“I don’t like to do what people expect.Why should I live up to other people’s expectations instead of my own?”
-Kat Stratford; 10 Things I Hate About You
Prom, a right of passage.
…or so I was told.
Honestly, I was never really into it. In fact, I would have skipped it all together if given the choice.
There are several reasons:
- I was a bit of a Kat Stratford (from 10 Things I Hate About You) in High School. Not in the jerky way but in the reluctance to join in to status quo events. Kat’s philosophy, “I don’t like to do what people expect.Why should I live up to other people’s expectations instead of my own?” That was me in a nutshell.
- I’m a severe introvert and not a fan of large crowds.
- You have to get dressed up in uncomfortable clothing and stay in it for HOURS.
- It’s expensive no matter how you slice it and my parents could have used that money for more important things.
My first prom experience was my Sophomore year.
Prom is really set up to be a Junior and Senior event. I don’t know about this area but most high school girls where I’m from almost make it a goal to get invited before Junior year. It was about a month out and prom and the plans surrounding it was the topic of every conversation.
It seemed that about half my Sophomore class was going, my boyfriend included. He had been asked by a Junior well before we started seeing each other. He asked if I wanted him to tell her no. I honestly didn’t mind if he went, I was pretty sure it wasn’t a platonic ask on her part I didn’t think he fancied her.
A few weeks out from prom, I got asked. A German foreign exchange student on my tennis team asked me. He was very confused when I declined, he thought I’d say yes because my boyfriend was going with someone else. When I tried to explain I didn’t mind that and just didn’t have the desire to go, he got a little upset.
One week from prom one of the Junior classes faculty advisors, who helped plan and supervise prom, came to me with a request. Would I man a refreshment table? I explained once again that I just wasn’t interested in attending.
The faculty member looked quite distressed when I said no. While I don’t have a hard time saying no to things I don’t want to do, I do have a hard time saying no to someone when they need help. I could tell from their reaction they were having a hard time filling the need. I amended my firm no to a, “if you can’t find anyone to fill it by the night before I’ll help.”
Wouldn’t you know, they couldn’t find anyone. I already had a dress that my mother had purchased as an alternative when I participated in Miss Merry Christmas. My mother did my hair and make up and I borrowed some of her jewelry. Off to the prom I went to dole out mini-quiches, not even enough time to give a heads up to my boyfriend.
It was just about what I imagined, a lot of pomp and circumstance and boring as all get out (at least for me). My boyfriend came up to me as soon as he saw me. I noticed his date, who I was on very friendly terms with as we had a couple classes together, went in the opposite direction when he headed my way.
About midway through the night he came over to ask me to dance. This time I saw it, supreme annoyance and even a little anger as she shoved back in her chair and made a fast path for the bathroom. I don’t know what her plan was for the night, but I had obviously intruded on it.
The evening ended and I went home and fell into bed exhausted ready to forget the night. I was not very impressed with this right of passage and felt like I should have stuck to my guns and not gone. If I decided to go next year I’d do something to make it an event that I’d enjoy.
I’m glad I didn’t let that first experience sway me. I had so much more fun at my Junior prom. I learned the secret to finding joy and happiness even when it’s not what you’d choose to do. Surround yourself with the right people.
The summer before my junior year I met one of my best friends ever. When prom rolled around I asked him to accompany me. That made it a night to remember. (Especially after he convinced half my school, who didn’t know him from Adam, to start a mosh-pit to the song “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness.)
That was a lesson I need to learn in High School so I could carry it with me into the future. The people you choose to share life’s moments with should leave you with memories you want to remember, not ones you could care less if you forget.