Wednesday, March 21, 2007

This time, when I say "prom," I really MEAN prom.*

So my buddy -R- posted a challenge earlier today. The mission (if you choose to accept it) is to post a photo of yourself at your high school prom. I do enjoy a challenge free blog topic, and since I have a brand-new (or rather, refurbished--presumably good as new at half the price) printer/scanner contraption thingie, this seems like an excellent bandwagon on which to jump. But you see, here is the problem with that plan. I am far too lazy busy and popular to have actually unboxed and set up my new printer/scanner thingie just yet. And since I rarely have a problem without also enumerating several subproblems, I should also note that I was disappointed to discover this evening that the bulk of my youth and embarrassing formative years are woefully underrepresented in the photo albums within my home. On my bookshelves at the moment, I have one baby album that my mother passed along to me a few years ago, but the next most recent photos are from my college years. Short of my high school yearbooks, the big-banged teenage years do not exist anywhere in my home, nor do the awkward, gangly-kneed, brace-faced years of junior high. I'm sure you are heartily disappointed. I am as well; I swear. I shall have to remedy this situation the next time I'm at my parents' house.

Just because I can't show you a picture of prom, however, doesn't mean I can't tell you about it, right? I did go to my high school's prom (twice, actually), but I'm fairly certain my prom experience was decidedly unlike the typical teenager's. A few people in -R-'s comments objected to the prom photo challenge on the grounds that they were dateless for prom and therefore did not go. I was dateless as well, but I went anyway (with some equally dateless friends), due to some likely ridiculous and unfounded fear that I might regret it someday if I did not. I hated every aspect of prom planning, and yet somehow I was not reckless and indie enough to proclaim, proudly and resolutely, "I will not go!"

I have various memories of my prom... memories I'm having a hard time crafting into any sort of cohesive narrative, and therefore I will resort to the convention of the lazy--the bullet-point list.

  • The dress--I went dress-shopping with my mother, who took me not just to the mall, but to several popular bridal shoppes** in the area as well. In retrospect, I think perhaps my hesitance and aversion to commitment possibly stems from a goal to avoid the sort of uncomfortable experiences I had in the fitting rooms at these ever-so-helpful bridal shoppes. I was used to taking items off the rack and into a fitting room to decide the suitability of an outfit myself. Having a nosy, commissioned bridal shoppe lady barge in and hoist my breasts into position was not something I felt prepared for in any way. Equally unprepared was I for the woman with the clipboard at the sales counter, asking, "Now, what school do you go to? And what is your date's name?" Apparently they had some sort of arrangement that aimed to prevent any two girls in the same school from showing up in the same dress. As I had no date (and didn't really care if one other girl in my class chose the same dress), I was entirely mortified by this clipboard and the permanent documentation of my datelessness it implied. "Maybe she just doesn't want to go to prom," the sales lady suggested to my mother in the face of my reticence. "Oh, how right you are," I remember thinking in reply. In the end, I chose a hideous royal blue satin number from Deb, of all places. Ever practical even as a teenager, I saw no need to spend $200+ on a dress I was not crazy about, when a $50 dress I hated would serve the purpose just as well. The dress I chose I called my "Hee-Haw dress" because of its ruffled off-the-shoulder design and unflattering drop-waist. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure I have any photos of me in this dress in my personal photo collection; that is how insignificant it truly was to me at the time.

  • The date--I've already established that I went stag, but let's review my path to choosing that route, shall we? I actually was asked to prom... by two different guys, no less. Date prospect #1 was a good friend of mine with whom I had a long-forgotten arrangement to attend prom with, should we both be dateless at the time. He called me one night, saying, "So... I know you said you were going to go to prom with [insert names of various single friends with whom I'd formed a collective here], but I was just thinking... would you want to go with me instead?" I remember stammering and coming up with some completely ludicrous reason to get off the phone. (I actually think I used the excuse that the ice cream I'd just dished out for myself was melting--that was how lame I was at that moment.) From what I heard, this perfectly nice guy asked no fewer than five other girls to prom before finally finding a date. It became sort of a cruel and twisted joke among my friends, and yet, I held some absurd pride in the fact that he asked me first!

    The second boy to ask was a pimply-face nobody with whom I shared a homeroom class. In the interest of fairness, I'll say that I was, at the time, at least 20 pounds heavier than I am now, even with the slowing metabolism of my mid-30s clearly staring me in the face, and yet, I still say to this guy that I was clearly and entirely well out of his league. The fact that he had no right to ask me was compounded by the way he asked... "I'd take you, if you want," he said in homeroom one day. As if it was a favor to me... as if it was an offer I couldn't possibly hope to match. I may be being cruel, but bruised egos have a way of doing that, I think. If I were truly cruel, I'd post his full name here, for all the Internet to see. I'm not doing that, however. But I still say, what the fuck?

  • The not-my-date--There actually was someone who I wanted to go to prom with, above all others, and, deciding I could be a modern woman who goes after what she wants, I got uncharacteristically bold and actually asked him myself. Unfortunately, I couldn't do so without first running the idea past a few of our mutual friends... friends who were not the gate-keepers to sensitive information that I might obviously have hoped they'd be. When I finally got around to asking this guy to prom, here's how the conversation basically went...

    Me: Hey. Can I talk to you a minute? There's something I want to ask you.
    Him: Oh boy. I think I know what this is about.
    Me: You do? Um, what do you think I'm going to ask you?
    Him: You want me to go with you to prom?
    Me: Uh... Yeah. But... um, you don't have to say "yes" if you don't want to... and it doesn't have to be a real date. We can say it's just as friends...
    Him: Well, can I say "maybe"?
    Me: Sure. You can say "maybe." You know... yeah... whatever...

    He never mentioned it again, and on prom night, he showed up with a girl from the class below ours, who had triangular-shaped hair and who wore some sort of weird dress pants beneath her skirt. But I somehow feel I've already written about this at some point. Oh yeah. I guess I have.

So that's basically prom in a nutshell for me, minus the reporting on the colors and the theme (which I'll readily admit I could not remember if someone placed a gun to my head to recall) and the listing of the court members and my thoughts on each of them. If I had my new scanner up and running, I might actually attempt an artistic rendering of my hideous dress (or of the dreamy boy who refused my frail wallflower's invitation to be my date), but as that new toy is still sitting in my living room sealed tightly within its box, that sort of creative expression will simply have to wait. If you're up for -R-'s photodocumenting challenge, however, leave a note in the comments and I'll be sure to check it out.

* I thought this warranted clarification, considering "prom" is now code-word for something entirely different as well.

** Note the "two-p's-and-an-e" spelling... ever important for every reputable participant in this racket.


Anniina said...

Wow. As soon as I get my scanner working (it's out of the box, but don't know where the CD went that has the drivers) I promise. But how cruel a dare is this! Cruel and unusual, I say!

Noelle said...

I WISH you had a picture of triangle shaped hair. That sounds awesome. I went to the prom with a date, but just barely. My conversation was almost identical to yours, except that we ended up going, and it was awkward. I wasn't even certain that we had committed as dates until a week before when he asked me what color dress I was wearing so he could get a matching corsage. Let me tell you red dress + red corsage = really funny picture somewhere in my parents' house.

Darren McLikeshimself said...

I was a tux model for my senior prom. The tux shoppe at the mall had some deal that if I modeled a tux around school during the day, I'd get the one I wanted for the big night for half off or something. Imagine sitting in geometry in a teal blue tux. I looked like a reject from the “Uptown Girl” video.

-R- said...

Who wears pants to the prom? People with triangle hair, I guess.

I totally forgot about prom themes. I have no idea what mine were.

"Can I say maybe?" That guy definitely deserved Miss Prom Pants.

NancyPearlWannabe said...

This post brought up some memories I had thought were long forgotten. I did go to my prom with a date, my best friend from high school who was still "semi-dating" his girlfriend, but not speaking to her. She went with my crush. We all had a sleepover party at her beach house that night. Awkward much?

Also, our prom video was shot by a little person. I remember seeing it thinking, "Wow, I didn't know I needed to be so concerned about my knees in this dress".

3carnations said...

I remember when I was shopping for my wedding dress, high school girls were in the bridal shop looking for prom dresses. I also remember checking the prices on them and thinking "Who is paying this kind of money for a dress to wear to a high school dance?!?" Glad to know Deb has better deals!

lizgwiz said...

Ah yes, now I remember why I never regretted not going to the prom. I'd like to say I was simply too cool to go, but that really wasn't the case. It was more a combo of shy/uninterested, really. But I've never heard any prom stories--either my school, or anyone else's that made me think "Wow, I really missed out."

I would love to see a picture of the triangle hair, though.

-R- said...

I just looked back at the old post you linked to, and I commented on that post about the prom pants as well. I apparently cannot get over the prom pants. PROM PANTS.

metalia said...

Ah, I LOVE it. I can almost *feel* the awkwardness. As I just told -R-, I myself attended an all-girls private school, and so cannot partake in her challenge. :(

I know you said you have no pictures to commemorate your prom, but you must draw a picture of you in your prom getup, and scan it in for us. I must see it!

Red said...

Ahhhh, thanks for the laugh! Priceless.

stefanie said...

Anniina--Cruel and unusual? Nonsense. It's all in fun. Actually, wait. Maybe I should see the dress before I say that. ;-)

Noelle--I just looked through my yearbook to see if there was a picture of that girl with the wonder of gravity that was her triangle hair, but alas, none of the pics of her do justice to my memory of it. (Basically she had an unusually high and pointy pouf of bangs up top, and her long hair was permed and not layered, so it was super full towards the ends and flatter at the top. It made a big, absurd triangle shape that was ridiculous even then.)

Darren--You were a tux model?? A teal blue tux model, no less?? Obviously you've still got plenty of bloggable stories stashed away in that head of yours, my friend.

R--Hee. "That guy definitely deserved Miss Prom Pants" made me laugh out loud. Thanks. :-)

NPW--Oh my! I totally forgot to talk about after prom!! A friend of mine had a gathering at her house, and a male friend of ours took his girlfriend (some chick from another school) into my friend's six-year-old brother's room, where they deflowered each other. The guy and his girlfriend, I mean. Not the six-year-old. You know, just in case that wasn't clear. Still... ick.

3Cs--Yeah, even back then (early 90s), $200+ seemed ridiculous for a prom dress. I'm sure the dresses in those stores are twice that amount by now.

Liz--You didn't go? Well, how about you post some pictures from other aspects of high school then? I would love to see you in your 70s/80s glory! :-)

R again--Ha! You are right to be appalled... appalled times three, obviously.

Metalia--I'll see what I can do. That could be a fine project for me this weekend.

Red--Thanks. So... are YOU going to post a prom pic??

don't call me MA'AM said...

Great prom stories. :-)

I'm hoping to find my pics this weekend... but no promises. Plus, I'll have to spend at least 20 minutes drawing a big purple blockhead over my face.

Jenny said...

That was a fabulous story. But personally I want an artists rendition of the girl with the triangle hair.

stefanie said...

DCMM--I'd love to see your pics... purple blockhead or not. :-)

Jenny--Thanks. And I'll see what I can do about the drawings. (I still have not hooked up the new scanner, for some dumb reason, so I make no promises.)

SusannahS said...

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, I found -r-'s prom challenge and now checking out the participants.
I don't have a scanner but I do have a digital camera so I did indeed take pictures of my pictures and post them.
I'm still laughing over the idea of Prom Pants.