How to Be Alone on Prom Night

It’s April, which means it’s prom season again, and that means all of the sudden everyone wants to talk about high school.

We all know at least one person who is still hung up on high school. Talking to them is like listening to Springsteen’s “Glory Days” while watching a montage of John Hughes movie shenanigans. These are weird people, and those of us who spent high school writing resentful lists in our friend’s boyfriend’s old notebooks will go out of our way to avoid them.

I’m correct in assuming we all had one of these, right?

Luckily, they’re the minority. Most of us have realized there’s more to life than high school, and we spend our time having conversations about relevant things, like the order in which we’d eat our co-workers if our plane crashed in the Andes. Prom season messes with people though. Something about this time of year makes even the most well-adjusted high school graduate want to chat about their bid for prom royalty, their hot date, or their unfortunate dress. Sadly, I’m no exception and I didn’t even go to prom. I spent that night standing in a clawfoot bathtub, ankle-deep in squished cupcakes AND NOW YOU CAN, TOO!

Junior Prom: Why I’d Be OK Living in that Town from ‘Footloose’

1) Junior year, my hipster boyfriend (Yes, I dated a hipster before they were cool.) was the lead singer of a power metal band I accidentally named. He asked me to prom by pig-squealing into a microphone during what could loosely be described as a concert. (For the uninitiated, this is a pig squeal. You can achieve the same level of romance by taking your date to a slaughterhouse.)

2) I had a pretty prom dress. So did my boyfriend. He went in a formal kilt, including a sporran and tartan sash, and excluding underwear.

He was very pleased all the way up until we were in public, when he turned to me and said, “…I’m wearing a skirt.”

“Yes,” I said. “And you’re very pretty.”

In his defense, I was having a blonde fashion misstep of my own.

3) Our group dinner was awkward. Two waiters had to rescue me when my dress caught in a revolving door, an event which began a long and bitter enmity between all doors and me. I tried to start a conversation with another girl about the newest Justin Timberlake single. Apparently the lyrics were “I’m bringing sexy back”, not “I have a sexy back.” No one wanted to talk to me much after that.

4) I almost couldn’t get into the prom because no one marked down my name when I bought a ticket, and ultimately that would have been ok. I don’t like getting my picture taken. I can’t dance. I hate parties. I definitely don’t like dancing parties with mandatory pictures. My strapless bra kept slipping all night, so I’d try to pull it up discreetly. My date thought it was a dance move and started doing the same motion for every song. By the end of the night, I’d found prom was not for me.

How to Decide to Skip Prom

Step 1: Consult with your friends. Realize they didn’t like junior prom either. Make a pact, while avoiding a pep rally by hiding in someone’s car, that none of you will go to senior prom. Congratulate yourselves on your anti-establishment attitudes! Tell each other how much money you’ll save! Say things like, “Yeah, prom is totally a conformist culture based on vain ideals. I’m, like, definitely not going.”

Step 2: Tell your other friends, the frightening physics partner you have a crush on, and your family that you’re not going. Assure them it’s not because you couldn’t get a date, because you “could totally get a date.”

Step 3: Tell yourself how awesome your anti-prom is going to be. Wonder what you and your friends will do. Don’t ask them, because you don’t want to seem like you actually care. Obviously.

How to Cope with the Realization That You’ll Spend Prom Night at Home with Your Parents

Step 1: Finally ask your friends. Pretend to be totally cool when they (quite understandably) tell you they’ll be spending that evening going on dates with their long-term boyfriends. You haven’t had a boyfriend in months, but you say something along the lines of, “Yeah… me too.” Avoid all prom-related conversations at softball practice by running after imaginary balls.

Step 2: Go home and watch PBS. When your dad asks what’s wrong, tell him you’re really invested in this episode of “Northern Exposure“. When he says, “You’ve seen this one before. It hasn’t been on since the 90’s. You’re not getting sulky about prom, are you?”, yell “NO!” and storm off. Decide that you have to do something brain-meltingly awesome on prom night.

Step 3: Find yourself unable to come up with anything awesome because you’re the kind of person who thinks up themed tea parties with your friends and then invites people to those parties using collages made from old National Geographics. That kind of person would not know awesome if National Geographic had a six-page special on the subject.

Like you wouldn’t go to this tea party.

How to Stumble on the Idea that Will Change Your Life Forever (Or Just Make Prom Night Bearable)

Step 1: It will happen to be your arch-nemesis’ birthday a week before prom, and she will bring cupcakes for your history class to share because she’s the kind of nice person you will never be. She will probably put the leftovers on the desk in front of you. Stare at them. Imagine how sad she’d be if you got up on the desk and stepped on her cupcakes. Think about how awesome they would feel under your toes. Think about how much you hate cupcakes because they’re not pie. Realize it’s vitally important that you squish cupcakes on prom night. Picture that clip of Lucile Ball squishing grapes on “I Love Lucy”, but with you and cupcakes.

Step 2: Tell your friends, the frightening physics partner you have a crush on, and your family the new plan. Buy the cutest, most sprinkle-y, chocolatey cupcakes you can find from the grocery store you recently broke. Buy some garbage bags and masking tape, too. (You’ll thank me later.) Label your cupcakes so your family members don’t eat them. Wonder if your family members are illiterate when you later discover you’re missing two cupcakes.

Step 3: On prom night, when your arch-nemesis and other classmates have started making their lame memories, tape a garbage bag to the bottom of your bathtub, unwrap your remaining cupcakes and set them on it, then force your brother to document the entire process with blurry cellphone pictures. Step on the cupcakes. Squeal a little. Step on some more. Continue to squish. It’s just like that clip of “I Love Lucy”! It’s better! You’re so happy! They’re so squishy! Slip around on the cupcakes. Laugh. Rinse your feet off and clean up. Go watch another “Northern Exposure” rerun. Forget to care about prom. It’s for losers, anyway. All the cool kids stayed home and stepped on dessert.

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13 comments

  1. Lorna's Voice

    You bring me right back to the angst of high school, only with that necessary dose of humor that makes it something worth telling about rather than crying about. :)

  2. Mama Bread Baker

    “like the order in which we’d eat our co-workers if our plane crashed in the Andes.” Do we work together? Love your posts! You have a real talent. Keep up the good work.

  3. theliteraryhorse

    1. I would totally have gone to the party with the awesome National Geographic montage invitation.
    2. I’m incapable of killing a cupcake (except by ingestion), yet strangely found self cheering on the stomping and documentation.
    3. HA.HAhahahahahahahaha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
    4. Black coffee, when snorted out the nose, makes interesting splatter patterns on work papers.

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  5. BookSnob

    Ohmigosh, I dated a pig squealing hipster/metalhead! He managed to wear a suit, and the night was miserable, I should have stayed home and smashed cupcakes instead! P.S. you’re hilarious and your posts totally brighten my day!

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