As all of you already know, high school prom is the single most important night that you will have in your entire life. For girls, it’s their one opportunity to feel like a princess and dictate the color of their men’s ensemble. For boys, it’s the high school virgin’s last attempt at leaving high school a “man.” For me, it was more about color coordination on a more masculine level. Considering my fierce dedication to my Bieber cut (before it was a Bieber cut, mind you) and the idea of wearing a brown suit, I was simply not going to “get laid” as the children say. Also, I was fiercely dedicated to waiting until marriage for sexual excursions (Praise Him!). Nevertheless, I once heard that high school is a forecast of how the rest of your life is going to go. If prom is the most pivotal night of high school, then I suppose that I shouldn’t have a lot of hope for the future. Let me explain.
First and foremost, if you didn’t get the title reference, shame on you. Go watch Not Another Teen Movie and acquaint yourself with Ben Folds Five. Regardless of my ultimate shame at this point, I was determined that my Junior Prom, or “Practice Prom” as I like to call it now, was going to be the best night of my life. You see, my friend and I had planned months ahead of time that we were to go together. The closer that prom got, the more I became nervous. It was becoming more than I had bargained for. Believe it or not, I’ve always preferred the simple; the basic. There’s a safety that comes with the familiar… less complexities to fall apart. However, as the date approached, I didn’t feel in control of my practice prom. My date had a pink dress, so naturally, I acquired my pink vest, tie, socks, hair beret, belt… the works. It all become complicated though. My friend’s mom, or “the DQL” as I liked to call her, began planning our night more and more. It began with the concept of professional photography. Acceptable. Followed by a rented car with driver. A little less acceptable, but whatevs. It didn’t seem like too much, but in true DQL fashion, it seemed a little… forced… kind of like an abusive boyfriend that buys his girlfriend earrings then beats her with a pillowcase of oranges if he doesn’t see her wearing them. I was the victim of “APA;” Acute Prom Abuse.
Like a Lifetime movie, I knew that I had to get out. My date told me that there was a possibility that she would have to work a shift at the Walmart the night of our prom. She would try and get off, but she wasn’t sure. I had to run. There was no time to think. There was no option. I had to take my things, never look back, and leave behind all of my prom plans before it was too late. I called my best friend, Alex (not your typical prom girl, by any stretch) and asked her if she would go to prom with me. I knew that it would be a favor I would need to pay back in the future, but I needed her. I needed her like Jennifer Lopez needed Juliette Lewis in Enough. The DQL was my abusive husband/Billy Campbell. Ultimately, I escaped with my safety and identity, but I haven’t spoken to the DQL since. She goes down as the only parent to ever truly detest me, at least to my face. If you ever read this DQL, I’m so sorry for everything. I’m sorry for this post. Please don’t find me.
The following year, I would attend prom with Alex again. My friend had acquired a nice boyfriend who wore a lot of black and was partial to wearing fedoras. The DQL’s whereabouts were unbeknownst to me. Like most Hollywood movies about abuse featuring members of the opposite sex, I had developed feelings for my rescuer. (Alex, have we ever formally talked about this?!) I had become close to her family; Alex and I were closer than ever. I had told everyone except for Alex how I felt, even my boss who sprung for a nice dinner to Altruda’s beforehand.
Side note: words of experience, though my attempts were not fruitful, don’t ever go to a restaurant that serves “garlic knots” on the night of your prom.
I suppose I just kind of gave away the ending. Nothing happened with Alex and eventually my feelings waned and fell back into the best friend spectrum. Neither of my proms were nearly as magical as any movies seem to depict, with the exception of Carrie. My prom definitely went better than that. A lot less blood. Same amount of fire. At the end of the day, little ones, if you haven’t attended prom yet, I really doubt that you should be reading the contents of this blog. However, if you are, just try and get out of prom with a healthy relationship with your date and his or her family. Stand up for what you believe in, and don’t ever get a brown suit because it doesn’t go well with nearly as many color schemes as you believe it will. And God forbid it is a train wreck, know that there will be many other proms in your future, except they’ll be called “mixers,” and sometimes there will be dress themes. Someone will definitely have a worse time than you. Promise.