May 14, 2008

Prom Season

Most of the memories of high school have fallen out of my head. I had fun, I just don't remember much about it. Maybe I had too much fun. It was also sixteen years ago (holy shit!). But not too long ago I had to enter my old high school to vote in the Virginia primaries. The hallways were smaller than I remember and there seemed to be classrooms where I'm sure none existed before. It made me feel kind of old. Yet, despite the passage of those sixteen years, I recall several high school institutions fondly - Friday night football games, basketball games in the winter, skipping the lunch period to hit Taco Bell (something I did every day - really - for an entire school year and busted only once), homecoming and, of course, prom.

Without even glancing at a calendar, you can tell when it's prom season. Swarms of limos can be seen on the road, teens in fancy dresses and tuxedos are in bloom, and surprisingly young people trying to look very suave and sophisticated show up in restaurants.

When I was in high school, I actually went to three proms. During my sophomore year, I DJed my prom. Correction. I stood behind a table holding a couple tape decks smoking cigarettes cringing at the really bad Richard Marx and Michael Bolton songs blaring through the hotel ballroom. Aside from that, I remember very little. I was in-between girlfriends when my junior prom rolled around. I went with a good friend (Amy) and her boyfriend (Adam - one of my best friends at the time who went to a different school) and my "date" was a cute private school chick. It was kinda fun. I mean, Adam and Amy were practically on the verge of intercourse all night long but for me there was no pressure and Erin was cool to hang out with (and, I'm not going to lie, kinda hot). By the time of my senior prom, I was dating someone seriously. I forget where we went or who we went with though I seem to recall it was with her older brother who was a friend and classmate of mine. I had a penchant for cradle robbing. But talk about awkward.

So recently when I've seen all these kids, dressed up, in such a hurry to be all adult and shit, it makes me laugh. I mean, first, there's no reason to be in a rush to grow up. You think adulthood will be cool because you can eat all the ice cream you want, go to bed whenever you please, stay out on a school night because really there are no more school nights, and you can legally drink beer. The problem is that its not as cool as you think it will be. Worse, when you get older ice cream makes you fat, it's a bitch to roll out of bed if you've stayed up too late the night before, and too much beer still makes you puke. Second, they just look silly. I'm pretty sure I thought I was hot shit when I was that age, hitting my own prom but they're kids. Not hot shit. Kids.

What kind of prom memories do you have? Come on - spill. You know you want to!

Posted by Chris at May 14, 2008 6:26 AM

Ah, I'm like the queen of the antiprom. My junior year, I went with about 20 friends (sadly, it was like 18 girls, 2 guys, lol) - my good friend at the time was dating a guy who wouldn't go and at the end of the prom (which was fun - I love dancing and always have), me and her met her boyfriend and his friend in the parking lot. I remember changing out of my big puffy dress in the parking lot to put comfortable clothes on! She left with her boyfriend, his friend came with me... and we started dating after that... (Sadly, he died in a car accident 8 years ago).

My senior prom the guy I was dating at the time didn't want to go - so I went anyway, left early and went to his house for a bit before going to to the after party at a friend's house...

God. Prom was just a nonevent for highschool, I guess....

Posted by: sarah at May 14, 2008 7:44 AM

Hmmm, I remember a stretchy yellow dress, a guy with a light blue tux (ew) something about stealing a golf cart and, ah.......

sex in the middle of a golf course in a light rain.


Posted by: Julia at May 14, 2008 7:53 AM

I didn't go to my prom - and have no regrets about it - but I just had to say that damn, that paragraph about kids wanting to grow up is so true. I can remember looking at seniors in high school when I was a lower classman and thinking "God, they're so grown up!" Now I look at anyone under 25 and wonder how they got to be so young.

Posted by: diz at May 14, 2008 8:06 AM

I remember wanting to feel pretty and having the dress, hair, make-up etc. And then feeling out of it because I'd made my dress and all the other girls had these hot store numbers and they worse heels. I never did (already tall) and so although looking back I was sweet, at the time I felt awkward as hell.

Posted by: Maribeth at May 14, 2008 8:08 AM

Well, my Junior Prom was typical, but at my Senior Prom my best friend ended up making out with my date (my closest guy friend). You might think it would be awkward or even a bummer, but it was actually more of a bummer that they didn't end up getting together after the prom.

Sigh. Prom is so over rated.

Posted by: chatty cricket at May 14, 2008 8:12 AM

I was a non-prom gal too. I did not go to my Junior Prom. I just wasn't interested. My Senior Prom? Pfft. My loser boyfriend (who went on to become my loser ex-husband) didn't want to fork over the money for a tux. So I went with my friend, Ricky. THAT went over well with the ex. Hah.

We actually had a good time, but it was nothing all that exciting. The people we went with were all couples and so there was lots of canoodling and making out and all that, which was a bit awkward for us. I actually thought about it, you know, with Ricky. He was good looking and all. But my best friend had it bad for him, and I WAS 'with' someone else, even if he was a dick. And cheating just isn't something I could do...

I was home by 1 a.m. and had not a drop of alcohol. Party animal, I was.


Posted by: Jen at May 14, 2008 8:13 AM

Funny you should ask... My prom memory is dancing with my ex-boyfriend (we broke up a month before the prom)(the one who didn't want to be responsible for "deflowering" me) to Paradise by the Dashboard Light (yes, by Meatloaf)... and him saying he regretted breaking up with me for the reason above...
and me LAUGHING at him, b/c I was so much better off...

Posted by: Stephanie at May 14, 2008 8:18 AM

I went to 4 proms ~ all with the same guy. My junior and senior, and his junior and senior. He was a year younger than me. His senior prom was a lot of fun, and we went to go see the 3rd Star Wars afterwards. However, my senior prom was HORRIBLE. He ruined the night for me, bitching and whining about my dress because it hurt his arms. And he bitched because I wanted to spend some time with my best friend who went as a favor to me with another good friend of mine ~ my best friend didn't go to the school, and she had only met this good friend of mine once. So I, obviously, didn't want to really leave them alone incase they didn't hit it off. I ended the night in tears. It sucked.

Posted by: secha at May 14, 2008 8:23 AM

I've never gone to a prom.

Posted by: daisy at May 14, 2008 8:23 AM

I was just discussing prom with a friend over the weekend. My junior prom was awesome. In my small school, juniors bought the seniors prom. My class thought we weren't going to get a senior trip, so we blew our wad on the prom. I wore jeans. I went alone. I stayed out until dawn with my friends. It was incredible. Senior year sucked. I wore a dress, got my picture taken, and was home by midnight. Grr.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at May 14, 2008 8:52 AM

Senior year I was friends with a guy a couple of years out of high school. He was dating a junior. Her parents didn't know. I was good friends with her too. He asked me to take her to the prom.

Yeah, I was the guy you could trust with your girlfriend, and I wasn't gay. My only memory of the actual prom is that the DJ played Jump by Van Halen several times.

Posted by: COD at May 14, 2008 8:59 AM

Oh, hell... The night started out with the discovery that my friend Greg's parents had removed all our booze from his truck. (I can't imagine how they found it, secured neatly in a red Coleman cooler, in plain view behind the cab. Duh.) Somehow we managed to procure several bottles of Mickey's Malt Liquor in its place, and also to disturb so many guests at the hotel that the front desk broke up our party. I think. Mostly I just remember being locked out of my own room once I ambled back down to it, those on the other side "sleeping" far too deeply to answer my desperate plea. With nothing but the clothes on my back, an underclassman I barely knew drove me home as the sun came up. I still remember how the morning dew felt on my bare feet as I traipsed toward my front door, socks in hand, shoes locked up at the Comfort Inn. (Along with my purse, keys, dress, and dignity.)

Several years later, Greg was in town and came to a small gathering at my place. Guess what he was toting? My bottle of Malibu, still wrapped neatly in its brown paper sack. His parents, bless their hearts, had held onto our libations until we were of age. Too bad they still tasted like suntan lotion.

Posted by: jessica at May 14, 2008 9:04 AM

"and I lift my glass to the awful truth/which can't be revealed to the ears of youth/except to say, it isn't worth a dime."
I only ever went to one prom. I don't remember it at all, save for the fact that I hated dressing up.. I still do. For some reason, dressing up always seems to coincide with an anxiety-producing event.

Posted by: Martin at May 14, 2008 9:11 AM

I went to 3 proms as well. My first was with my HS sweetheart. I was such a goody-goody that there was no drinking and no intercourse.

My next 2 proms were a different story. I ditched the boyfriend (as well as the whole goody-goody crowd) and ended up gong to both of those proms with people that had either been expelled from school or had dropped out (klassy, I know) since they had to go with a student in order to attend. Funny the difference a year can make when you're 16!

Posted by: Mymilabean at May 14, 2008 9:16 AM

I went to a junior prom and two senior balls (? that's what they called it in CA...) I think that is correct. I am not spilling anything. Most of these events were drunken experiences with people I hardly knew... I just went for the party aspect of it all. There was one poor boy who asked me to his prom and he liked me a lot but I did not like him. Again I just went for the party. One thing I do remember that was ton of fun. One of these dances we went to dinner at a middle eastern place with belly dancers and they let us drink underage. It was so cool and I felt as you said so cool, adult but looking back OMG what a dork I was!!!

Okay another thing I remember is the music. I hated the slow songs and would hide in the bathroom but AC/DC was so much fun to be crazy too!

Posted by: Christina at May 14, 2008 9:18 AM

I didn't go to prom. A friend of mine did ask me, really early in the year, but I said no because he had a girlfriend!

Richard Marx- how- please tell me how- that awful song (you know which one) got to be so popular. I'm STILL sick of it. It's the ballad of the co-dependent doormat.

Michael Bolton...I don't even care to mention the name, because I'll hear his voice in my head and that's very, very bad.

At least Richard Marx could play the piano.

Posted by: jessica at May 14, 2008 9:35 AM

I'm sure someone else also asked this, but...

You smoked cigarettes at your prom?! Dude! BADASS!

Posted by: Poppy at May 14, 2008 10:07 AM

Jen and I didn't want to be lame juniors at a mostly senior prom (2300 kids, didn't know people from other class levels), so we just went our senior year. It was fun, and we danced, although we weren't big dancers. The post-party was the most fun, as we got to stay in a hotel with friends, which was VERY adult, don't-you-know.

As was true with most things, the most fun was just hanging out with people we liked. The dance was more backdrop than anything.

Posted by: Brad at May 14, 2008 10:12 AM

Memories of my prom, by Dawn:
Rubbery chicken that was wwaayy overpriced.
A seed in the joint I was smoking popped and burned a hole in my prom dress.
The end.

Posted by: Dawn at May 14, 2008 10:12 AM

Prom was lame, but my date was tall, dark and hot. And I'm still with him, 29 years later. He's still tall, there's a little silver mixed with the dark, and he's still hot.

Posted by: KathyK at May 14, 2008 10:46 AM

I remember the fuscia sequined gown my mom paid $300.00 for to rent for one night. Getting my hair done, make up done and nails done. Going out to eat at the fancy and nice steakhouse in downtowm Birmingham, AL called Micheals.

I remember feeling so grown up in that dress.

Thats about it. But I do remember my Mom always telling me not to be so rushed to grow up and the reasons why, I was telling my eight year old nephew that same thing the other day just as my Mom had told me. I felt old. Everyone calls me ma'am now when we go out to eat or ask for help at a store. It makes me feel old. I realize now that for the rest of my life there will be constant reminders of my aging...getting old and I wonder why I ever would have wanted to rush into that. Now I am stuck with it.

Yeah teenagers, they really have it all figured out. Ha!

Posted by: Kelly M. at May 14, 2008 10:46 AM

Prom... *sigh* *dreamy look*

My proms were pretty much what every teen wannabe princess dreams of. I went my sophomore and junior year. The first year my dress was a princess gown. The second year I commanded my mother to make me exactly what I dreamed of and she did. No more gowns, this was hot hot hot. Prom for me meant dinner at the finest restraunts, gondola rides and a horse drawn carriage and sex. Good sex even. By my senior year the guy I was dating worked at a youth camp in CA. Instead of going to prom I flew out to spend the weekend with him. We had beans and franks, a leaky cabin with foam pad mattresses, bugs and dirt and sex. Good sex.

I had my priorities right!

Posted by: SassyPants at May 14, 2008 10:50 AM

I went to my Sr prom with a friend, but after securing that "escort" I met the guy that would be my serious boyfriend. I was stuck... so in this time (25 years ago-GASP!)of no cell phones, I spent all of my prom in the hallway at the place we had our prom on the phone with my boyfriend. The guy that went with me, ended up meeting and then dating someone from my class. Ah, good times...

This year, I have one of those too eager to be an adult kids headed to her senior prom. It has brought out many old memories.

Posted by: Karen at May 14, 2008 11:05 AM

You can see pictures from both my proms here:

Posted by: Gwen at May 14, 2008 11:08 AM

My boyfriend's insanely overprotective mom wanted to come with us and chaperone the whole night, which made for a lot of stress before the event. Fortunately that didn't end up happening, and we did have a nice dinner out, but then we had a bomb threat at the prom from some disgruntled student and all had to go home early. In retrospect, I remember the evening being kind of a disappointment.

Posted by: Amy at May 14, 2008 11:13 AM

*sigh* ahhh prom.... jr prom was interesting, went w/ a good friend who I had quasi dated after his best friend smashed my heart to smithereens and we went w/ said ex and his date was the object of my date's affections....sordid much? The guys took us to a japanese steak house for dinner, we girls were both vegetarians. but overall the night was a hit. Sr Prom on the other hand....oy! went w/ the wrong guy, he proposed in front of a large group of my friends so I couldn't say no and then ended the night by pissing me right the hell off! What a guy! lol

And adulthood? way overrated! I'm thinking of goign back to kindergarten...

Posted by: Kris at May 14, 2008 11:36 AM

I spent most of my junior prom watching my boyfriend dance with his ex-girlfriend. Who was my friend. And they were "friends". Soo, I didn't do anything.

I spent most of my senior prom walking around, wondering where my date (who was a friend) went for two hours (outside to smoke because he was bored). I hadn't even planned on going, but everyone was like OMG, you can't miss your senior prom.

I could have easily missed both and saved myself some dammed dress money.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 14, 2008 11:38 AM

I only went to one prom: my senior one. I was between boyfriends at the time so I went with my good friend Jay. I wore a ridiculous pink fluffy confection of a dress (hey, it was the 80s) and made poor Jay don a light gray tux with a pink cumberbund (amazingly - he still speaks to me to this day).

We went in a limo with another couple. Dinner was served at the prom, so there was no eating out before it. I recall being very bored, doing very little dancing and then getting obscenely drunk at the post-prom party and being terribly hungover for the next day and a half. Good times, good times.

Posted by: Kimberly at May 14, 2008 12:03 PM

I only went to one prom: my senior one. I was between boyfriends at the time so I went with my good friend Jay. I wore a ridiculous pink fluffy confection of a dress (hey, it was the 80s) and made poor Jay don a light gray tux with a pink cumberbund (amazingly - he still speaks to me to this day).

We went in a limo with another couple. Dinner was served at the prom, so there was no eating out before it. I recall being very bored, doing very little dancing and then getting obscenely drunk at the post-prom party and being terribly hungover for the next day and a half. Good times, good times.

Posted by: Kimberly at May 14, 2008 12:04 PM

Our school did not allow dancing (it was not in the Bible, so it was of the devil) and no booze of course.

Thank God for LSD.

Posted by: Phil at May 14, 2008 12:09 PM

I was officially asked to not attend our prom. For some reason they had it in their heads that I was a trouble maker. I don't know where they got that idea. But anyway, I never had the prom experience. Can't say that I missed much from the sounds of it either.

Posted by: Jeff A at May 14, 2008 12:48 PM

my school didn't have a prom.
i'm still bitter about it.

Posted by: ali at May 14, 2008 1:21 PM

I went to three proms when I was in high school in the 70's! First one as a Freshman ( I know, unheard of. The senior girls were not pleased). The other two were with a different boyfriend, his prom then my prom.
He was a tightwad that refused to buy anything new to wear for these occasions. So, to my complete horror he wore ill fitting pants, brown suede shoes that looked a bit like tennis shoes, a cordory jacket that had those patches on the elbows and a plaid bow tie. When I look at the pictures, I still shudder. What a goober he was. I ,on the other hand, looked hot in my Jessica McClintock-Gunne Sax dress!
I am still friendly with him and he commented recently that he does not know how I put up with him and his poor clothing choices. I don't know either!
My daughter is going to her senior prom this saturday. We have purchased four dresses and returned two of them so far. She has finally decided between the last two dresses and will be taking back the one that I like, of course. All the turmoil that is surrounding this event is unreal. Almost like preparing for a wedding. I do not recall caring this much about the senior prom, but it was 1973 and I was a bit of a hippie.

By the way, I am from the San Francisco Bay Area, and we say "Prom" not "Ball".

Posted by: Peggy at May 14, 2008 1:51 PM

I was the photog for most of my proms so I always went. But rarely had a date. For my actual senior prom, I had a date and a baby in my tummy. And I had terrible nausea from being pregnant so it wasn't fun at all.

Posted by: Chantel at May 14, 2008 1:56 PM

I went to prom with my best friend, Nicole. I was all weirded out about going with a guy in my class because it seemed to be (between-the-lines) implied that whoever you took to prom, you would most likely "hook up" with. Which seemed silly because...I gone to school with the majority of those guys since I was in kindergarten....if I hadn't "hooked up" with any of them by then, there was NO way it was going to happen on prom night.

Of course I spent the rest of the night being called a lesbian.


Posted by: Lani at May 14, 2008 1:58 PM

You do realize that this post officially makes you an old fart, don't ya?! :)

Posted by: Suzy at May 14, 2008 2:11 PM

Oooh, Cliff's Notes version:
Junior prom: Dumped 3 days before prom, lots of crying, calling every boy I knew, alphabetically by last name, went with Adam White. Adam was 14. Got driven to prom in a '72 Nova. Hid in the curtains from my ex and his new girlfriend for most of the night. Love love loved my dress, I now cringe when I see the pictures.

Senior Prom: Fought with my best friend over the limo, ended up going camping that weekend instead. Guy I liked created a "prom" for me, my "dress" and "makeup" were tank top, shorts, sunburn and a little bit of mud.

Thanks for the inspiration for a post!

Posted by: Judy at May 14, 2008 4:25 PM

I only went to the prom my senior year...and it was a blind date. My friend Karl declined my invitation. The night before the deadline to buy tickets, I was on the phone with my big brother, who was in college. He asked who I was going to the prom with, and I said "No one."

Nate couldn't believe nobody had asked me to the prom, and said to his buddies in the room "Who wants to take my sister to the prom?" while holding up a photo of me. A freshman named John said "I'll go."

I wore a dress I'd bought the year before at a closeout sale for $11.60 (even in 1986, that was cheap) - I didn't end up going to the prom that year, because my Yugoslavian boyfriend was offended that I had spent so little money on my dress. John had to wear a white tux, because the high school in the college town held its prom the same weekend as mine, and the rental stores were all out of black tuxes.

We paraded into a Japanese restaurant in Pittsburgh (Kiku, for any Yinzers out there), where we were the only prom-goers. The adults in the room just chuckled at us, and I only felt slightly like an ass. At the actual prom, I felt better, because I was with a College Boy (even though he was wearing a white tux).

I went off to college at my brother's alma mater. John and I were friends, and we loved to tell the story of our prom date at parties.

And sorry if this is a really long comment, but hey, you asked!

Posted by: Alison at May 14, 2008 4:40 PM

The only guy friend I did actually ask was Michael, but taking a recent grad to prom again. (Talk about not letting go of your high school glory days!) And the boy I had a crush on got suspended right before prom. Not that he'd go with me anyway. I mean, I wouldn't want to take ME to prom if I was one of the coolest kids in school. So, staying home with a copy of "Carrie" was the only option for this ugly, awkward, lone international student in a private, Catholic white-bread school.

But Michael is a saint. He dropped the grad to take me instead. He said it wouldn't be a complete American experience if I didn't go to prom and I came all this way to go to American school.

Michael and I danced plenty...much to disco...and had a blast. I don't mind at all that after graduation Michael came out. Not that we all didn't figure that out already. Haha!

Posted by: oakley at May 14, 2008 4:44 PM

I did not go to prom. I worked that night at the Morrow's Nut House in the mall.

Posted by: Jodi at May 14, 2008 7:16 PM

Yeah. I'm gonna need to see some prom pictures tuit suite, my friend.

Posted by: Pammer at May 14, 2008 10:02 PM

Yeah. I'm gonna need to see some prom pictures tuit suite, my friend.

Posted by: Pammer at May 14, 2008 10:02 PM

Yeah. I'm gonna need to see some prom pictures tuit suite, my friend.

Posted by: Pammer at May 14, 2008 10:02 PM

It seems to me that everyone hits a point in their life when they stop looking at these situations through the eyes of a teenager and start seeing them as an adult would. You definitely fall on the latter end of that spectrum; I was shocked to find that I did, too :O

Posted by: Angela at May 15, 2008 1:16 AM

I'm a youngin. My junior prom was in 2003 and I went with my friend Nicole since we didn't have dates. A local band I was friends with played and JB from that band was the DJ. It was a pretty fun night since my friends were there. My senior prom in 2004, sucked. I went with Nicole again since we were again dateless and we left after an hour and went bowling in our dresses which was fun.

Posted by: Amanda at May 16, 2008 12:51 PM

My boyfriend got sick during prom and we had to leave. I was so pissed. And the scary thing is next weekend is my 20 year reunion. Think I can lose 20 pounds in 5 days?

Posted by: Heather at May 17, 2008 10:47 PM

I'm thinking my prom story and photo (MAYBE) need to be saved for it's own post. (MAYBE).

Posted by: Aimee Greeblemonkey at May 20, 2008 12:25 AM