I haven’t thought about my prom in years. I only went when I was a senior. And unlike a lot of schools, we didn’t have “separate” proms for the two upperclassmen classes. It was just one big prom. So ours had both juniors and seniors at it. I didn’t go my junior year because I didn’t really have anyone to invite. See, I went to an all-girls Catholic high school, remember? So there really was no one who would be asking you. You were pretty much on your own. And the tickets weren’t cheap. Because apparently we were very spoiled girls and we wanted only the best, coolest venues for our big bash. So if I was going to go, I wanted it to be my senior year.
Our theme that year was “Forever Young”. Which definitely wasn’t my first choice. I remember the year before it was “Wonderful Tonight”. I’m not sure which version of “Forever Young” it was supposed to be, but I like to imagine it was the Alphaville one and not the Rod Stewart one. Our colors were ever so festive: black, silver and red. The venue of choice that year? The Fairmont Hotel in downtown San Jose. Ooh la la! Tickets were, I believe, $100 and did include dinner.
I had my dress long before I had a date. I found that dress about nine months before the actual prom was going to occur. I saw it at Macy’s and fell in love. I tried it on, I would visit it every time I was back at the mall. And it was always there. That spring, I decided I would ask a guy I worked with at the video rental store to go with me. We’d been to a few movies together, mostly with a group of friends. I didn’t really like him as a potential boyfriend, but he was moderately fun and shoot, he was a warm body that I could invite to this thing. Best of all, he was game.
So imagine my great pleasure when on a return visit to Macy’s I found this wonder-dress of mine still there! It was on the clearance rack, yes. But that meant it was only $88! I could describe it in great length to you, but I’d rather just post this rather bershon picture of me wearing it the night of the prom:
Oooh la la! It’s hard to tell because the lighting is so dim, but it was a black velvet dress with a short skirt (and poofy stuff underneath to make it flounce out). It had a haltar neckline with silver beading. See, I matched the theme! I had my hair done that day at the beauty salon (the very same beauty salon that I would visit a little more than four years later on my wedding day to get my ‘do done) and it was one of those typical “updo with the curls on top and some tendrils hanging down” thing that was so popular then. Shoot, maybe it’s popular now. What do I know?
My date brought me a wrist corsage with black and silver ribbons on it and white roses with red edges. I thought it was pretty fabulous, actually. After my date arrived, I drove us over to my friend’s house in my parent’s maroon 1985 Mercury Marquis (for some reason, he didn’t drive). I remember getting a little weirded out when he started playing with my class ring while it was on my fingers WHILE I WAS DRIVING. But, you know, whatever. At my friend’s house, more of us gathered and her mom took more pictures of us all posed with our dates and whatnot. Her date had borrowed a Lexus for the evening and I rode over in the backseat with my date while my other dear friend I believe followed in her date’s truck (correct me if I’ve missed a detail here, Michelle).
And the prom? It was very fancy. The dinner was definitely top notch. I remember remarking that it wasn’t a salad they were serving us, but rather it was art on a plate. I was afraid to touch it. I couldn’t even tell you what the main course was, though. After dinner, the dancing started up. We girls decided to make a quick bathroom run before we got busy dancing and, I kid you not, my favorite song came on while I was in the bathroom. Even worse? The dates took great delight in informing us it had just played when we returned. (I’m a little ashamed to admit that the song in question here was Ace of Base’s “The Sign”.) Drat! Still, we had a good time dancing as that was our chief reason for being there. We stayed until the dj’s were packing up. It was a lot of fun.
So what do you do after midnight or so when you’re wearing formal wear, out on the streets and aren’t the slightest bit tired? You go to Denny’s! I remember standing around the potium, waiting to be seated and the hostess asking us if we had just come from our prom. My one friend’s date piped up, “No, we like to get dressed up and go out to Denny’s at 2am just for fun.” Smart ass. I’m not sure what I had to drink, but I do remember eating french fries. I remember my friend’s date smearing ketchup on my hand while I was reaching for a fry too, for no good reason. What the heck?
There were plans afterward for everyone to come back to my house and watch movies the rest of the night. My best friend, unfortunately, couldn’t come because her date was a turd. I should have kidnapped here there on the spot and brought her back to my house, regardless. I could have used her “on my side”. 🙂 My other friend was actually dating her prom date at the time and they had genuine interest in each other. So it was a little awkward seeing as how my date and I were not together. She sat on the couch with her date while I huddled up on my dad’s recliner, willing my date not to look my direction. It was rather obvious by night’s end that he was more interested in me than I was in him and I just had no idea what to do with that situation.
By morning, I was done. Just… done. My dad fixed breakfast for us all and then everyone went on their merry way. I think I had to drive my date home (that sounds about right). I remember getting back up to my room and pulling countless hairpins out of my hair. It was almost comical how many were shoved in there. It felt like I spent a good half hour pulling pins out. They were multiplying like rabbits in there. I can’t believe I left that hair up all night, to be perfectly honest. I probably had a raging headache. I think I crawled into bed and slept for like six hours. I was exhausted.
I survived my senior prom. I got to say that I went and I had a great time with my friends. Of course, I had to deal with the aftermath with my prom date in the following weeks, including the night he stopped by my house to profess his feelings and I completely blew him off to go watch television. You know, cuz I’m so classy that way.