html xmlns:og='' xmlns:expr=''> Lounging at the Waldorf: Prom Season Is Here


Monday, April 23, 2012

Prom Season Is Here

In case you missed it, last week Ellen DeGeneres shared her prom picture and that of her buddy, The First Lady of the United States.  The supporting imagery was delicious.  

Ellen was a vision in plaid...

And Michelle Robinson, the future Mrs. Obama?  Three words: ha cha cha!

But I must ask, what's up with her date's mustache?  He looks like he's already someone's dad.  Oh, no!  Was Michelle really unpopular and she had to take her own uncle to the prom?

Of course, I jest.  But then again, I wouldn't be surprised.  The prom promises to be "a night to remember" and it is, but for all the wrong reasons.   I wonder why we as a society don't spare our youth the pain of wearing a cummerbund and just cancel the whole tradition?

Again, I jest.  I realize that it's the first night of some secular version of adulthood.  Jews have bat/bar mitzvahs. Latinos have quinceañeras.  WASPs and drag queens have balls.  The rest of us get stuck with a school-run party with streamers.  I don't know about you, but me and my friends were able to stay in hotel rooms with boys on prom night.  It's like your parents get you gussied up and laid.

Oh, too far.  I just grossed myself out.

Anyway, I asked my friends for the good, the bad, and the ugly of their prom experiences.  There were a few that didn't go:

I worked at a florist's shop so I fashioned corsages and boutonnieres for my classmates and their dates on the day of my high school prom. When asked by these "Less Than Zero" kids about my prom plans, I shot them a steely gaze with my heavily-lined and smeary eyes, answering coolly "I'm not going - I'm going to go see Siouxsie and the Banshees." 

Alas, my too cool private school didn't have a prom.  I was a bit envious of public schools that had proms because I imagined myself going and being all iconoclastic about it, in my urban, ragamuffin, child of hippies, John Hughes worshipping way.

For those of us that did go, it was more like this:

I barfed in a ritzy restaurant.

My date wore a tuxedo with white socks.  I wouldn't have recognized it as a fashion faux pas except for the fact that he said to me, "I wore white socks so you can always look back at the pictures and know that I ruined your prom."

Halle Berry at the prom
Halle Berry

I don't remember who did my hair, but it turned out looking like I had shown her the Purple Rain album for inspiration. It was all curls, pulled to one side of my head, with bejeweled hair combs holding it in place. I looked like one of the women in Apollonia 6.

I made one move on the dance floor and my strapless dress fell down exposing my boobs to the entire class.

Wrode two hours roundtrip to have dinner with a group of other prom-goers at the TGI Friday's in 
North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Jennifer Aniston at the prom
Jennifer Aniston

After the prom, the girls went to one party and the men to another. Admittedly, my date didn't want me to go to the other party, but I was a senior and callous.

1996: my mom was my high school guidance counselor and she and my step-father chaperoned EVERY DANCE. They're big dancers, which the other kids loved, but it made me want to die. So when it was my prom, they did it all the more enthusiastically.

Will Ferrell at the prom
Will Ferrell

The boy I was supposed to go with flaked on me so his friend took me instead. This guy shows up to the pre-prom dinner, broken arm in a sling, with no money. I pay for both of us all night. When we get to the country club, I make my entrance. I begin to descend the grand, curved staircase into the ballroom. I trip, tumble down ass-over-elbows, and land in a sequined heap at the bottom of the stairs. My date stands next to me, doubled over laughing, until I ask if he's planning to help me up. He extends his one good arm.  Funny enough, I don't remember the actual prom.

And that, I must say, is the theme running through all these stories: no one actually remembered the prom.  No wonder they make us take pictures.  We remember the dresses, the hair, the limo, the drugs we did or didn't do, the sex we did or didn't have, the dates we should have asked.  But the event itself?  Not one person said boo about that.  So why do we do it?

Proms are in April and I have a crackpot theory that the real April Fools are us.

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