Friday, January 14, 2011

The Theme of the Prom Was “Illicit Sex”

Funny when you remember stuff. I was driving across town last night, listening to music but not to Bruce Springsteen or anything even Bruce Springsteen-like, when I suddenly thought about the Springsteen song “Secret Garden.” You know, the one from Jerry Maguire. No clue why.

The song has only been significant in my life exactly once. Before a prom, can’t remember which one, eligible students received some kind of invitation to it. (Do schools even send out invitations to prom? Isn’t that kind of a waste of money and paper? Wouldn’t a poster-painted banner reading “Prom: Go or Suck It” do the trick just as effectively?) This particular prom had a “Secret Garden” theme, which basically equated to a green photo backdrop with, like, plants and shit and maybe an old gate. But to introduce the theme, the invitation had lyrics to “Secret Garden,” which was probably still on people’s minds as a result of Jerry Maguire. And that would have been fine if the song wasn’t clearly about sex, with the garden symbolizing vagina, as it so often does.

Here are the lyrics that went out on every prom invitation that year:
She’ll let you in her house
If you come knockin’ late at night
She’ll let you in her mouth
If the words you say are right
If you pay the price
She’ll let you deep inside
But there's a secret garden she hides

She’ll let you in her car
To go drivin’ round
She’ll let you into the parts of herself
That’ll bring you down
She’ll let you in her heart
If you got a hammer and a vise
But into her secret garden, don't think twice

You’ve gone a million miles
How far’d you get
To that place where you can't remember
And you can't forget

She’ll lead you down a path
There’ll be tenderness in the air
She’ll let you come just far enough
So you know she's really there
She’ll look at you and smile
And her eyes will say
She’s got a secret garden
Where everything you want
Where everything you need
Will always stay
A million miles away
Which, of course, is pretty tame by today’s standards but still grossly inappropriate for a high school function. I may not remember correctly, but I think apologies were sent out the following day. I couldn’t tell you whether it resulted from incompetent oversight or the students trying to sneak a smutty joke onto official school material, but I’m willing to bet it’s actually neither of these and, instead, simply the prom being planned by people who didn’t take advanced English.

Again, don’t know why I thought about this, but I think about it whenever I hear this particular Bruce Springsteen song or, apparently, no Bruce Springsteen song at all.

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