High School Halls: Under the Disco Ball: School Dances

Turn down the lights and let the disco ball turn. It’s time for a school-sponsored dance on Deep-Fried Friday as part of my High School Halls series.

First, let’s all pause and wish that our high school dance had been like this:

I don’t remember dancing like that at any of ours.

That Was Then

My school had two major dances: Winter Ball and Junior/Senior Prom. If memory serves, I went to all of them. The Winter Ball was a semi-formal affair held at the campus. Guys wore suits or slacks and ties, while girls wore nice dresses–the kind of thing you might wear to a play or even church.

Prom was available only to juniors and seniors and their dates. It was held off site at a hotel ballroom, usually in downtown Corpus Christi near the bay. Guys wore tuxes, and girls wore formals.

The nights were themed, although the only one I remember is my senior prom which was simply called Caribbean Nights. (I loved the homecoming theme in Tiffany A. White’s Football Sweetheart. No, I’m not revealing it; you must read for yourself!)

At both dances, we had a DJ. The music was mostly contemporary, with some classics thrown in. We danced as couples, groups, and in line dances. I’m pretty sure The Cotton-Eyed Joe featured at every school dance, but as I’ve talked about before, that may be just a Texas phenomenon. I also vividly recall dancing the Schottische at my senior prom.

Here are a few pics of my dance days. Since I didn’t ask permission, I chose not to reveal my dates.

Sophomore Winter Ball
Sophomore Prom (with a Junior)
Junior Prom

Not exactly the cocktail dress from Pretty Woman, you know? Or even Molly Ringwald’s homemade dress design from Pretty in Pink. But they were reasonably fashionable for the 1980s.

This Is Now

Dances still abound. There are Homecoming dances, winter balls, spring formals, and graduation dances. I suppose teens will always want to dress up and strut their stuff onto a dance floor. They will always gyrate and shimmy under the disco ball and then fold themselves into a deep embrace for a slow song.

The general notion is the same, whether in the 1950s, the 1980s, or today. However, the appearance has changed.

Gone is the church dress look. Now it’s cocktail dresses and long formals all the way. It seems like the party dress section never leaves the department store these days. There’s always a dance in season for which teen girls are purchasing attire.

While I suspect the cost of my dress and everything else for me to attend any dance was easily less than $100, nowadays you can fork over an arm, a leg, and a kidney to attend a prom in style. Visa conducted a national survey this past spring, in which families said they would spend $696 to $1,944 on their kids’ prom costs (MSN Money). Way back in 2002, ABC News reported prom dresses, accessories, flowers, beauty products, and other prom-related expenses made for a $2.75 billion market. Indeed, some couples spend as much for prom as other couples spend on their wedding.

Prom Movie (2011)

(If you’re a teen reading this, I suggest that you won’t remember your flowers or the hairdo ten years from now nearly so much as the dancing and the friends. Save your money and go to Europe one summer instead.)

If students don’t have enough money for a proper dress or tux, they can check out local Prom Angel or Prom Princess offerings. Some school or charities now host shopping events for gently used formals.

Dances are still themed. Looking at 2012 prom themes, I found Parisian Nights, Puttin’ on the Ritz, Unmask the Night, Grecian Garden, Feelin’ Jazzy, Under the Sea, Bright Lights Big City, The Lion King, Masquerade, and even the literary-inspired Emerald City and Hogwarts Castle. Of course, not all literary themes are appropriate: No one wants to attend The Hunger Games prom. Themes all seem to come with the requisite streamers, balloons, confetti, and photo backdrops that give the night a special sparkle.

Bite Night Prom, anyone?

As for the music, I’m betting the Cotton-Eyed Joe has given way to the Cha Cha Slide and Gangnam Style. Fast dances will still mix with slow dances, and both couples and groups will find their way onto the dance floor.

Yes, you will remember these dances. Perhaps for the fun you had with friends or the fact that you waited all night long and that stupid jerk never remembered that he promised you a dance or the way that you felt like a king or queen as you danced the night away. When the lights go up and the disco ball stops turning, you will have your memories. Whether they are good or bad…is mostly up to you.

So what do you think? How was your prom? What do you like/dislike about school dances? Do you have any fond memories?

NOTE: I’m aware that many teens choose to drink alcohol on these evenings. If you drink, PLEASE do not drive. You do not want to remember this evening for the wrong reasons. For more information, see Natalie Hartford’s blog post about the I Promise campaign.

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Armadillos, Cow Tipping, and Silly Camp Songs

It’s an Amaze-ing Words Wednesday special! I had an interesting comments conversation with Jenny Hansen of the More Cowbell blog on Natalie Hartford’s Life Out Loud blog. Following my comment about the blog post itself…

Jenny Hansen says:

Julie, if they let ME teach Sunday School (and they do), I assure you they will always let you sit in the front row at church.

And do you really see Lone Star beer cans in your roadside armadillos??! That means the road killer would have to stop the car and put said can in the paws of the road killee. Am I the only one who finds that bizarre?

Yep, we had a menagerie of maniacal laughter over here – naked armadillos and Bengal Tigers!

  • Julie Glover says:
    LOL. You know my comment was in good fun, Jenny! :)

    I have seen pics of the armadillo & Lone Star can. It’s a college student prank apparently to find a dead armadillo on the drive home and pay your respects to his drunken demise.

    • Well, we tipped cows at Mizzou, so I guess I can’t make fun of the armadillo stagers. :-)
    • Julie Glover says:
      Do you know the “peel the banana” song that has a cow-tipping verse?
    • No!!! Links? Video? Lyrics…give me something here, girlfriend! Enquiring minds MUST know. :-)
    • Julie Glover says:
      Sending you a link on Twitter. And just for you, Jenny, I’m considering an instructional vlog post to teach this very important musical number. Would you shake your cowbell for me if I did it?
    • OF COURSE I would!!!
  • I am so moving to Texas someday! LOL!!!
    Another victim of
    Crossing the Highway while Intoxicated

    Although I would heartily welcome visitors to my wonderful Lone Star State, I didn’t want you to have to wait to find out what you need to know about armadillos, cow-tipping, and silly worded songs I learned at camp.

    Yes, church camp.

    As you know, I think one of the funnest things we can do with words is use them for humor. Word plays, curious idioms, and funny lyrics pique my interest. Some of you may remember songs with silly words like Little Bunny Foo-Foo or Baby Bumblebee. I don’t recall these from camp, but we did sing the Green Grass Grows All Around and the following diddy I haven’t heard anyone else sing:

    Ung-awa, ung-awa, ung-awa
    Ung-awa, ung-awa, ung-awa
    Ung-awa-wa

    Now we’re from Nairobi
    Our team is the best
    We play the Watoosies
    They’re seven feet tall

    Like cannibals, they’ll eat us
    But they’ll never beat us
    ‘Cause we’re from Nairobi
    And we’re on the ball

    Singin’ ung-awa, ung-awa, ung-awa
    Ung-awa, ung-awa, ung-awa
    Ung-awa-wa

    In fact, when I have sung it as an example, I get strange looks. Doesn’t anyone else know this song? It’s a funny rhyme: eat us/beat us. And who doesn’t like a song with the word “cannibal” in it?

    But that isn’t what I promised here. I promised a silly-worded song with a cow-tipping verse. So without further ado (get out your cowbells, Jenny et al.), here is The Banana Song:

    Do you enjoy silly songs? What are some of your favorite camp lyrics? Please share!

Panties? Skivvies? Bloomers? Words for Underwear

Good gravy, I’ve gotten swept up into National Undies Week, as declared by Natalie Hartford and Jenny Hansen. However, since this is Amaze-ing Words Wednesday, let’s look at the words we use for underwear and where we got them.

Bikinis. Bikini is a toponym (word coined for geography). In 1946, Jacques Heim designed “the world’s smallest swimsuit” and called it the Atom. Frenchman Louis Réard designed a two-piece swimsuit which scandalously exposed the navel and claimed that it split the Atom–thus calling it the “bikini” since Americans were conducting atomic tests at the Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific. Underwear in the same shape are also called bikinis.

Bloomers. Elizabeth Miller was a women’s suffragist who became “thoroughly disgusted with the long skirt…” and in 1851 invented loose trousers to be worn by women. Her design was promoted and popularized in The Lily, the first newspaper for women which was edited by Amelia Bloomer. Eventually, Ms. Bloomer’s name became associated with the design itself.

Boxers. Thank the pugilists for this one. Everlast’s founder, Jacob Golomb, created a lightweight version of fighting shorts in 1925, which were loose around the legs and had an elastic waist instead of a leather belt. As underwear, boxers didn’t take off until World War II (1941-45 in the U.S.).

Briefs. In 1934 Arthur Kneibler of the Wisconsin hosiery company Coopers, Inc. received a postcard from a friend who had visited the French Riviera, noted a bikini-style bathing suit, and asked if it could be converted into underwear. Kneibler went to work and introduced snug, legless undies with an overlapping Y-front fly, which were called “Jockey shorts” (see jockstrap below). These were obviously shorter–or briefer–then the underwear that had existed before. The first reference to “jockey briefs” appears in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1966. Briefs, or jockeys, are also called Y-fronts.

Drawers. This term has been around since the 16th century and derives from the verb “draw” in the sense of “pull.” It referred to clothing that you pulled up, such as stockings, underpants, and pants.

Jockstrap. It couldn’t have felt too pleasant to ride a bicycle on cobblestone streets in the 1800s. Thus, the “jockstrap” was invented in 1874 to provide support for cyclists or “bicycle jockeys.”

Knickers. Knickers is a shortening of the word “knickerbockers”–a term invented for the Dutch trousers illustrated in A History of New York (1809) by Washington Irving. Irving wrote the book under the pseudonym Dietrich Knickerbocker. Eventually, the term was shortened and used to describe women’s underwear–which in the 19th century did resemble the knee-length Dutch pants.

Long Johns. We’re not sure where this term came from. However, the use of the term “long johns” became popular during World War II with thermal underwear being issued to United States Army GIs. The most popular explanation for the inclusion of “john” is that a boxer, John L. Sullivan, frequently wore long johns to fight.

Panties. Panties are the shortened version of pants or pantalettes. (Pants is short for pantaloons, based on a 1580s Italian comedy in which Pantaloun was a character who wore tight trousers). The word “panties” was first used in 1908.

Skivvies. I defer entirely to the Word Detective on this one: “Little is known but much has been conjectured. We do know that ‘skivvy’ in this sense was originally a nautical term, and ‘skivvy’ was apparently at one time also used as an exclamation of excitement or surprise among sailors. … Probably the only plausible theory yet proposed about ‘skivvy” ties it to the Japanese word ‘sukebei,’ … supposedly frequently used as a greeting (the equivalent of ‘Lonely, sailor?’) by Japanese and Korean prostitutes to English-speaking sailors after World War II. … But this is all conjecture, and no real evidence (e.g., published accounts of sailors explaining ‘skivvy’ in terms of prostitutes) has yet surfaced.” I think I’ll just avoid that term altogether now.

Thongs. When I was growing up, a thong was a flip-flop. Really. Just ask your mom. However, fashion designer Rudi Gernreich is credited with inventing the modern thong in 1974. It first began showing up on beaches in Brazil (leave it to those Carnival people) and became popular in other places in the 1990s. The word “thong” originally meant a cord or strip of leather–such as was used in flip-flop sandals and the backside of these undies. Going back further, “thong” derives from the root “twengh” which means “to press in on, to restrain.” Sounds about right to me.

One last word on undies: Have you ever wondered why we call them a “pair” of undies? That’s because underwear were originally two separate pants pulled onto each leg and then tied together at the waist. I for one am glad that design has changed.

So what other words for underwear do you know or use? Any others you want me to research?

Sources: MacMillion Dictionary; Cambridge Dictionaries Online; Merriam-Webster; Winning the Vote; National Park Service; A Brief History of Underwear; The History of Thongs; Pants People-Nuts about Underwear; Mental Floss; Jockey; Arnold Zwicky’s Blog; World Wide Words; Wise Geek; Word Detective

Summer Swingin’ and Stylin’: #ROW80

As I explained last week, I was not planning on getting much done on my ROW80 goals because I was going to church camp near Bandera, Texas. There is a single Internet connection in one particular building on the site, and access is limited. As a result, I spent about two hours online for the whole week.

On the writing/reading front, I did read one chapter of Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, and I found a few moments to respond to some comments on my blog. I wrote Bible class curriculum for the young ones (9 through 11 year olds) for camp, and I enjoy that kind of writing as well.

Other highlights of the week include…

Jumping off the tire swing at the river (yes, it’s me):

Getting a care package at camp from a friend on the same week I posted about why I don’t want a (permanent) tattoo, with these inside:

Coming home to find my new crossbody cell phone carrier, as recommended by the incomparable Natalie Hartford, had arrived:

And spending time with 120 fabulous 9-11 year olds who made my week with their smiles, hugs, and love for God and each other. One little girl even gave me a gift on the last day–a “goodbye scarf” she knitted with her fingers:

For this coming week, I will be playing CATCH UP!!! I have the following goals:

  • Finish reading Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell.
  • Cheer on the ROW80 participants.
  • Edit at least 50 pages of SHARING HUNTER, my young adult contemporary novel.
  • Exercise at least twice this week.
  • Read a couple of books written by fabulous writer friends.
  • Scread the 196 blog posts that piled up in my queue.
  • Submit a query for SHARING HUNTER.

How are all of you doing? Are you feeling stylish and enjoying your summer? Getting your writing goals knocked out?

Best wishes to all of my fellow ROWers, whom you can find HERE.

Neologistically Speaking

Welcome to Amaze-ing Words Wednesday! Some time ago, I wondered if I could make up my own word. And then I did.

New words are called neologisms (neo=new, logo=word). Neologisms are added to our language all the time. For instance, technology has brought us “texting,” “tweeting,” and “Googling.” When you can’t find any word in the English language that conveys exactly what you mean, you could try adding a neologism to the existing vocabulary.

This is risky, of course. Language is, after all, for the purpose of passing along meaning between people, and if no one else understands your word, your meaning falls flat. Still, it’s worth a shot, and some great terms have made their way into our common lexicon by throwing a new word out there!

Here are a few I’m adding to my own word bank.

Scread. I picked this up from an episode of Fairly Legal. The main character, lawyer Kate Reed, is asked whether she read or skimmed a client’s file. Her answer is that it was something in between: She scread the file. Past tense, this is pronounced [skred]. It now applies to how I often go through blog posts, newspaper articles, and all of the paperwork the school sends home with my kids.

Infinimore. I give credit to my younger, and quite creative, son for this this word! We have a game of saying “I love you” and then the other says “more” or “infinity.” So he combined the two to come up with infinimore. He defines it as “more than infinity.” While I don’t know how more than infinity is possible, I now adore trading “I love you infinimore” with him. (I know, I know, he’ll eventually stop using it with me and use it on girls.)

Humblebrag. This one I saw on author Jenny B. Jones’s website. It immediately piqued my interest, so I searched the word “humblebrag” on the Urban Dictionary. The simplest definition is “a brag shrouded in a transparent form of humility.” An example tweet: “Uggggh just ate about fifteen pieces of chocolate gotta learn to control myself when flying first class or they’ll cancel my modeling contract LOL :p #humblebrag.” It’s a statement that sounds like you’re complaining but conveys that you are superior to others. Another one on the site was something like, “Just stepped in gum on the red carpet! Ugh.” Makes you want to say, “Ooh, poor baby.” *massive eye roll*

Hairitude. As you can see from this list, by far the easiest way to come up with a new word is to take two known words and shove them together somehow. That’s exactly what I did when Jenny Hansen asked for her peeps to vote for fictional character Rapunzel in Clay Morgan’s March Movie Madness. I was quite happy to vote for Rapunzel whose spunk and 80-foot long hair I admired and desired. I slapped together “hair” + “attitude” to say that Rapunzel’s got hairitude! I think this term can apply, however, to any chick with an out-of-the-box, over-the-top hairdo that communicates an “I am all that” attitude. Personally, I think these ladies have hairitude:

Kate & Cindy of the B-52s
Farrah Fawcett with THE hairdo to have when I was growing up.
Princess Leia & the buns
Amy Winehouse - Gone too soon, but the hair rocked.
HAIRITUDE!

If you love adding new words to your vocabulary, check out Natalie Hartford‘s Urban Word Wednesdays posts. Some of these terms are too raunchy for work water cooler conversation, but Natalie does a great job introducing neologisms and giving us a hilarious primer on their use.

So what words have you made up? What neologisms should we add to our common language? Are there concepts or things for which we need a new word? Maybe we can help.

(Note: I do try to keep this site PG-ish, so keep that in mind. Thanks.)