YSaC, Vol. 208: All the good strippers are taking plastic these days.

2009 February 11

price reduced on BEAUTIFUl prom/pageant gown stand out at prom

I paid over 400 dollars for this dress. it has beautiful detail on the top and all along the bottom. not itchy at all. has been taken in in different places but can be let out or taken in more. it is a size 6 originally. PLEASE make me a reasonable offer. you are MORE than welcome to come by and try it on or have a closer look. truly a one of a kind dress. I had random people taking pictures becasue it was such a beautiful dress. email xxxxxxxxxxxx2107@yahoo.com with questions or comment. CASH ONLY and the top comes off

Shawna sent in this post, saying:

Overall, not a horrible post. It’s just… Well, first, the dress looks fairly bridal. I’m glad it’s not itchy at all, I guess. I feel COMPELLED to make a reasonable offer, perhaps after COMING BY to try it on. And you know, if I had “random people” chasing me down to snap photos, that would make me very uncomfortable. Also, who is the zoot suit creep on the lamp post? And why?

Finally, and most obviously, pay cash “and the top comes off”? Nice. That’s a motivated seller.

I’ll bet she did stand out at prom.

[ /Shawna]

This post brings me to a question. I’m somewhat of a language wonk, if you haven’t noticed. Little linguistic things really interest me, like regional variations between pop and soda or bag and sack. It’s because the rest of my life is so exciting, I’m sure, that I focus on things like this in my down time.

Anyway, I know that in parts of the US the construction, “I went to prom” is more common, but where I grew up, I went to THE prom. Saying “I went to prom” seems to me like saying, “I went to store.” My husband says, “Ours had a qualifier — you went to Senior Prom or Junior Prom.” Even then, I would say, “I went to THE Junior Prom” instead.

I have a sneaking suspicion I’m in the minority; a Google search for “I went to prom” returns over 31,500 hits, while a search for “I went to the prom” returns a mere 19,000. Luckily, the Google search also returned this blog entry on the topic, which makes me feel a little bit better — I’m not the only person who overthinks these things.

How about you folks? Did you go to prom, or did you go to the prom?

And did you take your top off for cash at [the] prom?

66 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 February 11
    laura permalink

    I was too cool to go to THE prom. “Going to prom” drives me nuts, but I guess it’s here to stay. I try to tell myself it’s like the British “going to hospital”.

    Adores: 0
  2. 2009 February 11
    Mitch permalink

    Now that you mention it, it does sound weird saying ‘we went to prom’…But I suppose we said…’we’re going to the prom’ AND we’re at prom….something to…not think about I guess.

    Adores: 0
  3. 2009 February 11

    I was going to go to the prom, but I didn’t because I got ill. If I had gone, I wouldn’t have taken my top off for cash… Though I’m sure a few girls who were in my class did.

    Oh, and that dress? It’s totally a wedding dress. I wouldn’t wear it to the prom.

    Adores: 2
  4. 2009 February 11

    We used “the prom” and prom interchangeably. You wouldn’t ask someone “Will you go to the prom with me?” You would say “Will you go to prom with me?” But at the same time, you might also say “Well let’s get dinner before we go to the prom.”

    Sadly, my prom dress didn’t have a removable top, but I probably ended up taking off my whole dress for much less than $400.

    Adores: 4
    • 2009 September 30
      Procrastinator permalink

      That sounds like a story with a bunch of interesting details, none of which, I note, you share.

      Adores: 1
  5. 2009 February 11

    I went to three proms. Heh. I beat your test. But I don’t pander!

    Oh and rarely, and I do mean RARELY does my top come off for cash.

    Adores: 0
    • 2009 September 30
      Procrastinator permalink

      Again, a detestable lack of details. What’s the trigger (since it happens so rarely)–the amount of cash? the type of top? the payor? the amount of wine? Inquiring minds want to know.

      Adores: 1
  6. 2009 February 11

    “You wouldn’t ask someone ‘Will you go to the prom with me?'”

    Um…I did. Several times, actually. (I was a bit of a dweeb. Okay, I was complete dweeb.)

    In Northern DE, where I grew up, it seemed like the guys always referred to it as “the prom,” and the girls would leave out the definite article.

    I blame the British, what with their “I went to hospital” and whatnot.

    Adores: 0
  7. 2009 February 11
    Mandy permalink

    I went to “the prom” and my date bailed and went to “the bar.”

    Adores: 4
  8. 2009 February 11
    Joe M. permalink

    While I was in the high school, we got the drunk at prom.

    Adores: 3
  9. 2009 February 11
    Jackie permalink

    I also went to the prom (I’m from Maryland originally). I can’t say I really paid much attention to what other people in my class called it though. My top didn’t come off for cash at the prom, but I do have an interesting story about a parked car and the police that I’m not going to tell in detail here.

    Adores: 0
  10. 2009 February 11
    Courtney permalink

    I have no idea how I say it now. lol. Neither sounds right – or maybe it’s that they both sound right. I’m one of those rare breeds who will say “pop” or “soda” interchangeably (though I lean toward “soda”)I grew up saying “pop” and one day I just switched for no apparent reason. How I say “route” is entirely dependent upon whether or not I’m here in Boston or if I’m talking to someone from/visiting Oregon. I’ll never be able to call a shopping cart a carriage or a buggy, though. That one I just can’t change.

    Adores: 0
    • 2009 December 5
      Windrose permalink

      I vote for Trolley. I love that term for a shopping cart.

      Adores: 0
  11. 2009 February 11
    Courtney permalink

    I guess I should clarify – I’m a recent transplant from Portland, OR to Boston – so these things are actually on my mind more than they should be!

    Adores: 0
  12. 2009 February 11

    It’s just Prom. Hands down. But I’m from Iowa so I’m not sure my opinion counts, as we say a lot of things differently.

    Adores: 0
  13. 2009 February 11
    AliceinWonderpants permalink

    BUT! If you google “at prom” you get about 288,000 results vs “at the prom” which gets a whopping 407,000. I agree that it needs an article. (And that I, too, have a bit too much time on my hands.)

    Adores: 0
  14. 2009 February 11
    Jane permalink

    No, I stayed at the home.

    Adores: 7
  15. 2009 February 11
    Elle permalink

    I went to Prom. This makes sense to me if I think of it as a proper noun rather than a common noun– “Prom” is the name of a specific event, like Woodstock. You wouldn’t say “I went to the Woodstock,” would you?

    By the way, this is definitely a wedding dress. Those are definitely wedding pictures. This lady definitely got jilted.

    Adores: 0
    • 2009 April 21

      The difference being that there aren’t thousands of Woodstock’s across the country every year.

      +1 for “the prom”

      Adores: 3
  16. 2009 February 11
    Sarah permalink

    Oh, I definitely went to THE Prom. Then again, here in Western New York, we put “the” in front of everything (e.g., “I’m going to go watch the ‘Lost'”; “Poor kid. Got the herpes.”; and [my personal favorite] “Don’t forget to lock your car doors and put on The The Club.”)

    Adores: 2
  17. 2009 February 11

    We always said, “Going to Prom.” It had an implied capital letter with it that made it a big event; so it was sort of like saying, “I’m going to Faerieworlds,” or “I’m going to Burning Man.” I confess it never struck me as an awkward way of phrasing things…

    Adores: 1
  18. 2009 February 11

    Sort of related:
    I just moved from California to Florida. One huge language difference is how freeways are referred to. In California, they say “the five” or “the ninety-one”. In Florida, they drop the “the”, so it’s just “take ninety-five to JTB”. It make my brain twitch just a little. But I think that Califonia is the weird one on this. “You wouldn’t say “take the Main street”, you would just say “take Main street”. Maybe it has to do with how significant freeways are in California. I just feel like they need articles. And captials. Especially The Five.

    Adores: 0
  19. 2009 February 11
    Marysienka permalink

    I agree with Brandie and Elle: I think it’s all in the usage. I called it Prom, and my emsemble did have a removable top (at both Proms), even if its dynamic properties weren’t demonstrated.
    We did call our highways “94” and “14” and “23”, though. Is it the midwestern backward hicks that don’t require the article preceding the proper or improper noun?

    Adores: 0
  20. 2009 February 11

    “What about Prom, Blaine? WHAT ABOUT PROM?”

    …okay, I’m old. Anyway, we used the terms interchangeably here in Seattle, if memory serves. Though we also had what we called a Tolo, which everybody else in the world knows as a Sadie Hawkins dance; no clue where “Tolo” comes from.

    Adores: 0
    • 2010 September 3

      I’m reading through the archives, so I’m a year and a half late on this, not to mention a bit embarrassed at myself that this is what finally got me commenting, but “What about Prom, Blaine?” was exactly what went through my head upon reading this, too. And you know, I can’t for the life of me remember what we called it back in my prom-going days, but I’ll always remember what Molly Ringwald called it in Pretty in Pink! ^_^

      Adores: 0
  21. 2009 February 11
    PrincessLuceval permalink

    We went to THE prom. Because there was no other. It was the major event at my lame school.

    Marysienka, you’re in Michigan, aren’t you? And that would be in THE Lower Peninsula?

    Adores: 0
  22. 2009 February 11
    Sev permalink

    I think it’s in the usage as well. But as for the dress, well I wore a very white wedding-esque dress to my senior prom. In fact, if it hadn’t lost 2 sizes in college, I would have worn it at my wedding too! The sad part is that I was supposed to go to with a really good friend, who I also happened to be madly in love with (he didn’t know), but he went to “the” NOFX show instead and I had to get a blind date because my mother wouldn’t let me NOT go after she’d bought the dress!

    Adores: 0
  23. 2009 February 11
    Courtney permalink

    Blonde Savant – being from Oregon, we thought you all were weird for calling it “the” five as well – since we feel the need to put the “I” in front of it. “Though I moved around a lot, I always lived on the I-5 corridor.” See? Though the state highways are either referred to just by number or we’d put “Highway” in front of it – “Highway 26 meets Highway 217” – though I lived just off of 99W. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, I guess – the only consistency is that we never put “the” in front of any of them. 😉

    Adores: 0
  24. 2009 February 11
    Courtney permalink

    Ha! I guess we do put “the” when referring to the I-5 corridor, just not the interstate itself. I’m still a little jet lagged, I think, as I got back from Oregon yesterday afternoon and my body has no idea what time it’s supposed to be.

    Adores: 0
  25. 2009 February 11
    Tisha_ permalink

    I went to Prom. I agree with the poster above who said it was like saying, “I went to Woodstock.” not “I went to The Woodstock.”

    Or, like, during football or basketball season, we all went to “Homecoming” not to “The Homecoming”

    And, uh, yeah, that’s a wedding dress.

    Adores: 0
  26. 2009 February 11
    Ruthie permalink

    I think when she says “the top comes off” she’s referring to that bolero-type lacy shoulder thingy. In the zoot suit picture her shoulders are bare.

    P.S. I went to prom.

    Adores: 0
  27. 2009 February 11
    Kris permalink

    I went to the prom. I’ve seen a lot of Midwestern and Canadian folks remove the “the” when they say things like, “I’m going to university next year”. It’s like a title or specific thing, like “I’m sending you a copy of Moby Dick”. You wouldn’t say, “I’m sending you a copy of book”. I guess it would have to be “I went to Prom” or “I went to the prom”. If you are going to remove the “the”, wouldn’t you capitalize prom? One things for sure, you wouldn’t capitalize all the letters in PROM!

    Adores: 0
  28. 2009 February 11
    Maria permalink

    I went to the prom in a tuxedo! And my top came off in the boyfriend’s bedroom. But not for CASH.

    Adores: 0
  29. 2009 February 11
    Kalakalot permalink

    I dunno if you can blame the Brits for “going to Prom.” I spent a year “at University” in Ireland, and there they reserve the formal dances for college students. I attended my school’s Arts Ball, and it was definitely “THE Arts Ball”, not just “Arts Ball.” Possibly because “Oh my God! Padraig asked me to Arts Ball!” sounds vaguely dirty.

    Adores: 0
  30. 2009 February 11
    Amaia permalink

    I got really drunk at the post-prom parties and bars we visited after THE Junior and Senior Proms when I was a Sophomore, then went to MY Junior Prom the following year, and finally bailed on MY Senior Prom and hung out with a friend in NYC instead. And it was the 80s…my dress could stand up on its own and in no way was detachable. (And it stayed on.) I do remember waking up wearing someone’s green bowtie, however. So maybe he took his top off.

    Adores: 0
    • 2010 January 2
      emeff permalink

      I’m also from NY (Manhattan ‘burbs) and went the THE junior and senior proms.

      Adores: 0
  31. 2009 February 11
    Amaia permalink

    Oh, and that looks like a quinceanera dress, or something worn to a particular kind of debutante ball. In fact, if you search for quinceanera in Google Images, you get a site full of zoot suits.

    Adores: 0
  32. 2009 February 12

    We went to the prom. Unfortunately 😉 We lived in Queens, NY.

    Adores: 0
  33. 2009 February 12
    jen permalink

    I grew up in British Columbia and went to “the prom” and there was only one – no junior or senior qualifications necessary.

    Adores: 0
  34. 2009 February 12
    Random Person permalink

    I, too, overthink these things. Didn’t do [the] prom, but I was on [the] law review, which is one of the few places where linguistic obsessiveness is valuable. One discussion we had a few times was whether three-letter agencies require an article. I have noticed a slow trend towards not using the article. I am not sure what’s behind this, but I know it seems like an attempt to be friendlier. “The IRS” is obviously some big government Entity. “IRS” is like our buddy. “Hey, IRS, how ya doin’?” Doesn’t work for “the IRS.” I can’t imagine that’s anyone’s *actual* intent, but that’s still what it seems like. It doesn’t even make sense, because when the name is given in full, you would never leave out the article. “Today Internal Revenue Service announced that…”? No. And yet other agencies never seem to get the “the.” Ever heard or read “the FEMA”? I haven’t. Even though, again, you have to use the article if you use the full name.

    Not sure how any of that applies to “prom.” It isn’t an agency and it isn’t an initialism. I guess in both cases it’s kind of the proper noun idea, as Elle said.

    Adores: 0
  35. 2009 February 12
    candace permalink

    I’m guessing the dude in the picture is ‘fiance who left her at altar’; and that ‘random people’ taking the pictures is secret stripper lingo for ‘wedding photographer who didn’t get paid because the wedding was called off’.

    Adores: 0
  36. 2009 February 12

    What is it about the phrase “not itchy at all” that makes me feel all itchy?

    Still, if the top comes off for cash, who needs PayPal.

    Adores: 0
  37. 2009 February 12

    I didn’t go to THE prom because I thought I was too cool for it. My older boyfriend took me out to dinner instead, but the top didn’t come off as it was attached to the rest of the dress.

    Adores: 0
  38. 2009 February 12
    Marysienka permalink

    It surely WAS “the” Lower Peninsula!
    And now that Vic-Torey pointed it out, I do feel pretty itchy …

    Adores: 0
  39. 2009 February 13

    I invited my dates to THE prom, and they accepted the invitation. Oh, I should clarify: two different years. I may be cool, but I’m not cool enough for two dates to THE prom. Neither took off their tops for cash, and I wouldn’t ask, for I [try to be] a gentleman.

    While at the prom we drank soda, pop, and soda pop. (All three terms are used interchangeably in Colorado).

    Adores: 0
  40. 2009 February 13

    Not only is that a bridal dress, it’s a bridal dress from 1975. The woman has obviously had it in the closet for 30 some years.

    Not that it’s ugly. But really – if you have to say that something “Isn’t itchy at all” that’s a warning right there.

    When you post a personals ad you don’t write: “Isn’t contagious at all” or “Isn’t under investigation by the IRS at all.”

    Adores: 1
    • 2012 June 6
      Lizzi permalink

      It’s not 30yrs old, it’s a Mary’s Bridal Informal wedding gown. They use lace a LOT still and it’s still really popular in the Mexican culture for young ladies’ Quinces. Several companies make seperate Quinceanara gown lines but wedding gowns are still a popular choice. The part about coming to her house to try it on, totally weird.

      Adores: 0
  41. 2009 February 13
    Rebecca_J permalink

    I went to The Prom.
    I think whats-er-name up there could probably MAYBE sell it as a wedding dress, given the recession and all, unless what Felicia says about it being 30 yrs old is true.

    Adores: 0
  42. 2009 February 13

    I think it would be perfect for my quincenera. Unfortunately, I’m 25 and white. I can still dream, though…

    Adores: 4
  43. 2009 March 9
    Crump permalink

    I had to make a post just to toss a new wrinkle into this linguistic discussion. Here in southern Saskatchewan (Canada) “the prom” or “prom” tends to be called “grad” and “after grad” (referring to the formal ceremony and the celebration respectively). We seem to always say “the [highway #]”.
    What actually first caught my attention in your post was the pop/soda and bag/sack comparison. I remember a family trip into North Dakota in my youth where I spent an awkward silence in a convinence store trying to figure out that when the clerk asked me if I wanted “my soda in a sack” she really meant to ask if I wanted my pop in a bag.
    Studies on this matter have proven that the people who conduct studies have way too much time on their hands: http://popvssoda.com:2998/countystats/total-county.html (sadly, this doesn’t include Canadian stats).

    Adores: 1
  44. 2009 March 11
    marn permalink

    In SW Michigan it’s THE prom.

    Adores: 0
  45. 2009 April 4
    Gaptooth permalink

    I went to The Prom. When I got there The Date ditched me to hang out with her friends. The Top didn’t come off for any cash. It was The Worst Prom ever.

    Adores: 3
  46. 2009 May 6
    Jason permalink

    Here in Texas, we seem to use both deterministically. Without the article, it refers to the one normally associated with the person; with it, it could be something else. This is analogous to several other constructs.
    I went to [my school’s] prom/I went to the prom (possibly of another school)
    I went to [my] church/I went to the church
    I went to Fiesta (the event)/I went to the fiesta (someone trying to sound Mexican by using the Spanish word for party)
    I went to [my] school/I went to the school

    Adores: 0
  47. 2009 May 8
    VagabondClown permalink

    Prom and The Prom. Interchangeable, here.

    Adores: 0
  48. 2009 May 27
    EternalDissolution permalink

    I was born in NY and reared to speak with the same dialectical peculiarities as my Queens-born parents used, but spent a large portion of my childhood in GA …

    Myself, and everyone else in my family, called it “The Prom” because “prom” is a shortened version of promenade. Just as it would be improper to say “I’m going to dance” or “I’m going to parade” when dance and parade were meant to be nouns, “I’m going to Prom” grated on my nerves and made me want to ask my Southern peers how one went about “promming” something, and what it was they were to “prom”.

    After the Abbott & Costello routine which ensued when I asked someone what was broken after mistaking “fixin’ to” as a synonym for “about to repair”, however, I decided it was best to simply keep my Yankee mouth shut about [The] Prom. 😉

    Adores: 1
  49. 2009 July 2

    In sunny So Cal, I went to Prom because my friends made me.

    Adores: 0
  50. 2009 August 29
    skrib permalink

    I went to the LAN party in formal attire. Seriously.

    Adores: 2
  51. 2009 August 31
    SoundsLikeVla permalink

    I totally understand the time you spend pondering these things. Luckily I discovered linguistics was actually a field and actually have an excuse to focus on these things! I always went to the prom, but much of my class just went to prom. I believe I went to a better dance though. After all, it was THE prom, not just your average prom. I also interchange pop and soda but this was a choice I made one day when I was 16 and realized no one ever said soda where I lived. I decided to start a revolution. I converted 1 follower. I also say advertisment the British way, but my mom maintains that is the result of too many BBC movies and an early fascination with the Brontes. I’m from Nebraska if that helps and my teachers all said the prom…it was just students that went to prom, I believe.

    Adores: 0
  52. 2009 September 4
    Kagenin permalink

    I never went to any proms. Between Sophomore and Junior years, I took a proficiency exam, and got the results about half-way through junior year, and once I learned I passed, I just stopped going to school. Supposedly there was this rumor that was going around that there was a new dress code that banned long hair and earrings on guys (I still have very long hair), and I was the first “victim” of the new rule. When I heard about that I couldn’t help but laugh.

    Never did any high school dances. Or sports (although I did try out for soccer). Or anything extracurricular for that matter. Never bought a letterman jacket, hell, I didn’t even buy a yearbook. High School was something I couldn’t wait to forget (and the pot and booze I consumed during what would have been my senior year helped out there).

    Adores: 0
  53. 2009 September 16
    Foolish Mortal permalink

    Promenade is both a verb and a noun. To promenande is to walk, or dance a step that moves you along the dance floor. A promenade is a place to walk or dance. You could promenade along the promenade. To go to prom would mean to go to dance or walk, while to go to the prom would be to go to the dance or the walkway. I can see how in many cases either would be correct usage.

    I went to a Catholic boys’ school and didn’t know a single girl I could invite to the prom. I was too shy anyway, probably because I went to a Catholic boys’ school. I’m not sure I really missed out on much by missing the prom, although I am quite sure I missed out on a lot by going to a Catholic boys’ school. I’m not even Catholic.

    Later, I cut loose while at university. I enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the dorm parties. Was the prom really all that great for most of you?

    Adores: 2
  54. 2009 September 26
    Churchill permalink

    this reminds me of the difference in Northern Californians & their southern compatriots. Those residing in the highway-clogged southern part of the state, who spend an ungodly amount of time on freeways, create a personal relationship with them to the point that they are part of the family. Those in the northern part of the state treat the roads as if they were well, roads.
    In the Bay Area and above, when giving directions you would say “get on 101 and then take 280 north.”
    In southern California, they would give directions as “hop on THE 101, then get on THE 5.”
    It’s always “the” highway. I’ve always found the personalization of asphalt slightly weird.

    Adores: 1
    • 2009 December 5
      Windrose permalink

      We also cannot tell you how many miles it is to your destination, but we can tell you how long it will will take to get there. 8)

      Side note, I had a roommate from Canoga Park move down to San Diego many years ago. We lived in El Cajon Valley. She called it THE valley, like she was used to calling San Fernando Valley THE Valley. But in San Diego there are so many valleys that no one really knew what she meant.

      Adores: 0
  55. 2009 October 1
    Emma G permalink

    I’m originally from Australia. When we support a sports team we say “Go The Bears!” whereas here in the U.S people would say “Go Bears!” I find this SO ODD. Do you really like a particular animal or are you supporting a sports team?

    Adores: 1
    • 2009 December 5

      We really like a particular animal (or, depending on the region, type of human). The sports team is just a symptom of the craze. In the Chicago area, people leave little dishes of honey and berries in front of their dwellings as offerings. In Minnesota, it’s lutefisk and Frisian scalps.

      Adores: 2
  56. 2009 December 5
    Tink permalink

    I went to MY Junior and Senior prom. I wore my converse with my dress at the prom, but before prom, we went to dinner.

    Completely interchangable, IMO. However, I’m the kind of weirdo who says “soda pop”. Never “soda”, never “pop”, certainly not “coke” (unless I wanted Coca Cola). “Soda Pop”.

    Adores: 1
  57. 2010 February 18
    Steph permalink

    I never had a prom, so I defeat all your logic. Nyah.

    But if I *were* to go to one, I would have to make up something awesome, like… “I’m going promming” (but that sounds bad), or perhaps “I am planning to attend the promenade at my place of education.”

    *peers over glasses and sniffs*

    Adores: 0

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