knocks, who then told Paul McCartney to check her out. 

She had a hit with Those Were the Days, her debut single, which was produced by McCartney. It reached number one on the UK charts and number two in the U.S. (Cynthia Lennon recorded a version of the song years later which, needless to say, is not quite as noteworthy as Hopkin's version.) Another single, Goodbye, was written by McCartney for her.

It's a little surprising that Hopkin didn't seem to get as famous in the States as she should have been, but when she got married in the early 70s, she dropped out of the music business for a few years. She did return to recording and has been involved in numerous musical projects up until the present. I can't do her career justice here - just to say a couple of her hits are the Forgotten Friday Favorites this week. Enjoy!



Sunday, April 10, 2011

Whatever Happened to Thank You Notes?

We've been interviewing candidates for a summer internship position at work in my department, but only one person followed up with a thank you email, and it was only sent to my boss; not to me and not to the other coworker in our department who's met with each applicant. This person was offered the internship and accepted it, but it behooves me why she didn't think I was worthy of a thank you email for taking the time to meet with her, particularly after I gave her my business card (major HINT) and even a package of branded goodies from the supplies closet.

To be perfectly blunt about it, this really burns my ass and pisses me off. When I was job hunting out of college, it was drummed into my head by numerous job hunting advice articles that you *always* send a thank you note to *every* person you interviewed with, and I always did, provided you really wanted the job. But even if I didn't, and the interview went well, I'd usually let them know that it wasn't a match but I'd thank them for their time. Now that I've actually been out in the working world for over 20 years, I can appreciate other people taking time out of their busy workday to meet with me even more. 

Is everyone today dumb, lazy, or both? Has technology stripped us of common sense when it comes to manners?

Now before my readers who are of Generation Y or younger get offended, let me just say that this is not a generational problem by any means. I interviewed people in their 30s and 40s (in other words, my age) who ended up working in my department who never sent me a thank you email or note; in fact, the one person who did was ironically one they didn't offer the job to.

I read some crazy ass blog post not long ago by a human resources professional who poo-pooed thank you notes and said they were a sign of kissing up and looking desperate to get the job today. That is outrageous! In my opinion it just waves a big rudeness sign. The last time I job hunted, which was five years ago, I purchased blank note cards with colorful artwork on the front, as a friend suggested it might get noticed and make me stand out from the other candidates. Although I didn't get the job, I did notice the card was proudly displayed on the hiring manager's desk when I was invited back for a second interview with some of his coworkers. So...was this sucking up and looking desperate? I think not. Also, I'd like to think in this technology heavy world that he appreciated receiving a tangible piece of paper in the mail. 

Sadly, I do think that technology has a lot to do with it. People no longer mail physical cards or letters anymore; they email. But when you can't even acknowledge a gift or an interview via email...well, I don't know what more else to say, but it's definitely a problem I've noticed lately that shows no signs of being remedied any time soon.

What do you guys think? Has anyone else experienced this?

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