Prom: Fact vs. Fiction

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I think high school kids, girls in particular, are sadly misinformed when it comes to the "magic" that is prom night. Expectations are set way too high, and the next thing you know, it's halfway through THE BIG NIGHT and you're chugging a mickey of Smirnoff in the janitor's closet with mascara tear-tracks running down your face and you don't understand WHY! EVERYTHING! ISN'T! PERFECT! I! SPENT! FOUR! HUNDRED! DOLLARS! ON! TANNING! GODDAMMIT!

There's no need of this, girls. The key is to manage your expectations from the start, stay realistic, and understand that prom is just another shitty school dance adorned with more hair product and bad decisions.

Take my own prom for example. It wasn't bad but it certainly wasn't anything to write home about:

Myth: You'll be the prettiest girl at the prom!
Fact: Yeah, you've spent six hours perfecting your blush/bronzer contouring trick and you have approximately eight thousand bobby pins penetrating your cranium to hold the world's most complicated updo in place, but so does everyone else. "But...but I got a French manicure?" So did everyone else. "But...but...but...I'm as tanned as Barbie!" You're not the only one who's developed melanoma for this event. "Buuuuut my dress is soooooooooooo sparkly!" They're all sparkly, sweetheart. You only look fancy getting ready at home in your dirty bedroom. You get to the prom and you're just one of two hundred swans.

Myth: My pictures are gonna look gooooooooooood!
Fact: You're going to look A-W-K-W-A-R-D. Nobody looks good doing the Charlie's Angels pose or cringing while having a very sharp corsage pin unfortunately attached to their boob. Prom pictures are truly the most hideous photography ever. Worse than engagement pictures, even. They are never, ever candid and always a little bit painful to look at.

Myth: It's my last chance to hook up with my crush of the past four years, AND HE'S GOING TO BE TOTALLY INTO ME, FINALLY!
Fact: He's been ignoring you for four years. Nothing's changing tonight.

Myth: The party after the prom is going to be the best EVARRRRRRRRRR!
Fact: The party after the prom is going to be Safe Grad. You're going to be sober bowling with your classmates until 5AM. Hardly the best EVARRRRRRRRRR!

Myth: We're all going to be friends forever!
Fact: You're going to be mere acquaintances by next Christmas break. You won't even go to one another's weddings.

Summary: Here is the harsh reality, kids. Prom is just the same as every other school dance except everyone's more dressed up. It's the same kids! The same lame DJ! The same crappy gym/lunchroom! There will be no She's All That moments. This is just one last gathering of the peers before you graduate and get the hell out of Dodge.

If you go into it with that in mind, you won't be massively disappointed you've your parents have shelled out thousands of dollars for your dress, shoes, jewelry, special underwear, hair, makeup, clutch, rented convertible/horse and buggy/tractor (yes, some of the kids at my school arrived at the prom ON TRACTORS) for another lackluster high school experience. You may even be mildly pleased that someone bothered to decorate the dance floor with white mini-lights and that there's punch trickling out of a Plexiglass swan for no apparent reason.

Maintaining the lowest expectations you can dredge up is the key to having the best possible prom. I also recommend bringing a flask. But no crying in the janitor's closet--keep it classy and go out to the parking lot.

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  1. pffft. at least they get to go! :)

    and whats wrong with tractors? They did that at my high school too. It was cool! Saved on transportation costs, thats for sure.

  2. Hahahaha. Oh, this post is utterly perfect.
    BUT - one should go to the prom regardless of the imperfect night it will be, just for the experience. Nobody should sit home on prom night.

  3. Oh, absolutely! As long as they go into it knowing it's going to be a solidly 'meh' night, they've gotta go. When else will you see all the boys in penguin suits?

  4. So. Very. True!!

    Now where were you 8 years ago... :)