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America: Semi-Godly, Individualist Consumers
April 26, 2009 7:47 AM   Subscribe

Do you have good or bad memories of prom? Maybe you wish you would have gone to prom in a sweet ride or without your embarrassing brother. Maybe you just had problems getting a date. Whatever it is "prom is a notoriously awkward situation." Maybe you had a reason to stay home from prom. Whatever your reason, not going to prom is considered unamerican. Of course dancing at prom may make you ungodly(pdf). If you do decide to go to prom do remember that the twirlability is the most important thing. Finally, don't forget prom is All About You
posted by aetg (137 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Mods: One link is NSFW!
posted by aetg at 7:47 AM on April 26, 2009


My date ditched me, I got drunk for the first time in my life, and barfed all over another girl's dress. Sorry Inge!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:55 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Damn; is the offending link gone already?
Did I miss a second, dirtier, LOLCAT?
posted by heyho at 7:59 AM on April 26, 2009


That should be twirlability of the dress is the most important thing.
I fail at proofreading.
posted by aetg at 7:59 AM on April 26, 2009


Whatever your reason, not going to prom is considered unamerican.

No wonder I have so much trouble at the border.
posted by gman at 7:59 AM on April 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


Dirty Lolcats
posted by aetg at 8:02 AM on April 26, 2009


That Sepia Mutiny thread was interesting. The other stuff, not so much.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:14 AM on April 26, 2009


One link is NSFW!

Goddamnit, which one?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:18 AM on April 26, 2009 [7 favorites]


I took my mom to the PROM!
posted by schyler523 at 8:20 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]




I skipped my prom, and had much more fun than the idiots that attended...but if I tell you about it, I would have to kill you.
posted by HuronBob at 8:28 AM on April 26, 2009


I skipped my prom, but got drunk and broke my leg that night anyway.
posted by Liver at 8:31 AM on April 26, 2009


Was voted most likely to succeed and then barred from attending the prom. :(
posted by autodidact at 8:33 AM on April 26, 2009


I read too quickly. I got: Do you have good or bad memories of porn?

Porn was pretty good, iirc. Prom, not so much.

My h.s. was situated so that the population came from one ridiculously wealthy suburb of Chicago, and two most working class, blue collar enclaves. Prom was for Richie Rich and the multitude of wannabes. And it was better not to show up than to show up less than full glam.

Fortunately for me, by sophomore year my awareness of the tenor of the times had made me care less than squat about h.s. drama, and by junior year going to prom was one of the least considerations on my mind. Not that I was actively anti-prom, just that it wasn't even on my radar.

A couple of years later, I went to a girlfriend's prom more or less as a joke--later I found out the joke was me. She wanted to make a big show of rejecting her family's wealth and position and I was the best vehicle she could come up with. Yeah, the relationship did not survive.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:38 AM on April 26, 2009


I got ditched and got wasted with some friends. I think I had a much better time. Plus I don't have any awkward photos to embarass me years down the road like I would if I went.
posted by motorcycles are jets at 8:43 AM on April 26, 2009


Prom was great. The hotel room parties after prom were legendary. If I remember correctly, one the really lame skipped prom.
posted by oddman at 8:54 AM on April 26, 2009


That should be twirlability of the dress is the most important thing.

In my day, several other types of twirlability were considered far greater prom priorities.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:54 AM on April 26, 2009


On a side note - when did it become "prom" alone without the preceding word of "my" "your" or "the?" It used to be "I'm going to the prom" or "I'm going to my prom" "Are you going to your prom?"

Two other ones are "babysit" - now you will hear the expression "I babysat her" when it seems more proper to say "I babysat for her. Also, "graduate" which is now used as "When did you graduate college?" When it used to be "When did you graduate from college?

Just seems weird to me.
posted by Tullyogallaghan at 8:56 AM on April 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


The no-dance prom is a strange thing. You get all dressed up and have dinner, and then the official event is over. The sort of person who thinks that dancing is sinful imagines that their kids are going to go to the church lock in and sing hymns the rest of the night. They don't understand that the logical next step for a HS student is to go some place completely unsupervised and do whatever.

I've tried to use this as an example of harm mitigation versus zero tolerance, but they just don't get it.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 8:57 AM on April 26, 2009


The prom industry exists to train women for the wedding industry.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:57 AM on April 26, 2009 [9 favorites]


"In 1997, Academy Award–winning actor Morgan Freeman offered to pay for the senior prom at Charleston High School in Mississippi under one condition: the prom had to be racially integrated.

His offer was ignored.

In 2008, Freeman offered again. This time the school board accepted, and history was made. Charleston High School had its first-ever integrated prom—in 2008! Until then, blacks and whites had had separate proms even though their classrooms have been integrated for decades."

I have tickets to see Prom Night in Mississippi at HotDocs in Toronto.
posted by gman at 9:01 AM on April 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


None of the Smart Kids could attend Prom -- it was scheduled the night before the A.P. exams, and I had five of them to take.

No way was I going to jeopardize 15 college credits by staying out too late.

And, I had gone to Prom as a sophomore...
posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 9:03 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


And the high school industry trains you for the college industry (and that trains you for the job industry).

And the riding industry trains you for the driving industry.

And the eating industry trains you for the cooking industry and the eating-out industry (two for one, those bastards).

And the exposure-to-elements industry trains you for the clothing and housing industries (stupid, exploitive mother nature).

Let's just abolish all industries everywhere!
posted by oddman at 9:08 AM on April 26, 2009


There was a pretty good This American Life about a tornado hitting during a prom. I'm phone-browsing right now or I would try and find it. I am completely useless, as of right now. But it exists, I swear.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 9:09 AM on April 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


oddman: "And the high school industry trains you for the college industry (and that trains you for the job industry)."

A secondary school education is a worthwhile thing. An evening of vulgar consumerism not so much.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:13 AM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was so out of the loop in high school-that I that I didn't even know when or where our prom was. I'm sure that they had one but I didn't pay attention enough to know anything about it or even know anyone who went. I guess that I was a little anti-social in high-school
posted by octothorpe at 9:15 AM on April 26, 2009


The This American Life Prom tornado episode.

Considering I lived in Kansas during 2001, I'm surprised I never heard about this.
posted by aetg at 9:19 AM on April 26, 2009


TAL gets their prom on.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:19 AM on April 26, 2009


The prom industry exists to train women for the wedding industry.

No date huh?
posted by Big_B at 9:19 AM on April 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


*Dumps bucket of pig's blood on aetg*
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:19 AM on April 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


sigh, *uses telekinetic powers to torture and kill everyone on Mefi*

Just had to go there, didn't you Alvy!
posted by aetg at 9:23 AM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I should have thought that through. Sorry, gang.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:24 AM on April 26, 2009


Just as it took Doug Lenat's team months to explain "Napoleon died in 1821. Wellington was greatly saddened" to Cyc, a hopeful artificial intelligence project, I suspect it would take years to properly convey to aliens what the American Prom is all about — that a single evening is so often the swirl of random events against the culmination of years of adolescent peer politics that the event attains a kind of mythic weight, all out of proportion, in the experience of growing up seems fantastically irrational.

To paraphrase a famous quote, "Happy Proms are all alike; every unhappy Prom is unhappy in its own way." The latter half, I am sure, would take an order of magnitude more description than the first.
posted by adipocere at 9:26 AM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Big_B: "No date huh?"

Yes and no. I took a female friend two grades behind me who I had a thing for. So, no points for difficulty.

My father offered me the use of his mid-life crisis sports car for the evening. Mom - terrified by visions of twisted metal by the side of the Long Island Expressway - put the kaibosh on it. Long nasty fight ensued.

Other than that, it wasn't a particularly memorable evening for me either way. But she, having spent much of the night making sure a drunken friend of hers didn't get date-raped, said she had such a horrible time that it convinced her not to attend her own senior prom when the time came.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:26 AM on April 26, 2009


When I was in high school I couldn't imagine being broken enough to think prom was a good idea, and I have yet to see anything that suggests I was wrong.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:29 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


sorry, but there's really no way you can bring up 'twirling' and 'prom' without including this clip.
posted by sexyrobot at 9:40 AM on April 26, 2009


I think adipocere's comment about people from other countries not understanding the prom is a really good one. I work at a school with a lot of international students (it's about forty-five percent American) and there's something about the prom they just don't get. They've heard of them but they sort of think the prom is just a big dance; the international kids don't really understand the prom zeitgeist.

Being one of the few Americans who works at the school, I've ended up being the prom adviser (this shocks most of my high school friends; I wasn't really a prom person) and it's kind of hard to explain to them that part of the whole prom idea is things like an absurd theme and really tacky souvenirs (I'm trying to find my pewter "Prom '99" keychain and the crummy photo album from the next year, but I fear they're lost in the mists of time). I have heard that a lot of British schools are moving towards having a prom, but there really is something I can't define that makes the prom different from a dance, for better or worse.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:44 AM on April 26, 2009


Pope Guilty: When I was in high school I couldn't imagine being broken enough to think prom was a good idea

wevs dude i went to like, seven proms. prom is the shit. they gave us all etched drinking glasses with the year and theme. Senior Prom '99: Under the Sea. etc. went to proms in both of the adjoining school districts.

as I get older, though, I'm starting to suspect that I was invited to so many proms because i was seen as a "safe" option... probably wouldn't screw up dinner, looked passable in a tux and didn't expect any serious commitment after the event.

actually, on further reflection, i realize that none of those girls ever called me back, AND they were all single when they asked me to the prom.

upon completion of this inquiry... i feel kind of used.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:45 AM on April 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


Also, if you think you're too cool for prom, you probably wouldn't have a good time if you went anyway.

so you should just stay home and listen to evanescence and practice your banjo or whatever.

posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:46 AM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


In 2008, Freeman offered again. This time the school board accepted, and history was made. Charleston High School had its first-ever integrated prom—in 2008! Until then, blacks and whites had had separate proms even though their classrooms have been integrated for decades.

That blows me away, are there still separate proms anywhere else in the country?
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:48 AM on April 26, 2009


There is nothing like watching the mother of a high school boy obsess for over forty-five minutes over the color of the ribbon for his date's corsage.

Florists all over the U.S. share my pain.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 9:51 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had a blast at the prom senior year, after ignoring the whole stupid pageant my junior year of HS. I couldn't think of anyone I wanted to bring senior year, and almost passed on that one too, but then remembered lovely Aimee, two years ahead of me in school, who'd had a crush on me when I was a freshman but thought I was too young to date.

Of course, she was in college by then, a sophomore in the big city, but I called her anyway and asked her if I could escort her to the prom. To my delight, she was flattered, and very excited to go. We had a fantastic time.

So, yeah, I went in a cynic about most of the high school social scene (I was a band nerd, after all), and had, truly, one of the more memorable nights of my life. Good times.
posted by LooseFilter at 9:56 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm unAmerican then. I went Jr. year. Went to a concert instead senior year.
posted by trbrts at 10:00 AM on April 26, 2009


LOL prom. I went with the girl who took the bet and punched me in the gut hard enough to bend me over, then asked me to the prom. She worked at a tanning salon, so I went tanned and sent me to her hairdresser so i had mad 80's curls on the back of my head. She chose pink, so here I am in a PINK tux. Used grandparent's car. Ended up breaking into her house because she forgot her keys, through a window in a prom dress is pretty funny. Still chat with her and her sister on occasion.

I think we were both the types that didn't really want to go to the prom, but sort of wanted to go to the prom once in your life.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:04 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had professor in college, one of the most intelligent human beings I've met so far, who once told me that he believed fervently in public education because he thought that 'young people need to learn how wretched human beings are in order to function in society.'

I tend to think he's absolutely right—I always had a feeling that high school wasn't really supposed to be something you enjoyed, anyway—but there are times when it seems to me that we're going beyond letting kids know what rubbish they'll have to put up with in society and actually actively traumatizing them. Most of those times have to do with this masochistic 'prom' tradition.
posted by koeselitz at 10:06 AM on April 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


"A secondary school education is a worthwhile thing. An evening of vulgar consumerism not so much."

You are definitely not going to the right proms and weddings.
posted by oddman at 10:08 AM on April 26, 2009


That blows me away, are there still separate proms anywhere else in the country?

Turner County High in Georgia tried integration in 2007. And this low budget flick is about another school in Georgia that recently switched over.
posted by gman at 10:17 AM on April 26, 2009


My prom experience:

9th grade Ball or whatever equivalent there was: solved Rubik's cube (albeit with an online program I had found), had an awesome chat with online friends.

11th grade: went with a girl I met online to her prom. Ended really awkward as we barely talked to each other and we only danced for like, 10 minutes that night. She told me while we were slow dancing that I should totally go gay. I did get to ride in a limo, which was cool. But by no means was the night magical in any way. Also got some candle in a wine glass, except the school seal was upside down.

When I found out I had Asperger's syndrome, that explained so much about that night.

12th grade: went on a trip with Air Force JROTC to Gettysburg. Got to see the battlefield and all that, which was awesome.

I remember I wanted to do a prank of sorts where I would buy up every prom ticket, then scalp them to the entire student body at obscene prices or go to the prom and be the only person there. Of course, when you're 18 and still in high school, it's kinda hard to get enough money to buy up $12,000 worth of prom tickets or so, not to mention they'd probably just keep selling tickets even though I bought enough for everyone in the student body.

Homecoming dances were all the same, with me staying home surfing the Internet.
posted by champthom at 10:18 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Prom was great.

This type is. This type isn't.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:20 AM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


Charleston High School had its first-ever integrated prom—in 2008!

WTF? Words can't even begin to describe the fuckedupness.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:20 AM on April 26, 2009


I went my my high school prom with another guy. We never really talked to each other during the school year, and had none of that sort of interest in each other. So when he asked if I wanted to go to prom with him, I knew exactly what it was -- the only two openly gay guys in school would be going to prom together.

We spent the event itself drifting apart and back together -- apart to socialize with our normal groups, back together for photos and other times when we'd be seen.

The only person who reacted oddly was the photographer who was taking pictures of all the couples as they entered. "Wha...you...two? Um...ok."

The prom itself was kinda dull, so my memory of prom is that I went solely to be one of the two gay guys who went to prom together.
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:21 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Last night was my senior prom. I went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show instead. I've never been to prom, but I feel confident that it wouldn't have been half as fun.
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 10:21 AM on April 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


I never did understand proms. Why spend all that time and money to go to a chaperoned dance? Seemed like a lot of time and effort just to get laid.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:21 AM on April 26, 2009


I couldn't afford my prom.
Not that I had any real interest in having to dress
up, and listening to crap music. I moved/changed schools
before my senior year though, so if I knew more people I might have felt different.

I will say the only thing lamer than proms imo,
are anti-prom parties. I just worked that night.
posted by stifford at 10:24 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


In small-town Kansas in 1985, prom hadn't yet evolved into just another excuse for a spending orgy. My mother's friend made my dress (a strapless mauve taffeta confection) from a Simplicity pattern and it was just as gorgeous as the store-bought ones.

My date (now husband) was in the National Guard and had a mandatory training exercise on the weekend of prom. He had to get special permission from his unit's commanding officer to take time off to attend. He arrived at my house in his fatigues and changed into his tux in my bathroom. His M-16 was in the trunk of his car (obviously a more lax time security-wise).

The dance was held at the local Holiday Inn's conference room. The theme was Tropical Paradise, so the room was decorated with plastic palm trees and we all got our pictures taken in front of a poster of an ocean sunset. The band was a head-banger cover band that didn't play a single slow song all night (or at least not for the hour that we were there before we decided it was too lame to stick around).

We went with a group of friends to a little hole-in-the-wall bar. This was back when 18-year-olds could drink, so some of us were legal and some weren't. We showed up in our prom clothes and none of us got carded. The guys played pool while we girls sat around and admired each others dresses and corsages.

All in all it was a disappointment, considering that all the 80s teen comedies and romances had led me to believe that it would be the most magical night of my life, dammit! But at least we have the cheesy ocean-sunset picture as evidence that we used to be young and carefree.
posted by amyms at 10:27 AM on April 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


"Seemed like a lot of time and effort just to get laid."

And I didn't even get that out of it!

Didn't want it from the person I went with, but that's beside the point.
posted by CrayDrygu at 10:28 AM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Instead of going to my prom in high school, I took mushrooms with some friend and stayed up all night.

It was 1969.
posted by Tena at 10:38 AM on April 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


Punchdrunk, you're doing it right
posted by wheelieman at 10:39 AM on April 26, 2009


My prom experience was pretty meh. The only interesting thing I remember was the non-college-track farmboy who everybody liked getting voted prom king over the good looking but arrogant jock.

I think the best story I've heard was from a college friend, whose date showed up at her house in a powder blue tuxedo, driving an 18-wheeler.
posted by A dead Quaker at 10:46 AM on April 26, 2009




I didn't go. Only liked one girl; she didn't like me, I asked, she said no, I didn't have any real reason to want to go after that.

It would have been in 1999. I think this MetaFilter thread made me remember I didn't go to my prom for the first time in about six years.

My high school reunion is in a few months and I imagine I'm not going to go to that either. I'm good friends still with a few friends from high school; those are the only people from then I give a shit about anyways.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:02 AM on April 26, 2009


I didn't go to my Prom. Didn't go to my graduation, either... Oh, I graduated, but along with several other troublemakers, donated the cap & gown rental money to Ralph Nader's organization. =Sigh.= This was back when he was doing good work as a consumer advocate & environmentalist.

But the Prom. My brand-new girlfriend Wendy & I figured if we were too cool for school — & we were — the same would hold true for the Prom. We decided instead to gently break in to the big green farmhouse owned by Drum, father of Wen's friends Kare & Meem. Meem had gone to an out-of-state high school for achingly sensitive kids, & the family would be away overnight attending her graduation. That meant Wen & I had an opportunity to spend the night together — a major goal at the time.

Things went according to plan. We watched South Pacific on TV, ate popcorn, made out on the couch. The movie ended, it was time for bed.

We were both enthusiastic & impatient. We left a trail of mixed clothing dropped all along the floor & stairs to the spare bedroom above. It was a classic shot from an older, more inhibited movie: the line of clothes, starting with shoes & outer garments, progressing through easy-to-remove items like sweaters & t-shirts to the jeans, which required a bit more coordination, quite a long pause as unfamiliar fingers practiced bra-unhooking from the front, ending with a small pile of charming unmentionables. Passion's trail leads to closed doors.

It was a nice evening. The teenaged lovers snored happily together, the moon shone down in approval of all below. A bulldog barked on a corner. Then the Crumplington's arrived home. They had decided not to stay over.

We awoke. The emergency reaction that kicks in at times like that had us frantically dressing as we covered our path in reverse. We were just grabbing our pants as Drum & fam entered, surprised to see the daughters' friend there at two in the morning. "Why, Wen, hello..." Saw the boyfriend (that was me) & all was clear.

They just don't make 'em like Drummond Crumplington anymore. Unflappable. This guy went to the finest schools, flew bombers in WWII, took a pro-culture case all the way to the Supreme Court & won. Would my long hair & skinny legs showing up unexpectedly in his TV room phase him? Not a bit. We were introduced, then Wen & I left. Drum's perennial hail & farewell, "Happy days!" followed us down the driveway.

I went home & listened to Gasoline Alley.
posted by Forrest Greene at 11:05 AM on April 26, 2009 [15 favorites]


I went to the junior and senior prom as a freshman and sophomore, respectively, because my dates were older than me. Skipped my own junior and senior prom though, but partied with friends.

Maybe prom is some milestone event to popular kids, or the kids who envy them. Because for me, that was graduation. Prom was more like ... I don't know, an opportunity to dance in the gym? Yay.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:10 AM on April 26, 2009


I got into a car crash on the way there (hydroplaned on a puddle), then the prom got shut down by the cops when somebody jumped on top of the valedictorian and beat him half to death. Should've stayed home and watched the game.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 11:16 AM on April 26, 2009


I went to four school dances--my own junior prom, a friend's junior prom, my own senior semi-formal, and a friend's senior semi. Each time was with a platonic friend as a date (3/4 of them were gay guys), people I went to punk shows with. They were pretty much an excuse to dress goofy and punk rock and eat good food (our dances weren't in the gym, but actual weddingish venues) and then hang out at a diner after. At my first prom, I brought my date, who was wearing a spiked collar, on a leash. We were told that it was a fire hazard (?) and we'd have to either remove the leash or leave.

Anyway, I probably didn't spend more than $25 on any of my dresses, and I got some great photos out of it. Not the professional ones, but the ones my friends took. It was a fun time, and I'm glad I didn't miss it by being totally stereotypically punk and anti high school, although I'm also glad it didn't really matter to me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:22 AM on April 26, 2009


Brandon Blatcher: I never did understand proms. Why spend all that time and money to go to a chaperoned dance? Seemed like a lot of time and effort just to get laid.

You're missing the point. The point of prom is to take every conceivable social pressure—desire for sex, desire for social comraderie, the now often unsated impulse toward comforting social conventions and traditions, even loneliness—and bring it to bear in order to forcibly compel young people to submit to the dull and lifeless authority of the herd. It's really the premier democratic tradition; at prom, one observes that even those youths who have proven time and time again that they won't conform, who have somehow beaten the odds and found the courage to truly buck convention and look to the future rather than falling into the trap of embracing the political regime of high school, are almost universally convinced to betray themselves; how many times have you heard the 'we thought prom was lame, but we figured we may as well check it out' speech before? They can't fool anybody; I've given that speech myself, so I know that we really went because we were lured by the promise that was always dangled before our noses in high school: 'we will give you all the comfortable and safe and nurturing society you need if only you will submit to our conventions and dress up in silly clothing.' It sounds ridiculous when you put it into words, but all humans, even the stronger, less broken ones, long for companionship and mutual society. Especially when they are young.

And we'll continue to put on proms here in America, even if every single person hates them (I don't say they do; this sort of thing is often pleasureable to certain kinds of people). There would be no way to stop. Because, no matter how much anyone hated prom, deep down, what they remember is that nostalgic hope for social connectedness; and they will inflict this punishment on their children as every American parent has for generations simply because they believe they are giving to their children what they longed for and never actually had.

Nietzsche would've hated prom.
posted by koeselitz at 11:31 AM on April 26, 2009 [28 favorites]


Last night, my band played at the spring formal dance for an all-boys boarding school where the tuition is $40K per year. The school bused in girls from a few other schools around the area. My own senior prom happened about 16 years ago, and some of the kids in the crowd last night looked so young that they might not have been born yet in 1993. They looked and acted the way I remember kids in middle school did.

It was like a frat party with training wheels last night. And training bras.
posted by emelenjr at 11:36 AM on April 26, 2009


proms are great. make sure to remember to cross-dress
posted by flyinghamster at 12:11 PM on April 26, 2009


I didn't get invited to the prom.

Actually, I SAID I was going the prom, and then my date and I smoked a joint and went to Waffle House.

Yep.

Not every anecdote I share is exciting, OK?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:16 PM on April 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


Did not go to prom, a friend and I went and hung out at the place the prom was held (Space Needle, if I'm remembering correctly) to see the folks arrive in their duds (the "rocker" dudes were generally awesome, they went to a man in various pastel tuxes with top hats and walking sticks). Afterwards we probably just hung out somewhere, I cannot recall.

I do think I asked someone to the prom in a last-second "maybe I'll be missing something if I don't go" rush but she had the good taste to turn me down.
posted by maxwelton at 12:20 PM on April 26, 2009


What is this "prom" you speak of?

Actually, there was a graduation dance at my high school which was held at the Hotel Vancouver and was a Big Deal, but I quit a few weeks into Grade 12, so that was that. I did go to one high school dance in Grade 11, but it was dull and the music wasn't that great (though the band was Heart, all the way from Seattle).

It's kind of hard to say something like "I couldn't be bothered to go to the prom" without sounding all snowflakey, isn't it?
posted by jokeefe at 12:43 PM on April 26, 2009


Prom is 10 months past. Decided at the last moment to ride with the super nerdy first-gen chinese kids. Ended up back home by their curfew time...

The girl I wanted to dance with (and more), was sniped by the one guy I was sure was my best friend and also completely gay. Ended up having to dance with a girl twice my size and four times as neurotic.

Overall that night helped me realize how awful mainstream music is. That summer i worked hard to expand my musical horizons. College made up for the rest.
posted by shoebox at 12:45 PM on April 26, 2009


because they believe they are giving to their children what they longed for and never actually had.

And this concisely explains a huge range of family dysfunction and willed adult blindness that reads to their children as alienating hyprocrisy.
posted by jokeefe at 12:46 PM on April 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


For my senior prom, my boyfriend at the time did not like my ($7, purchased at a Goodwill store) dress, and wanted me to wear something else. I said no, we broke up, I asked a friend if he would go with me, had a great time, dated for about a year and a half until I got all OMFG I AM IN COLLEGE I NEED TO FREAK OUT AND SOW SOME GODDAMN WILD OATS on him.

But I think everyone ended up happy in the end.
posted by Lucinda at 12:53 PM on April 26, 2009


Prom is 10 months past. Decided at the last moment to ride with the super nerdy first-gen chinese kids. Ended up back home by their curfew time...

The girl I wanted to dance with (and more), was sniped by the one guy I was sure was my best friend and also completely gay. Ended up having to dance with a girl twice my size and four times as neurotic.


It baffles me why you didn't get the girl.
posted by gman at 12:54 PM on April 26, 2009


aetg:The This American Life Prom tornado episode.

There was taffeta everywhere! Oh, the humanity!
posted by dr_dank at 12:54 PM on April 26, 2009


yeah, koeselitz just switched a light on in my head and arranged another bombing pattern for forthcoming raids on the parental will, god speed you children of malcontent.
posted by doobiedoo at 12:57 PM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


You are definitely not going to the right proms and weddings.

Absolutely. Weddings should be about throwing an awesome party for all your friends and family. Wear some fancy clothes, have some good booze, dancing and grub. Same attitude should be applied to proms, plus a groan-inducing theme like "a night in Paris", (and probably minus the booze.) People take the prom too seriously. Senior year I went with a group of girlfriends and bought a cheap dress, which I've re-used twice. We just had fun dancing, didn't really care about dates or limos or what those popular kids were doing. In contrast, junior year a semi-boyfriend asked me to homecoming. I had never been really asked out or to a formal dance before, and it was my first year in a new high school, so much freaking out ensued. It wasn't fun.

A combination of over protective parents, self absorbed or neurotically insecure teens, newly kicking in hormones, a grandiose illusion that "prom" is a night to remember forever, and a media screaming about sexting or rainbow parties, pretty much combine to make prom an insufferable mess for most, and nearly impossible to not take too seriously. I'm not really sure how I didn't.
posted by fontophilic at 1:02 PM on April 26, 2009


Junior Prom, 1976. I think the theme might have been "You Are My Starship." Wore a black chiffon dress with disco-y layers and spaghetti straps, that I bought at J. Magnin, and gold strappy sandals. Date wore a plain black tux, thank God, and drove his 1964 red, ragtop GTO. Wafted into Hugo's One Up restaurant at the top of the Hyatt on Union Square on a cloud of dope smoke. The actual prom itself is rather hazy, although I vaguely recall afterparties at motels on Lombard Street. Date brought me home, and spent the night. (Parents in New York.) Too drunk/high to have sex then, but lost my virginity the next morning.

Did not attend senior prom as by that time I had broken up with junior prom guy and was desperately in love with his best friend, whom I had the good taste not to ask.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 1:04 PM on April 26, 2009


It baffles me why you didn't get the girl.

Over the previous four years that bastard John Hughes had through his films, even though i refused to acknowledge it, convinced me on some subconscious level that there indeed existed a right girl for every guy and that my own special person would reveal herself to me on that night.

In short, I was seventeen and stupid and everything koeselitz said.
posted by shoebox at 1:10 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


ready to leave for my high school prom, i confessed to my dad that i was broke, and he handed me a ten dollar bill. i took my date to the SKY CLUB restaurant --"heavenly food served by angels"-- in plover, wisconsin. we each had a whole maine lobster dinner and i left an appropriate tip for the server. when i got home that night, my dad asked for the change from the ten and i was able to give him some.
posted by kitchenrat at 1:15 PM on April 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


I was homeschooled. It was awkward to spend my adolescence in a social vacuum, but at least I got spared these sorts of indignities.
posted by signalnine at 1:20 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Junior year, my boyfriend had just dumped me, and he went with someone else, so I just cried and went to see The Craft with kind friends. This is probably the only circumstances under which The Craft was genuinely enjoyed.

Senior year, I didn't care, but I figured I'd regret not going if I didn't. I borrowed a kelly-green Edwardian dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves from the theater department and went stag. The dress was beautiful, but as soon as we arrived, it tore open -- the fabric was flimsy, my sewing was poor, and it was only meant as a costume anyway. I spent the rest of the evening holding the thing shut and trying not to be bored to death. It was held on a boat, though, which helped a lot. I can always be entertained by gazing theatrically away over the water.
posted by Countess Elena at 1:23 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I used to like to get dressed up and party, and at the time of my prom I had a cool 'older' (by one year!) boyfriend, so I was really excited to go. But a few days before the prom, the Serbs blockaded my city and soon they started indiscriminately shelling anyone. I probably still would have gone to prom, but they cancelled it - to be rescheduled when things calmed down. Less than two decades later, about half of my high school classmates are dead, and only a handful of those living still live in Sarajevo. But still, when I do speak to someone from my class, the first thing that we ask one another is, "Have you heard anything about the rescheduling of our prom?"
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:46 PM on April 26, 2009 [10 favorites]


Fuck prom, and all that prom stands for. If there is any one thing I hope to teach my children, it's that prom is, on the 1-to-10 scale of Life's Most Important Experiences, 10 being having sex with the love of your life while you eat a freshly baked tiger tail donut while winning the Tour de France as fifty thousand Basques chant your name in a fashion that becomes an international hit to which you get *all* the royalties, and 1 being the opposite of that, a 0.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000001.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:56 PM on April 26, 2009 [4 favorites]


I went to prom twice and it was normal and not very stressful and everyone had a nice time. Sorry.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:58 PM on April 26, 2009 [8 favorites]


We have Chrysostomos in Belgium. One hundred days before the end of the final schoolyear (which is the name day of St. Chrysostomos) there's a big party which involves limousines nor corsages. During the schoolday we put on a show for the other kids, making fun of the teachers, and in the evening there's a party far away from school, where teachers dare not show themselves.
posted by LVdB at 2:07 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


WILL YOU GO TO THE PROM WITH ME?

Some days the internet is a gold mine.

I went to prom twice and it was normal and not very stressful and everyone had a nice time. Sorry.

FREAK.

The point of prom is to take every conceivable social pressure—desire for sex, desire for social comraderie, the now often unsated impulse toward comforting social conventions and traditions, even loneliness—and bring it to bear in order to forcibly compel young people to submit to the dull and lifeless authority of the herd.

Feel good emo bullshit. It's just another rite of passage, take it or leave it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:09 PM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I didn't ever go to my school's prom. Kind of wish I had, because my senior year it was at Long Beach Aquarium and I guess some people spent all of prom dressed in fancy clothes, looking at fish, which might have been fun.

However! I did go to the Los Angeles County LGBT prom, which was off the hook in a way no other event I've ever been to was off the hook. Highly recommended if you're in high school in Los Angeles, although I kind of don't know how to get tickets...I think they're sort of sold through school-level GSAs, but you have to know who to ask. I've seriously never been to such a crazy party before or since. Plus, there was no enforced dress code, so I got to rock Converse and a Sleater-Kinney t-shirt at the only prom I attended.
posted by crinklebat at 2:27 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


For my junior prom, my dad drove myself and my date to prom in his Caddy roadster (white with white leather interior) and dropped us off at the front of the building.

I thought it was awesome.
posted by Loto at 2:33 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Much to my surprise, I actually had a decent time at prom, despite being totally uninterested in going. But two friends of mine wanted to go, and juniors could only go with a senior as a date, so they dangled the bait before me of being the person at prom with two dates. So I said what the heck. I hung out with some friends, danced some, had late night munchies in my school's time-honored theater-geek tradition, and went home. Not, like, the greatest night of my life or anything, but certainly as much fun as a good night of clubbing would be seven years later.

My actual significant other at the time, however, who lived in a different city and couldn't attend anyway, turned out to be extremely upset about the whole thing, for reasons that still baffle me.
posted by kyrademon at 2:46 PM on April 26, 2009


I went to my school leaving dance thing, "the Formal" as they called it, and it was dull. Got a coach to the hotel, had a few beers, ate some uninspired food, went down to the 'afterparty' in the nightclub, got bored, and left.

Complete waste of money, best part of it was probably drinking with my teachers - illegal by a matter of months.

It was just an opportunity for people who look too young to look good in formalwear to dress up and pretend to be adults. It seems to still happen at university here too, tuxes and fancy dresses to go and eat a meal in a large marquee and go on funfair rides.

I don't understand it to be honest, much rather have a few pints in a nice pub with friends.
posted by knapah at 2:47 PM on April 26, 2009


The no-dance prom is a strange thing....The sort of person who thinks that dancing is sinful imagines that their kids are going to go to the church lock in and sing hymns the rest of the night. They don't understand that the logical next step for a HS student is to go some place completely unsupervised and do whatever. --a robot made out of meat

Well nowdays dancing at a few schools is really nothing less than actual sex while standing. There's a difference between kids going off some place unsupervised, and the school offering the kids to an organized, supervised, officially approved roll in the hay. I guess you could make an argument that maybe they should do just that, but it is understandable that most would find this objectable.
posted by eye of newt at 2:51 PM on April 26, 2009


And in case you have never witnessed this kind of dancing, I'm talking pregnancy as a realistic possible outcome.
posted by eye of newt at 2:56 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


My Junior prom I blew off; four of my female friends all went.

Our senior prom, they all went again, and decided to go stag (actually, one of them wanted to bring her boyfriend, and she invited the others -- and me -- to go as well so they could split the cost of the limo). One of the other girls' mothers was making her a new dress, so she gave her Jr. prom dress to another girl, who handed her Jr. prom dress to another girl, who handed HER Jr. Prom dress to my friend Sue -- so Sue gave me HER Jr. prom dress to wear. So I didn't have to spend a dime for the dress.

The first half of the evening was a disaster -- Sue had just had jaw surgery so her jaw was wired shut. There was no decor in the hall to speak of whatsoever. I was stuck at a table with Sue, two other very shy girls, the happy couple, and another couple people who only wanted to talk about inflatable fake breasts and cow tipping. The food had been frozen and microwave-heated, and some parts were still frozen. The dancing afterward was pretty lackluster. At one point I tried to go pick up the German exchange student, but he'd come with a girlfriend and I struck out.

At some point Sue and I ended up drifting out to the lobby of the hotel where our prom was, and we spent about 15 minutes playing "name that tune" with the Muzak. And in the middle of an especially bad rendition of "American Pie," I turned to her and said, "Sue, this really sucks." And she looked back at me with her wired-shut jaw and said, "'esh, ih 'oesh."

And that's the point at which Sue and I both just decided "fuck it" and decided to make our own fun - taking blackmail photos of everyone, crashing the photo booth, rounding up the other third girl and the freshman guy who'd gone stag with us and trying to pose like Charlie and his Angels, and generally causing our own kind of mayhem until the very end when the five of us all tried to waltz as a clump to "Stairway to Heaven."

I think that if you have a certain expectation for what the prom is, if you go into it thinking it's some John Hughes/teen movie fantasy, you ain't gonna get that. If you are to thine own self true, then you have a much better time.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:59 PM on April 26, 2009 [5 favorites]


I would like to see a usage map of "prom" vs "the prom."

but maybe it's not a regional thing.
posted by Stylus Happenstance at 3:03 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had no idea there was so much antipathy toward prom.

Jesus christ people it's just a big dance party. It's not like you're being asked to donate marrow. lighten up a bit, put on your fancy pants and dance! *doo-doo doo doo doodoo*
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:55 PM on April 26, 2009


Jesus christ people it's just a big dance party. It's not like you're being asked to donate marrow.

I'd rather donate marrow than have to relive any day of my highschool years.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:14 PM on April 26, 2009 [6 favorites]


Both my proms were lackluster. I went my sophomore year with my boyfriend (who was a senior! Swoon!). We'd only been dating a few months so everything was super-romantic, except prom itself was kind of lame. The best part about both of them were the chocolate covered strawberries with little tuxedos drawn on them.

The weekend before my first prom my friends threw me a "lilac girl's losing her virginity!" party. If I hadn't been so embarrassed that would've been a lot of fun.
posted by lilac girl at 4:21 PM on April 26, 2009


I've never regretted skipping my prom, nor do I feel like it was an act of rebellion; it was simply the decision that made the most sense, given that I am not fond of dancing, big crowds, the majority of the people I went to high school with, the music that was popular at the time, spending money, and wearing formal clothes.
posted by camcgee at 4:23 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another story, this one re one of my daughters:

Her senior prom date had an old 70's style tux he planned on wearing. (This was in 2003, fwiw.) So, daughter and I had a brainstorm....I located a dress I had stored at my mom's. This dress was worn-by me-back in 1975, during an illfated entry into my school's beauty pageant. The dress was light orange overlaid with some sort of mesh material with orange strawberries printed on it. Very thin straps, with a gauzy poncho like thing one wore on top.

It fit her perfectly-and more importantly, she looked GREAT in it.

So, she wore it.

Her sister (the conventional one in the family)about had a cow. But the other students thought they looked awesome. And it is really cool to have pics of her and her date beside a pic of me at that age in that same dress.

Oh, and the next year? She commissioned and had made a copy of Eowyn's dress from LOTR and wore THAT.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:42 PM on April 26, 2009 [1 favorite]


OOh, above-her date's senior prom, her junior. Her senior dress was the Eowyn one.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:43 PM on April 26, 2009


A formalwear shop near my house has a sign in the window advertising their 'Prom Dress Registry' - to keep multiple girls from buying the same dress for the same school's prom. God forbid!
posted by candyland at 5:15 PM on April 26, 2009


one observes that even those youths who have proven time and time again that they won't conform, who have somehow beaten the odds and found the courage to truly buck convention and look to the future rather than falling into the trap of embracing the political regime of high school, are almost universally convinced to betray themselves; how many times have you heard the 'we thought prom was lame, but we figured we may as well check it out' speech before?

Eh, bucking convention? Would be to just have a good time and not flip out one way or the other.

My proms!??! La la la storytime!

I dressed like cinderella, quite literally, white gloves, chingnon, didn't like my filet mignon at dinner, AT ALL, gave it to a totally tripped-out bum, used the flower off my salad for my date's boutonniere, having forgotten that detail, and left the dance with him to shag right outside the tent. He was a great high school boyfriend. Very compliant. I think I ditched my stockings in a sand dune. Prom at the beach, really wasn't too bad a time. They played B-52's. The next year I went in a really great matte black pvc ballgown I got a deal on from lipservice (ah, the 90s) but I had a sunburn ow ow.

You can retain the same modulated level of conformity at all times, you know. It's not black or white.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:35 PM on April 26, 2009 [2 favorites]


I went to three proms. I had a great time, but then again our high school was really laid back in general and almost everyone got along. Most everyone seemed to have a good time. If I remember correctly, someone had a raging after-party at a river lot on the Meremac (two years in a row) and we had raging bonfires until dawn. I would have been pissed to have missed that for sure, it was like training for college.
posted by schyler523 at 6:13 PM on April 26, 2009


Ugh. Senior Prom. I was a shy nerd and never dated anyone when I was in high school, but I felt a lot of pressure to go to prom. Looking back now, I would've been just fine saying "Fuck it" and going to see a movie or something or hanging with friends not in my grade. But no, I was very self-conscious about not going, so decided to do it, even though it wasn't something I wanted.

So I start to narrow down potential girls to ask, and after waiting a while realize that while waiting a lot of those girls agreed to go with some other guy who was quicker to ask. I call one pretty, popular girl that I never really hung out with much but I knew she didn't have a date. So I thought. I call and ask and she tells me she already has a date, but to her credit she didn't laugh out loud. I wanted to crawl into a hole and throw away the hole.

So I ask another girl, an actual friend, I'll call her Pam, but she tells me the same thing--she has a date with some college freshman guy in another town. So I've got no date and by this time--maybe a week before the prom--there's basically just one girl I know (barely), and I don't want to ask her at all, I'm ready to call it quits when Pam pulls me aside and says "Hey, my college date just cancelled on me and now I have no date. Shall we go together?" But I knew that another guy, a friend of mine, let's call him Steve, who she was very good friends with and would've been natural to go to prom with, asked her...but only after I had. It was a bit of a "Well, you asked first, so the right thing to do is to honor your request...(even though I'd rather go to the prom with Steve)". I wanted to back out, say no, go with Steve, I'm gonna stay at home and drink cocoa. I sure as hell didn't want to be an obligation. But I said yes. It took all that pressure I felt to go off my shoulders, and I didn't want her to think I was backing out on her.

So the prom came and I actually had a pretty good time...a group of about 8 of us got a limo, went to a fancy restaurant, and had a decent time at the prom. Afterwards my date Pam headed off to some party of a guy I didn't know and wasn't interested in. I myself was heading to a separate party. We didn't have any romantic connection, but it was a kind of hard reality that any "dream Prom date" scenario was absolutely not happening. We exchanged a kind of shrugging "Oh, well, I guess that's Prom for us" look and went our separate ways. I barely spoke to her--or her to me--until our reunion 10 years later.

So the Prom itself was fine--fun, even. I just detested the peer pressure and feeling that if I didn't go to prom I was a loser. Had I been stronger I would've been able to see through all of that political bullshit, but selective not caring what others think is an art that takes years to master. Indeed, I'm still working on it.

I don't expect anyone to get much out of this or even read the whole thing...if anything Metafilter is a nice form of therapy. Thanks, Metafilter!
posted by zardoz at 6:23 PM on April 26, 2009 [3 favorites]


The proms I attended were great. The highschool I attended had 4 of them. I can't recall who I attended proms were either girl friends or girls I had awkward crushes on. With each passing year the socializing became less and less awkward.

I probably would not have liked my prom experiences or high school in general had I not been forced by my parents to stick out some personal choices to join sports. I learned a lot about being a part of a team, learning to push yourself beyond what you "think" you can do, and learning to have people depend on you. Those activities plus being active, surfing, and skateboarding as well as wearing contacts created the right image. You learn to navigate the politics... and use the resources you have available. ...Just like in real life.
posted by pntbttr at 7:07 PM on April 26, 2009


I had no desire to go to prom, but my girlfriend did. Which meant I was going.

Holiday Inn affair. DJ, no band.

A bunch of white kids dancing poorly, and I ranked among the worst of the already graceless wildebeests.

Got in an argument with the girlfriend before the night was over. This was not uncommon for a Saturday night, so I'm not sure why a Saturday night with fancy clothes would have changed that.

The make-up sex on Sunday was pretty awesome though.

My wife (not the girlfriend listed above) went to about 5 proms over her high school career.

I plan on wearing a tux only once more in my life, at my son's wedding in about 20 years.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:05 PM on April 26, 2009


Nietzsche would've hated prom.

And see what happened to him!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:14 AM on April 27, 2009 [3 favorites]


Can I say, that I'm absolutely shocked that the "iconoclasts" and "individuals" on Metafilter uniformly dislike the prom?
posted by oddman at 7:36 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jesus christ people it's just a big dance party. It's not like you're being asked to donate marrow. lighten up a bit, put on your fancy pants and dance! *doo-doo doo doo doodoo*

Seconded.

In my high school years, I skipped some formal dances, went to some with "just friends" and went to some with girlfriends.

Usually my group of friends all dined together at a restaurant, went to the dance together, then retired to someone's house afterward. We were mostly band nerds, with a few other dorks mixed in. We ignored what the popular cliques were doing and just did our own thing.

Sure, plenty of it is stupid pageantry and conformity... but you don't have to turn over your mind to The Machine when you attend, nor does it make you a bad/stupid/broken/elitist person.

Jeez.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:21 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's always so weird to see people refer to it as simply "Prom". In Western. Mass where I grew up, it was always "the Prom". Removing the definitive article from the name makes it sound more collegiate for some reason.

Everybody seems to have a "my prom was bizarre" story and my prom was no different. It killed our principal.

The drama that preceded it was innocuous by comparison. I almost didn't go because I had no date, and eventually just went with a girl who was in a similar situation. We were at least friends so the dinner wasn't all that awkward. Our friends with the ride went off to the dance without us, however, and there were no taxis running on Sunday. The assistant manager of the restaurant was just going off his shift and was heading that way so we arrived in style, stepping out of a beat-up Volkswagen Rabbit blaring the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. I actually thought that was cool.

There's a prom picture of me and my three best friends from high school, in our first tuxes, trying to look sophisticated. You know that old-time photograph they used in the credits of Cheers, where the two young men are trying to look sophisticated while enjoying what is clearly their first beer? Yeah, that was us, only without the bowler hats or the intoxication. After the dance we all went to our favorite late-night diner and walked in with tuxedoes and pretended we owned the place. Maybe we did that night.

The next school day, our principal, Mr. H, met with the parents of a kid he had refused to let back into the dance because the kid had gone out to tip back a few in the parking lot. The parents weren't mad at their kid. They were mad at the school for not letting him back in, because they believed it was unfair to single out their kid when all the other kids were doing it.

We students didn't know it at the time, but Mr. H. had a history of heart trouble. And according to another administrator who was at the meeting, he had done his best to keep the conversation civil and polite. There was no yelling and no fighting. But in the middle of it all, Mr. H had a heart attack. Died right there ("Died en route", in the ambulance term.)

Graduation a week later was a very muted, very somber affair. The weather was beautiful, we were all about to embark on Life, and we'd just all come back from his standing room only funeral.
posted by Spatch at 8:21 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had two dates for my prom. Or, more precisely, I arrived to pick up my prom date only to be greeted by two girls -- my date, and her "wild" friend (that's as gentle as I can put it).

The looks I got that night were indescribable -- an hour in a packed fancy restaurant, dressed up for prom next to one girl who clearly didn't want to be there, and across from another loudly encouraging her toward activities she REALLY wasn't interested in; the prom itself, where the friend found her own guy to openly demonstrate what she was talking about; and every moment along the way with just me and two girls, one all prim and proper, and the other in a trashy dress so oversized she kept falling out of it as she walked. A few weeks later, a note appeared in my yearbook that said "thanks for putting up with my friend."

The ability to say "I had two dates for my prom" is about all I got out of that night.
posted by Pufferish at 8:34 AM on April 27, 2009


Some things always make me feel good...about having quit high school to go to college. Prom is definitely one of those things. Thank you all.
posted by Goofyy at 8:49 AM on April 27, 2009


You know, I am blown away with the prom-hate. Since we are all sharing, let me tell you why I actually really liked prom:

I was an incredibly socially awkward kid, and I went to a pretty rich kid school as someone who was most definitely not. I was a bit of a weird guy, with an affinity for computers (On MEFI? Shocking!) and didn't really have a group - The "punk" kids were just different rich kids, I wasn't academic enough for the nerdy kids, I certainly didn't fit in with the music and art kids, and I just didn't really fit in anywhere. Dating was out of the question for me, as I was just not socially well adjusted, and as much as I wanted to be with a girl at the time (and BELIEVE ME, I did), I was pretty down on myself - so of course the prom was something I wasn't really considering.

In a moment of bravery, I asked a girl from another county that I had been caught up with for a couple of years to my prom, and to my delight, she accepted... and I picked out a rockin' full-length tux, picked a little local italian place for dinner, and we went on our way to prom proper, her a stranger to my school, and me, well I may as well have been. We both had a blast, and we did it without a care as to what anyone else thought. It was one of the best times we ever had, we looked good, we didn't break the bank, and it remains as one of my best high school memories.

We drifted apart afterwards, simply because of life, college, and all that bullshit. I'm certainly not pining after her by any stretch - I'm now happily married, as was she, last I heard, so this isn't a magical "I met the woman of my dreams at prom" story - That happened much later, and much more randomly.

What I am saying is that Prom was a chance for this socially awkward school-hating not-really-popular kid to shine, and I had a wonderful time. If it wasn't for the social pressure and the "OMG PROM IS HUGE" mentality, I would have probably left high school without a shred of confidence. As it stands, that was a true rite of passage for me, as cheesy as that sounds, and it was a gateway into me being happy, confident, and a just overall better person.

I love proms.
posted by MysticMCJ at 11:16 AM on April 27, 2009 [2 favorites]


My oldest brother's best friend (who used to delight and intrigue me as a child by spewing fireballs using the butane from his lighter) graduated high school in 1982.

My closest brother graduated from (nod to Tullyogallaghan) high school in 1987.

I mention this because they were both at MY prom...in 1993.

Some of my girl and guy friends and I just decided to go as kind of a group and had a decent time given the parameters (theme: "Wonderful Tonight"; location: riverboat, in which everyone was packed in like the gimp from Pulp Fiction and the "dance floor" was the size of a postage stamp, and not the cool, oversized, commemorative, collector-edition stamps either, just your normal USPS-issue stamp). My older brother's friend had been dating a girl in my class (insert creepy, cradle-robber comparisons here) and he escorted her to our prom that year. They are now married with multiple children so I guess love truly knows no bounds, including age (Chris Hansen did not have a television show back then).

My brother was there ultimately because of me. At his request, I had set him up with one of my high school friends after he met her a couple times at band concerts, etc. They dated most of our senior year and attended the prom together. To say it was weird seeing him and the other guy at my prom is like saying Michael Bay is a hideous, talentless, bunghole of a director who shouldn't be allowed to Q-tip the best grip's earwax, let alone helm multi-million dollar movies. An understatement.

But I got the last laugh, though. I've been married to the girl he dated for 5 years now. He must have been a TERRIBLE dancer.
posted by schleppo at 1:38 PM on April 27, 2009


Oh yeah, I should also have mentioned that my dad drove the Caddy wearing his Flyers hat (way to choke, you jerks) and a wife beater while smoking and rocking a wicked Fu-Manchu.

I love my Dad.
posted by Loto at 5:45 PM on April 27, 2009


My school didn't have a prom, so all the hoopla about prom one way or another is foreign to me. The "I didn't go to prom! It's a tool of fascists!" get's a big "Who cares?" from me, and people talking about Queens and Kings and whatnot is interesting, but still an unknown quality.
posted by Snyder at 11:12 PM on April 27, 2009


I once set fire to a PROM by inserting it in the programmer upside down.
posted by Hello Dad, I'm in Jail at 4:08 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I guess I just never understood why I'd want to spend a lot of money to get dressed up in ugly, uncomfortable clothes and spend an evening listening to terrible music while surrounded by people I mostly don't care about and in several instances mutually dislike. Did the rest of you grow up in some kind of John Hughes movie where the unpopular and popular people turn out to really get along?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:36 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does the fact that some of us enjoyed something you hated really make us deserving of being called "broken" or categorized as movie stereotypes?

Are you that angry and bitter about it that you have to deride everyone who attended a prom?

Really?
posted by Fleebnork at 6:55 AM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


Are you that angry and bitter about it that you have to deride everyone who attended a prom?

Really?
posted by Fleebnork at 8:55 AM on April 30


I see someone forgot to give you the "Welcome to MetaFilter" information packet.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:24 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't "hate" prom; I never went. But it's like Lost; there isn't a thing about it that doesn't make it look stupid and painfully boring, and I get a little bristley when I'm told that not being into that means I'm dumb or close-minded. It's the pinnacle of that idiotic thing we do in high school where we think what's going on around us matters in any way, and it costs a shit-ton of money (or at least did where I went to school), and so on.

I thought I was done hearing about prom, that instantiation of all that is stupid and small and overblown and short-sighted about high school, when I graduated high school. But no, I still have to hear people talk about high school like it mattered, or like it was important in the long run.

Or really, what koeselitz and Joe Beese said.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:02 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


And then there are the reunions. Why the fuck would I want to reunite wth the assholes I was stuck with at high school? Good god. There's a reason I left that forsaken shithole of a town.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:03 AM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


I see someone forgot to give you the "Welcome to MetaFilter" information packet.

I've lurked here long enough I should know better, I guess.
posted by Fleebnork at 9:26 AM on April 30, 2009


And then there are the reunions. Why the fuck would I want to reunite wth the assholes I was stuck with at high school? Good god. There's a reason I left that forsaken shithole of a town.

Facebook is great because it allows me to laugh hysterically at my former classmates without actually having to see them again.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:12 AM on April 30, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's funny that the people who think of themselves as too good for high school milestones seem to be the most bitter.
posted by oddman at 12:28 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's funny that the people who think of themselves as too good

Nothing screams insecurity quite like "YOU SAYIN' YOUR TOO FUCKIN GOOD FOR US?"
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:30 PM on May 1, 2009


For real. Why does everyone need to be pumped about prom? Some loved it, some avoided it with loathing, some hated it, some avoided it with meh. Different strokes.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:37 PM on May 1, 2009


Whatever. I'm sorry so many people felt alienated by their high school experiences and whatever attendant commercialism they were exposed to in connection with it. I'm sorry they continue to feel this is some battle worth waging, all these years later. If they're so sure the choices they made were the best, why weren't they fulfilled enough for them to be able to forgo all this nostalgia for their own tragic bitterness?

Mind you, I was no "popular kid," a chubby drama goth and an AP nerd, and I had more than my share of negative experiences, honest, but I managed to not be victimized by the whole thing. Prom's just a party, after all. I'm sorry you haters couldn't figure out how to enjoy yourselves within the parameters of your given high school culture, but integrity and inadaptability are not the same thing, so I kind of marvel at your valorization of your own social ineptitude.

I still have to hear people talk about high school like it mattered, or like it was important in the long run.

Well, mine was a storied time of fun and friendships, which have almost all lasted the interim 10 years, so it does matter. It can matter, if it doesn't suck. Whether it sucks is at least somewhat up to you, champ.

And I uploaded my cinderella dress picture. If I could relive that night, I just might.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:06 PM on May 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: valorization of your own social ineptitude
posted by Fleebnork at 1:22 PM on May 1, 2009


I had a great time in high school, to be honest. I wasn't popular by any stretch, my grades were average, I wasn't involved in any clubs outside of the literary magazine, but it was fun and yes, educational. I guess I got lucky. It's apparent not everyone had the same experience.

Prom, though, man, ours was in the gym. With a Davis Deejay. Both junior and senior. I had friends in other schools who were like, "Oh, we're having ours at the Marriot. Tiffany's gonna perform!". Psyched for my prom I was not. So I skipped my own junior and senior proms (having attended them already as a freshman and sophomore, respectively) and don't feel I really missed out.

I dunno. I guess it was a fine time for plenty of people, and good on them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:43 PM on May 1, 2009


If they're so sure the choices they made were the best, why weren't they fulfilled enough for them to be able to forgo all this nostalgia for their own tragic bitterness?

Yeah, there's nothing in this thread that suggests that prom is the best thing ever and everyone should love it.

And there's no valor in it; I don't think of myself as good for having been miserable in that horrible little school in that horrible little town. I'm just glad it's over, and I resent the notion that I'm a dick for not bucking up and enjoying the four years of beatings and systematic official and unofficial harassment.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:48 PM on May 1, 2009


Apparently there are a lot of notions you are capable of resenting, but I didn't call anybody a dick, so there's no victim of dick-notionality here, not even if you want to be one. Sorry you had four years of unadulterated hell, hope it's an exaggeration.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 7:21 PM on May 1, 2009


Facebook is great because it allows me to laugh hysterically at my former classmates without actually having to see them again.

OK, so I don't have a Facebook account because, well, why would I?, but this comment inspired me to Google a few high school people to see if they're on Facebook, including my best friend of that era, a wonderful, life-loving, accepting, ebullient woman whom I did keep in touch with up to about age 30 or so, really the only person from high school that I'd have any desire to talk to again.

Up pops the public-access portion of her Facebook page, which indicates that she belongs to the interest group called Marriage: One Man, One Woman.

Fuck me, I thought I was so old and world-weary that nothing could really disillusion me anymore, but what a total downer that is.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:11 AM on May 2, 2009


Bummer, man. How disappointing.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:15 AM on May 2, 2009


Facebook is great because it allows me to laugh hysterically at my former classmates without actually having to see them again.

Or facing reprisals for such.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 4:22 PM on May 3, 2009


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