At a picnic table outside, Jen "Mack Attack" Lindley tells Henry "Fondle" Parker about the prom, which evidently takes place the next weekend. At my school, we had to reserve for the prom at least a month in advance; you couldn't just buy a ticket the week of the event. And we didn't have separate proms for juniors and seniors, but I went to a really small school. I know you'll all sleep better at night knowing how we did things at my school. Not. ["I have to ask: A school as small as Capeside High would bother to throw a junior prom? Because I went to a tiny rural high school and we didn't get one. (Sep did also, and pointed this out to me via ICQ as she watched the episode.)" -- Wing Chun] Anyway, Jen blathers on about how it's a "ridiculous and embarrassing ritual" and how it reinforces gender roles and "punishes the geeks," on and on and on, all by way of showing how much she really wants to go but feels nervous about asking Henry to come with her. Henry sees through the rambling: "You've never been to a prom before, have you?" "Well, no," Jen admits, and starts babbling again about how much proms suck, but Henry interrupts her again: "So in other words, you're asking me to go." She nods and bites her lip: "Yeah." "I'd love to," Henry says. Jen beams. He puts his arm around her and they head inside.
"The theme of this year's prom is couples," Barbara Johns drones. "Please state your name as well as the name of your date." Jack stutters out his own name, then Ethan's name. "Excuse me?" Barbara sneers, and when Jack starts to spell the name "Ethan" for her, she cuts him off with, "A boy cannot go to the prom with a boy. The definition of a prom date is a boy and a girl." Jack doesn't think that's any of Barbara's business, but she's not done, saying that she doesn't understand why Jack needs to "cause a spectacle" and "ruin the prom for the rest of" the students. Like the sight of you in a strapless gown isn't a spectacle of ruination all on its own, you heterosexist T.J.-Maxx-fashions-wearing cow. Anyway, Barbara says that if Jack insists, she'll have to check with Mrs. Meyer, the faculty advisor. "You're not going to sell me a ticket?" Jack sputters in disbelief, and Barbara keeps up with the bigoted invective, asking Jack if he thinks him and Ethan dancing cheek-to-cheek and having their picture taken and so on won't "weird out even the ones who are sympathetic to people like you?" Jack looks like he might cry from frustration: "You can't do this." Barbara blows him off, saying he can try again after she talks to Mrs. Meyer and calling out, "Next!" Jack stomps off, passing Dawson as he comes up to the table, and Dawson asks if he's okay, and Jack sneers, "Fine," in Barbara's direction and says he has to go. Dawson looks after him as Barbara drones her little piece again. Dawson reminds her that they have gym class together, so she knows his name; Barbara repeats pointedly, "Please state your name as well as the name of your date." Get a life, Barb. Dawson says smugly, "Dawson Leery and Joey Potter." Barbara coos, "Oh -- happy couple, back together?" and we see a shot of Pacey sitting nearby and looking defeated as Dawson says, "Something like that, yeah," and Dawson walks away from the table with his tickets and sees Pacey staring at him sadly, and Dawson makes a little "ha!" motion with his mouth and keeps walking, and Pacey looks down at his tray.