I saw a magazine the other day that was telling me all about my dream prom – or at least their version of it. I was told what I needed to wear, what I needed to ride in and who I needed to date to get there. At first I was amused that the prom issues were out just weeks after January when prom isn’t until the end of the school year, but then I realized that preparations really can take that long in some cases – even if you go through two boyfriends between then and now.
I’ve had a bit of experience with formal dances and even prom a time or two, and would like to interject some wisdom into the fantasy of the perfect prom. Prom is what you make it, and here are a few tales from those I know, and maybe even me, to show you exactly what I mean.
The Special Song and Dance
I had a romantic older boyfriend who asked me to prom, and of course I accepted. We spent months getting ready with a special dress custom made for me (this mother was a seamstress) and he had a matching custom vest. We had the perfect accessories, the perfect car and the perfect meal. And I was so anxious about it all that I didn’t really get to enjoy it.
I was constantly worrying that I wouldn’t measure up to the older girls that were there and as much fun as I was having in my princess dress, I just couldn’t relax and have fun. We got to the dance a bit earlier than most because we had to leave a bit earlier (curfew, don’t you know) and the dance floor was almost empty.
My then-boyfriend went up to the DJ and requested “our” song. After that we were the only two people on the floor slow dancing to the song in all the twinkling lights and magic. I could have been wearing a paper sack with my hair in pigtails. Those three minutes completely made my night – even if he didn’t make it more than another few months.
Fun With Friends
My best friend has many crushes and plenty of fun, but no long-term boyfriends. She wouldn’t have minded having a romantic date to a formal dance, much like prom, but it wasn’t in the cards. Some girls might have been upset, but not my friend. She just gathered a large group of other singles together and they had a great time. There were boys and girls in the group – all the people who didn’t feel like asking or finding a date became everyone’s date.
They dressed up, and they took a limo. They ate out in a fancy restaurant and hung out with the couple-friends at the dance and at a party afterward, but out of everyone I saw at the dance, that group had the best time of all.
The “Party” Experience
Just to round things out, I can tell you that prom, or any occasion, is what you make it – good or bad. At the same dance where I was being twirled romantically around by my boyfriend, a friend of mine was sitting on the curb next to her limo throwing up various kinds of alcohol into the street. You could see her from the floor to ceiling windows in the ballroom.
I never felt sorrier for anyone at a dance than I did for her. She had a very beautiful, expensive dress and had gone all out on hair and make-up. And because she thought she’d “party” before the party, she never made it into the dance and went home with vomit and dirt all over that beautiful dress. It still makes me sad for her thinking about it now.
I have another friend whose family simply couldn’t afford the trappings of a particular winter dance. Tickets alone were $100 not to mention the dress and such. Rather than sit at home, she also gathered up her friends and her boyfriend and they drove to a parking lot near the beach. Someone brought the music and they had their own dance.
All her life she’d wanted to dance to “Lady in Red” while wearing a red dress. Wouldn’t you know she put one on for this special dance and then she and her boyfriend twirled around that parking lot in the glow of streetlights with the song blared on the little radio? If that’s not romantic, I don’t know what is.