Smart Podcast, Trashy Books Podcast

481. Sweet Dreams Recap: The Popularity Plan by Rosemary Vernon

It’s time for part two of the Sweet Dreams Romance Recap Project, featuring The Popularity Plan by Rosemary Vernon. 

Unlike P.S. I Love You, I hadn’t read this one before, so it’s an adventure for all of us. We’ve got some hefty social anxiety, friends with Plans (and wall calendars as seen on the cover) and some very classic dating tropes. Grab your tea and your comfy hoodie and come hang out with me!


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This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.

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  1. denise says:

    @Kareni answered the question about theme books. I think Mead specifically used the word *theme* on theirs, and they may still. I think theme book was an old school word that just became shorted to notebook over time. Of course, we had all of those 80s notebooks with unicorns, kittens, horses, and patterns a la 90s Lisa Frank style, too. I had Duran Duran. I think I still have the matching folder. Duranie for life.

    It depended on the high school as to whether or not there was a band. DJs were about half the price of some bands. The public schools usually didn’t, unless it was a prom, but the Catholic and the independent private schools did. At my high school, we hosted 4-6 dances a year. (We also had a convention for electing student government officers. Full-on convention.) Dances were sponsored by the SGA (Student Government Association). The SGA sponsored a lot of events and we sold those stupid candy bars. Tickets and refreshments helped to defray the costs. There may have been some money from the high school–it was the 80s, we were post-integrated desegregation phase 2, so we had a lot of federal money coming in–that’s another story. It wasn’t that expensive. We decorated the cafeteria after school. Just crepe paper. All events had to be approved by an associate principal. Prom was a junior/senior at my high school, and it was sponsored by the junior class. Yes, I lettered in SGA and still have my letter. We had jackets, too. Still have that.

    However, Belle’s Ball, a formal dance held in December, after Christmas, did. But it was sponsored by a Junior League-type of women’s group from our town. It was a quasi-public school deb dance, but not quite. They looked at GPA, activities, etc… but since a group of moms and their committee got to decide the exact girls invited, there were a few girls wrongfully excluded. Surprisingly, I was not excluded. And, another surprise, it was diverse, to the extent our school district was. Junior girls received a small silver bell charm, and senior girls received a larger silver bell charm. I still have my bells. Plus red dance cards with little pencils attached. That dance had a band and a DJ! And, it was held at conference center at the University of Delaware–prior to that, it had been held at a local country club.

    A guy driving a Dodge Dart or similar car was probably considered cool. I knew a couple of guys who drove them. Back then, a car like that could be bought used for $500-750. I had to pay for my own car, and my parents made me save a certain amount before we looked for used cars.

    She probably could have just gone to Macy’s and bought a Jessica McClintock dress–some of those with calico patterns would have passed for the dress she wore. Ironically, Jessica’s formal wear was Gunne Sax (gunnysack). If you didn’t get a formal dress from a bridal salon, you were probably wearing a Gunne Sax.

    I think I covered everything. I’m exceedingly detail-oriented and thorough–an almost perfect eidetic memory means I have a lot of recall for specific detail. It also means you are called an encyclopedia and other not-so-nice names in high school. But, I have my bells.

    Thank you for the nice mention from P.S. I Love You.

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