There is one thing about high school that has always stuck with me. It’s like my one good story about school and it actually requires some diagrams. And it’s about the prom. Who doesn’t love a good prom story? Well, besides you, I mean. And who doesn’t love a good diagram? LOOK, these are rhetorical questions, jeez!
So, I went to the junior prom with a good friend. We dressed nicely, and appropriately, I might add, which was apparently very unexpected. People thought we might come in…well, I don’t know what. But I had a lovely pink and white gown and he had a sharp grey tuxedo. And although I don’t think that “Fairytale Lover” was the most appropriate theme for a prom we had a nice enough time at the Nights of Columbus hall anyway. It was the classic high school prom experience minus the backseat fumbling and unplanned pregnancy. (Never mind that less than five years later I would get so mind-blowingly drunk on amaretto sours in that same Nights of Columbus Hall that I would require the services of my best friend to keep my bridesmaid gown out of the way while I vomited. Sorry, different story.)
The senior prom though, that was different. And I may be wrong here but I am pretty sure that in my school, the junior and senior prom was the same thing, what you called it only depended on whether you were a junior or a senior. I was a senior. My boyfriend at the time had graduated the year before. I wanted to go to my senior prom…for whatever reason that I cannot now imagine and he didn’t want to accompany me for what I now assume were very good reasons but at the time it just seemed mean. I figured I would find someone else but late in the game he surprised me. He actually slyly handed me the receipt for his tuxedo one evening when I was complaining because he wouldn’t go with, which I thought was cute and charming and romantic until I discovered he had rented a white dinner jacket instead of a plain black tuxedo. Ew.
Anyway, things between us had been rocky to begin with, we had broken up and gotten back together and in the meanwhile, I had found out that he had “dated” a “friend” of mine (feel free to qualify those quotes in whatever manner you choose). But I was bound and determined to go to the prom and since they wouldn’t sell me a single ticket or let me go with another girl, I went with him. Problem was, I really wanted to go with another boy, one who I was friendly with but hey, I was dating someone (someone who was a jerk, true, but I am not a jerk, so…you know). And to make matters even more complicated, he (that is, the boy I would have liked to go to the prom with) ended up asking my best friend to go with him as they had been friends for years. That was fine. I certainly would never begrudge her his company and if he wasn’t going with me, then he better darn well go with her. Fine, that’s two couples taken care of.
Meanwhile, another close friend of ours was dating a boy of whom her parents didn’t approve. This was largely due to the fact that his skin was a slightly different color than hers. We all thought this was ridiculous so we helped her spin an elaborate web of lies. She took her slightly younger cousin to the prom. Her slightly younger cousin who in fact, was the ex-boyfriend of my best friend. And who was greatly admired by yet another girl we knew, who upon learning of the cousins going to the prom together, panicked and accepted the invitation of a boy that she had no interest in but who was deeply in love with her.
But wait, there’s more. The girl who took her cousin to the prom convinced her best friend to then attend the prom with her unapproved of boyfriend of the slightly different skin color, which the best friend did because she kind of had a crush on him and to make matters even more interesting, the slightly younger cousin who had briefly dated MY best friend still had a thing for her, his ex. ARE YOU FOLLOWING THIS? Because I am so lost! This is where the diagram comes in handy. You’ll notice that I took great pains in coloring the circles representing all the players in my little drama because yes, I did wear a red dress with black polka dots and a giant bow in my hair. Dude, it was 1987, it was very stylish. The only colors not actually representative of a gowns is the orange because I can’t remember what colors she wore, but I do remember what colors they WERE, and you will notice that the unapproved of boyfriend is represented by a slightly different color. I also do not remember what color the “friend” who “dated” my boyfiend (heh, that was a Freudian typo so I left it) so I just made it the ugliest color I could because she deserved it.
Finally, if I am not mistaken, the prom theme that year was “The Best Was Yet to Come” by Bryan Adams which made no sense at all. I do recall that there was some argument over the prom song/theme. The party crew was pulling hard for “Shama Lama Ding Dong” which you may remember from the movie Animal House and much like the ban on selling single tickets or pairs to same sex party goers, the school put the kibosh on that as well. (Sorry, I’ve always wanted to type out “put the kibosh on” for some reason).
That is my senior prom story and probably goes a long way towards explaining why I have very few sentimental feelings about high school, much less anything else. And this, this is the point where my BFF chimes in and reminds me that the best part of the senior prom was the ladies room, which was decorated like some kind of tropical bordello complete with a huge wicker peacock chair for the madam. She would also want me to tell you that most of the girls posed for pictures in the ladies room, trying to make it look like the best little whorehouse in New Jersey because yes, the senior prom WAS just that boring.