Prom Sucks… But It Doesn’t Have To

Spring is in the air, which means that prom and graduation is on the minds of most high school dwellers. And while there will definitely be many posts dedicated to graduation in the upcoming months (because guess who’s graduating from college come May!), today’s post I want to dedicate to prom. It’s not the spectacular night you’re hoping it to be.

And I say this because I’ve been there.

I had a particularly horrid experience, the one every girl dreads. I was essentially stood up. And by essentially, I mean most definitely. Luckily, one of my girl friends had a single guy friend who was looking for someone to pal around with, so I did end up going to prom, but it was a miserable day and a miserable night and not one I care to ever relive.

But even if everything goes perfectly for you at your prom and your date shows and your dress is beautiful and no one spills Diet Coke down the front of it (yes, that also happened that night), it will still most likely fail to live up to your highest expectations.

Why? Because there is far too much emphasis placed on prom!

It is only one night. And, trust me, you’ll laugh five years down the road at the ridiculousness of it all. So, here are a few highlights of things that I wish I knew back then. If you remember even just one of these, then you’re destined to have a far better night than I had. And you should have a good night, no matter your circumstances. Popular, not popular, dating someone, single and oh-so ready to mingle… it’s just a dance. So dance.

Girls: You do not need to post your prom dress on your class’ Facebook page.

This is such a stupid, catty concept, and as I type it, I wonder if this is just a Long Island thing, but ladies. You DO NOT need to post your dress on the class Facebook page that was no doubt started by one of the “popular” girls who’s afraid you’ll show up looking better in Bebe than she does. Shopping for a prom dress should be a really fun, stress-free experience. Look around. Find the dress that suits you. Don’t worry about how much it costs or doesn’t cost or if another girl has already “claimed” it on Facebook. If you like it, then buy it and wear it. Beauty is confidence. So, really, a smile is all you need to look fabulous that night anyway.

Guys: Don’t be afraid to ask someone. It’s just a dance, and there are so many girls absolutely dying to be asked to prom, even if they claim they don’t want to go.

Obviously guys aren’t the only ones who can do the asking, but I don’t want all my male readers to think I’m totally neglecting you guys in this post. Because I’m not. I just better understand the struggles a girl has, because I personally went through most of them. But, watching my brother go through the whole process last year opened my eyes to the struggles guys face, as well. There is so much pressure nowadays in how you ask your date and where you ask your date and (in some cases) the presents you give your date to get her to say yes. Young men, take this advice from me if nothing else. I would much rather a simple, genuine gesture than a grandiose one that you can brag to all your friends about. Because you should be bragging to your friends about me, not how you got me to say yes. You don’t need to paint a girl a huge sign and have it hang in the commons for the whole school to see (an unfortunate common practice in my school). You just need to ask and sound sincere. Good guys really do finish first, believe it or not. And refining your sweet, kind-hearted nature now will only help you later in life.

You do not need to go to prom in a limo. But if you decide you want to, you can always change your mind.

There are going to be those types who start planning their prom nights back in January. You’re looking at a girl who swore she wasn’t even attending prom until three weeks beforehand. I got there. It’s just transportation. But air conditioning does help.

Don’t worry about how you look on the dance floor.

My stand-in was a little too shy to bust a move, so I stupidly spent a lot of the night sulking to the side of the dance floor. Bad move. Dance! The only way to get through prom is to dance to the rhythm of whatever insane DJ the school hired in an attempt to appear hip and know that you’ll have better days ahead of you. If anything, use the night to practice getting your groove on in your fancy high heel dancing shoes or breaking a sweat in your tux without looking like you’re breaking a sweat (it’s a fine art).

You don’t have to plan a big, expensive after prom.

Looking back in five years time, you’ll learn to appreciate the small, laid-back gatherings. Sometimes just hanging, talking and laughing with your closest friends is all you need. I wish I had that the night of my prom. It would have been far more memorable and fulfilling. You’re all graduating soon, and, whether you want to admit it or not, probably venturing down different paths. Appreciate the time you all still have together, and cherish it. And certainly do not let anyone peer pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to do (read: alcohol). I still remember my prom night, and, for better or worse, I think that’s a better way to do it than the people who can’t even remember where they were on prom night.

Have fun!

I can’t stress this enough. It’s just a dance, and you’re still coming into your own, and you’re only human. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself and do not worry about what other people are doing or what they’re thinking about you. It is the people who are beautiful on the inside who are most beautiful on the outside. So, as the stress of planning prom starts to kick in, remember to relax, take a deep breath, enjoy the positives and don’t harp on the negatives. High school is almost over, and it only gets better from here on out.

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