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DANCE UNTIL YOUR DRESS (ALMOST) FALLS OFF PROM MISHAPS AND MEMORIES
Prom is one of those things that seems super important when you’re in high school but is mostly a source of laughter when you get older. Looking back, it’s hard not to ask yourself a few of these questions: Why did I choose to wear that? How did I think that hairstyle was cool? And what ever happened to the person I took as my date? Luckily, in my case, the answers to these questions are sources of lighthearted chuckles rather than sweat-inducing dread. Maybe that’s because I’m far enough away from the day, but mostly I think it’s because I was very fortunate to approach prom differently than most. I can’t pretend I was wise enough to see through the “best night of your life” nonsense at the time, but it did work out well. For starters, our class always did things a little differently. I grew up in New Hampshire during the ‘80s. Most of the classes above us rented out a hotel or banquet hall for prom. Instead, we went old school and decked out our gym. Today, that seems to have been a very wise choice. I’m sure most people can’t remember the anonymous event room their prom took place in, but I have a vivid memory of the gym. It made the event feel special because it took place on the same floor where we had to do pushups and play dodgeball. I don’t think they kept the rope climb in place for the dance, though. The next lucky break for me was that my date was a close friend rather than somebody I was in a relationship with. Even in my offbeat class, many people assumed they were attending prom with their soul mate. Can you imagine the pressure to have the best night of your life with the love of your life? Going with a friend made prom have low stakes. It didn’t have to be magical; it just had to be fun.
And it was. What I remember most of all was the dancing. As I said earlier, this
was the ‘80s, so most of the ladies were wearing huge dresses. I looked like an ersatz version of
Scarlett O’Hara from “Gone With the Wind,” albeit with a Kristy McNichol haircut. To make sure my dress looked as it should, I wore a slip under it. It was affixed to my body with plastic rings, and as I was dancing, I felt it starting to come loose. Eventually, a plastic ring thudded on the floor. But I was having so much fun that I didn’t even stop to pick it up. I just kept on dancing, slip be damned. Well, I think I’ve answered those first two questions from the start of this article as well as I can, but what about the third? I was lucky enough to speak with my “date” at our 20-year reunion. His life is going well, and we reminisced about what fun we had as kids. My husband, who you might describe as follicly challenged, was also happy to see my date had even less hair on his head than my husband does. That funny coincidence is one I couldn’t have predicted.
So was prom all it was cracked up to be? I don’t think it ever is, but it’s something I’ll look back on fondly. You can’t really ask for more than that.
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