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In my high school, nearly 15 years ago, Prom was quickly approaching. Everyone was very excited. And if you knew anything at all about that school, you knew there were only two people with a realistic shot at it. I don't know what your high school was like, but in mine- it was not enough to be the popular school cheerleader. You needed to have some cred of your own, or none of the girls would vote for you. The favorite...hell the overwhelming favorite was a tall, lithe girl named...well let us call her Beverly Flossman. Beverly played Tennis. Not at the internationally level, but State. She was stunning- tanned, blonde, athletic. She was nice enough, and very popular because she did not have the ascerbic- I am so better than you- air that some cheerleaders did. She and her boyfriend (Headboy no less) were bonafide school royalty.

Sometime around the middle of the school semester, her popularity came under some threat by another girl,...lets call her Jordan Lee. Jordan until then had been president of the science and debate clubs, a scrawny, geeky girl who had suddenly blossomed into a Natalie Imbruglia look-alike much to the delight of the geek brigade (of which I was the only other female member- far less attractive of course). It was so unheard of for a nerd girl to be so shockingly pretty that she won a lot of popularity even among the jocks. The nerds of course loved her and worshipped her because she could still discuss the merits of DnD 1.3.

It was at a pre-graduation party that the drama happened. I came to school to find everyone gossiping in a corner. There were gasps, there were "OMG" faces.  I never did know what happened since it changed depending on who said it. Apparently at the party, Bev's boyfriend was speaking to Jordan, but Bev ...wait for it...had walked away without saying Hello.


How absolutely classless some claimed. Surely Beverly, the favorite for  prom queen could have been a bit more chill about it! Would it have killed her to say hello when her OWN BOYFRIEND was apparently cordial enough?

Oh please! Jordan was a stuck up nerd who thought she was too good for Bev. Like she should have said hello FIRST since the party was hosted by Beverly's friend which makes Bev the host by extension. Said others.

By the end of the first week, even our teachers knew what had happened. A couple even had opinions. As prom night approached, everyone took a hard stance. If you stood for equality and were in any way egalitarian- you had to loathe Bev for her snootiness and vote for Jordan or you were a traitor to your club. If you were a popular sort, you had to prevent the uppity geeks from taking over the school tradition and smearing the good name of Bev. And if you didn't pick a side, you were a total LOSER.

So heated the battle became that prom almost assumed secondary importance. People wore badges proclaiming their loyalty and people with Bev badges and people with Jordan badges hardly even looked at each other. It got so heated that prom committees were divided by affiliation. Jordan lovers were in  charge of food and beverage and Bev lovers were in charge of decorations. The teachers themselves had to take over the elections as neither trusted anyone (student) to be objective about this. Two teachers were asked to step down because students believed they were too biased towards one of the candidates (Biology teacher for alleged bias towards Jordan and PE teacher too biased towards Bev). Dates got remade, couples broke up, and even classes were slightly disrupted. Why? Because if you knew an answer to a question, you were automatically assumed to be in the Jordan camp and booed. If you played any kind of sport, you'd get hissed at.

It was all terribly juvenile.

Prom night approached. The Prom queen was announced and much to everyone's surprise neither of the two won. The winner was an awkward, pedantic girl who happened to tutor the soccer and lacrosse  team with Calculus. The boys, po'ed by the events decided to just vote the girl who had done them a favor. Her name had to be announced four times, and an usher sent to the bathroom to drag her out where she had been smoking. Reeking of herbs, she laughed insisting there had been a mistake. That there was no way in hell she could be Prom Queen and what was more even if she was, she refused to be one because that was lame.

Sadly, the photographer must have thought the same thing. He left in protest, and so did the Prom King. The teacher in charge of prom started crying in front of 80 students. I think the "prom queen" felt bad and accepted the crown. There were no pictures.

Ten years later, I ran into one of my school friends and asked her if she ever knew what happened...for real that is. She claimed that Jordan and Bev - while not friends were hardly antagonistic. Why did Bev walk away? I asked- that urgent question that people had formed so many diverse answers. She didn't know.

"You were Bev's friend!" I protested. She shrugged.

Who was at fault, no one knows. Was it a snub, or an absolutely normal turn of events. Was Jordan uppity, was Beverly mean? All I know is the people who debated, argued, fretted and cast character aspersions about it ended up ruining prom for me.

So, just a friendly warning to those getting all snubbed out over a snub. Too much occupation on possibilities without any inkling of the truth may get me elected. And I can confidently say, both Hillary and Barack will make far better presidents than I would.

Originally posted to imported beer on Tue Jan 29, 2008 at 09:11 AM PST.

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