With the end of school coming up for many high school students in the United States, I thought that I would share a classic, American tradition to bring in the end of the term with you- namely, high school Prom.
Now, I have written on this subject in a previous blog post, but from the *rather opinionated* perspective of gender roles, old-fashioned traditions, and overall the over-ratedness of it all. You can read it here: Prom: Overrated?!
For the sake of this post, though, I am deciding to write from a different perspective, specifically, that of my own personal experience attending my high school Prom “back in the day” (okay, so it was *only* five years ago, but I still can’t believe that time has already passed by so quickly!).
So, where to start…I suppose one can start with the whole “asking someone to Prom” business, which in itself can be an overblown, ridiculous affair of planning a scavenger hunt (which eventually leads to the prom-asker, asking the recipient to the dance), serenading the prospective date with a romantic song (on a guitar, aka the ultimate “love instrument”), dressing up in a silly mascot costume with flowers in hand, and the list goes on and on.
For me, I was the prom-asker back in high school: there was a guy friend whom I was interested in going with. Before you get any ideas, I didn’t like him “that way,” but rather only as a friend…and someone to split the *extremely pricey* prom ticket with (couples got a discount!).
Unfortunately, I did not phrase my question very well, as it went something along the lines of, “Are you going to Prom,” instead of, “Do you want to go to Prom together?” Saying the former got me a, “No, I don’t really want to go,” and a *slightly* disappointed result. But I bounced back super quickly, as I ended up splitting the ticket with my best *female* friend. After all, who said that you needed an “actual date” when in fact you can go with your oldest, loyal friend? 🙂
Next thing on the Prom checklist was transportation: some people want to go all-out and rent a limousine for the night. Sounds really posh, and our group (about seven to nine Prom-goers) actually had plans to do so, as one said that she could hook us up with a limo service. Unfortunately, that fell through, and we ended up not getting a limo to Prom. But all was not lost, as we ended up getting a “limo ride” from one of the other Prom-goers! Beats having to shell a ton of money for an actual limousine, and I admit, it was a lot of fun cruising down the freeway, packed into the seven-seated family van (granted, not as elegant, but it was comfy!). Plus, I also heard that other people at Prom who used the limo service were ripped off by the prices- glad that we chose not to do it then!
Prom Day arrives! The ticket, date, and transportation were already covered- the next thing was to get a dress and *possibly* do hair and make-up. Now, I had gone with my mom out shopping a few weeks prior, not necessarily for Prom-dress hunting, but it just happened to be that there was a dress sale going on at the mall, and so I scored a rather nice black dress for just under $50! Not a bad deal at all, especially when Prom dresses normally run for at least $100. The dress has that sort of dark and edgy, but also classy feel to it. Definitely more sophisticated than the bright, colorful wardrobe of my fellow female Prom-goers, but I think it suited me just fine. 🙂
I don’t usually wear makeup, and so I applied a minimal amount for Prom- just some concealer to hide my blemishes, perhaps a bit of lipstick, but that was about it. As for hair, I thought it would be a cool idea to get it professionally done, especially when I wanted a change from my normal, frizzy ‘do. My mom is old friends with the local hairdresser, whom I’ve gone to get my haircuts since as long as I can remember. I wanted some soft waves flowing down my shoulders, and although the hairdresser ended up making my perm shorter and curlier than expected, I do admit that it made me look like a different person…in a good way! 🙂
Checklist for Prom was over, and it was time to head over! Beforehand, I went over to one of my friend’s house to get the ride over to the event, which was located in downtown LA. I, along with six or seven other of my friends, met at her house, where we hung about, put finishing touches on our dresses, went through the eye-rolling motions of getting our photos taken by her parents (“our baby is all grown up now!”), and before we knew it, we were off!
There was a massive line outside of the venue, which took place in a former church-turned-club stage. Saw familiar faces and their dates/posse, and around 7 or 8 pm, the doors opened. We all swarmed in, getting our bags checked by security before rushing to see the inside of the church-club. I admit, the school did a good job of decorating the place: plenty of tables and seats to eat at and chat with friends, a small stage in the center to grind *erm* dance with your date, and a small area outside with a photo opportunity with your date/friends, a caricature-artist booth, and a few poker stands (as the theme for our year’s Prom was “poker night,” if I’m not mistaken).
Food was mediocre, to say the least: the chicken and mashed potatoes were standard, albeit dry, and the bite-sized desserts were definitely from Costco. But it didn’t matter, as I ended up spending the night running all over with my friends, meeting other classmates and saying hello, getting our group photo taken, sitting down for a caricature drawing with my best friend, and so much more. Wasn’t a huge dancer, but had fun nevertheless doing those other activities.
The night started to wind down close to midnight, and by then we were ready to go home. My friend’s mother, who had took us over to Prom, picked us up and was happy enough to drop all of us off at our respective houses, which I found super grateful. Didn’t get back until past 1 am that night (the longest that I had stayed out in my high school career). I didn’t even shower, as I changed into my comfy clothes and just went to bed- tired, but satisfied for the night.
Overall, I enjoyed my Prom. While I felt that the venue itself was mediocre to say the least, I made the most of it with my friends and it turned out to be a fun night! Really, I love my friends and wouldn’t trade them for the world; I am still in touch with most of them to this day!
Prom is not necessarily a “once-in-a-lifetime” event that you must attend while in high school. True, it only happens once in your life, but I am well-aware that some people choose not to go, and that’s perfectly fine. There are always other things to look forward to after high school: college parties, classy networking nights, bread-and-cheese soirées, and so forth. It’s what you find enjoyable, and Prom could or could not be one of them. In the end, it’s what you make of it.
Last word- for those of you Prom-goers out there: have fun, be safe, and show respect when on the dance floor. No one wants to see you grinding your forgettable date! 😛
— The Finicky Cynic
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