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April 17, 2000 e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

Greetings from Chicago! ...Though I'll be back in town -- or maybe even off to Toronto -- before you read this. Then it's St. Louis and Louisville ... boy, are my arms tired. Literally. But please do come visit me...you don't know how tickled I am when folks like Optimist come out for my readings!

...Or when folks like, well ... N'Sync here pose with me for snapshots like this...e-mailed to me by one of the godlike-and-sassy Tank Tour organizers with the following note:

By the way, I ran into the boy Chris again in the mall (the shy one in the hat who was at your reading Saturday) and he asked me if he should ask you to the prom. I think that is so sweet. 16 is the age of consent in Michigan. You were very popular in Ann Arbor. That's two offers in one day. What's your secret?

Hmm! I can say is, looks like BG's got her groove back! And now that I've been duly reminded that it's time to start trolling for dates, let's talk about how you can get your groove on at (or not at):


Important Breakup Girl PROMilies

  • Bottom-line-dance: Let this taffetafest be the story of your life only if it's a good story (keeping in mind that bad stories make good stories, too).* I know The World (the same one that creates Valentine's Day, mind you) tries to make this a big deal, and if it will be fun for you to make it a big deal, then by all means make it so. Otherwise, prom, schmom. Write it off. Even if that makes for one long, lonely night, don't worry; all will be forgotten in the face of the next big trauma.

  • Just ask. Asking someone to prom and "telling him/her how you feel" -- while the latter can often be extrapolated from the former -- are, in practice, different; it's not a bended-knee declaration of love, it's one invitation to one fiesta.** (And keep it simple. If your actual invitation is "creative," your would-be-date will worry that your cumberbund, or God forbid your dancing, will also be "creative.")

  • Chivalry: undead. Unless you're forced to go with your cousin, behave as if your prom date is the person you'll be with forever. But relax, they probably won't be. (My dates, all lovely young men, are all now married. Not to me.) (Or each other.)

  • But Breakup Girl, what date? Okay, right. Well. Inspirational speech: the go-with-friends thing is not the same, but it is not so lame. Most people do forget to notice that (a), well, if they were with friends, they weren't the only dateless wonders, and (b), corny as it sounds, friends can be better, more important companions than a tipsy, distant I-just-need-a-date dance partner. I promise promise promise you: lonely and losery for one night at Homecoming (or whatever) is way better than feeling like you have no friends to come home to. (And if you really can't stomach it, rally friends for an alterna-festivity and get the heck outta the Dodge-ball!)

*As Optimist Do-Tells: "Senior year, I went to my formal with a good friend. Everyone but us and our closest friends thought we were 'more.' (That summer, we did become more, but that's another story.) We went with two other friends who were a couple, and at the dance, the four of us were sitting together at a table near the dance floor. I'd just gotten back from an orchestra tour to Europe, and I was totally jet-lagged, so I fell asleep on my date for almost an hour! As if that weren't bad enough, everyone thought we were making out. Right next to the dance floor. Hello?!"

** As Joy Do-Tells: "Most embarassing moment: stopping an elevator to tell my best bud and love that I couldn't live without him and was madly in love with him. His reaction: 'Why didn't you tell me three months ago?  I wouldn't have started going out with Kathy!!!' Prom is not the place to display your most dramatic intentions of love ... though ten years later that one still gives me a good laugh (with just a twinge of regret...)"

Your Prom-grams:



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