The new movie, ever so ingeniously titled “Prom”, based on….wait for it….a high school prom, got me thinking about the horrific mess which was my own high school last hurrah. After watching the trailer of this new flick, I was anything but surprised to see that the main guy and main girl end up together in the end. I wouldn’t have been less surprised to see this ending if alligators started falling from the sky.
Now for most 17 and 18-year-olds, Prom turns into a veritable “Prom Season”, including months of preparation. New clothes, tanning, professionally coifed hair, and last but not least the making yourself sick trying to get the right date. Don’t get me wrong, I had quite a few friends in high school and a very active social life. However my lack of skills in the boys’ category quickly left me in the dust behind most of my flirty and confidant friends. With prom in the air, they all quickly claimed their territory with their boyfriend or crush-of-the-month. With my negative attitude about school functions running side by side with my complete lack of flirting ability, I was left to my own solo defenses.
Luckily, thanks to my penchant for weekend partying, I had made acquaintances in a few different social circles. A couple months before the big night, I schemed to play it cool with the “popular girls” who apparently thought they were too good for the stupid high school boys we were stuck with and had decided to all go stag. After a few weeknight hangouts which were heavy on the schmoozing, I was able to wedge myself right into their plan of party bussing to the local event facility (ok, so maybe they were planning on taking a ‘96 Honda Civic…but you get the picture).
When the week of prom rolled around, I was a nervous wreck due to my ever-present neurosis and thoughts that the whole thing would obviously somehow become a huge disaster. In doubtful preparation, I managed to fry my redhead skin in a tanning bed and spend the amount of a down payment on a starter home getting my hair done and buying a dress and jewelry that I would never wear again. I vowed to myself that if this really turned out as bad as I assumed it would, at least I would look the part.
When doom day arrived, I literally almost backed out last minute. In a last ditch effort to get it together, I locked myself in my bedroom for a private pep talk. I then proceeded to tell myself that if I didn’t go I would forever regret not attending this dance which was supposed to be the best night of my high school days. Also, there was a very big chance I would meet the man (boy) of my dreams there and fall madly in love in front of the chocolate fountain. Ok, so maybe not a BIG chance- seeing that there were only 144 kids in my graduating class and I had known every one of them since the age of 5. There was actually about a negative five percent chance of this happening, but hey- can’t a girl be delusional? I pulled it together and arrived at the red carpet in 2-door Honda coupe style.
Forty five minutes in, I came to the conclusion that the popular girls were just not my style any more than the Prom itself was. It was stupid to fake it any longer so I flitted around like a tardy Cinderella looking for my real friends. This resulted in me remembering why I didn’t go with them in the first place- they were all so attached at the hip with their guy-of-the-minute that they couldn’t even manage a conversation. Slow dancing and strobe lights were making me dizzy. Basically at this point I had spent the better part of an hour walking around alone like a loser. I threw in the towel and called my mom to pick me up, leaving in the lime light that only a Subaru wagon can bring.
However, as I previously mentioned, I did enjoy the occasional weekend fiesta, so I had brilliantly managed to get my friends to promise to call me with details of after parties. When I got home, I changed into normal person garb and waited for the phone to ring while thinking about how I was going to be single and lonely for the rest of my life. At this point, both my parents felt bad because I was sitting home on Prom night, so they gave me a one night only offer where I could go out with no questioning or curfews. Five minutes later a friend picked me up and we proceeded to bounce from party to party all over town. Now as any high school student with no curfew, I thought it would be a great idea to drink about half my body weight in vodka and fruit punch for the next few hours in a vain attempt to make up for the lack of enjoyment Prom had thrown my way. It actually was pretty great- until I began throwing up hot pink Kool-Aid on my white sneakers by midnight. And then at one. Then again at two. I slept in the car all the way home and most of the next day.
When I was able to muster up the strength to open my eyes that bleak Saturday, I decided I needed to make some serious life changes. First of all, I was never drinking again (lie). Secondly, I needed to turn a new leaf and somehow metamorphosis into a flirty, confidant girl who would never sulk about being home alone on a Friday night after prom (delusional lie). I was me and I needed to deal with it.
Looking back on this mess of a time in my life, I realize I am now still slightly neurotic, still single, and still have a fondness for vodka. On the other hand, I also have gained mass amounts of confidence since my high school days and actually have a pretty decent relationship with myself nowadays. I realize that if I had just stayed home that Prom night like I had wanted to, I really wouldn’t have missed much. After a week, everyone had forgotten all about it anyway, and really, what are you going to do with the 16 rolls of film your mom took of you and your date in the backyard? Probably the same thing I did with my pictures of fruit punch infused white sneaker pictures. HIDE THEM.