Thursday, April 12, 2012

MEMO TO MEN: A second chance at prom?

TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: Melissa
RE: The joys of a second prom
DATE: April 12, 2012
I'm taking applications for Prom 2.0, boys! The shiny, glitzy and, yes, puffy dresses have been prominently displayed in every store window from Albany to Anchorage - blue, red, pink and orange shimmery gowns of all shapes and sizes.

Yes, it's prom season. Can you feel - and smell - the love?

I can't. Maybe it's because I never went to my prom.

It wasn't because I couldn't find a dress small enough for my tiny body or because I had too many suitors vying for my love and affection.

The truth: I had no interest in going at the time. Zero. Zilch. I feared having to take those all-too-awkward, yet obligatory prom photos - you've seem 'em, where the girl with gelled-up hair grins from ear-to-ear as her date can't exactly figure out where to place his hand because, after all, her dad is standing sternly off to the side glaring at said poor helpless boy.

I dreaded making awkward small talk in the car as I nervously fiddled with my corsage because now, I was the one who couldn't figure out where to put her hands. But what I feared most was having to dance - yes, awkwardly again - to some Journey power ballad a la "16 Candles." And don't even get me going about the prom after-party at the bowling alley.
Let's face it: The prom extravaganza stood as a torturous web I didn't have the strength to navigate. But now, some 12 years later, I get a bit misty eyed when I think of what could have been. Where is my corsage? Where is my '80s power ballad?

As fate would have it, my cousin, Lindsay, came to my rescue a few years ago. For an entire month, she was in full-on prom mode. She found the perfect dress (a red bejeweled number). She shopped for shoes like Imelda Marcos. I'm sure she even circled April 26 in red pen, a color that matches the dress, of course, on every calendar within a 25-mile radius. The big day.

And the best part is that she was gracious enough to let me vicariously have my very own prom experience. I oohed and ahhed at the pictures she sent me of her dress, and for the first time, I felt like that giggly 17-year-old girl again. When she began telling the tale of all the amenities that come with the limo, well, I could scarcely contain myself.
So, with that in mind, boys, here's the deal: I'm surprised no one has ever had a "second" prom. A shameless shindig for those who want to reclaim their youth and their missed opportunities to sip punch and sway to the tunes. Although, now that all of us are a bit older, we may have to do a little tweaking of the classic prom paradigm. I picture something along the lines of a semi-lively bingo tournament complete with rows of sheet cake and glasses of apple juice. We'll laugh, sip, shout "BINGO" and be under our bed covers by 9 p.m. We have to think logical now, you know. We're not getting any younger. And please, no corsages allowed. Our allergies might flare up. xoxo

P.S. Don't forget to enter the Shopbop giveaway for your chance to win $100 shopping spree!

[Photos via We Heart It]


  1. what a fun idea! i can definitely think of some high school experiences i wish i could re-do or have a second chance at.
    i actually have great memories of my senior prom. i went with a very good friend of mine who asked me to prom with a bouquet of daffodils, and i literally danced all night long. it was a great way to end my senior year of high school. and i still have my dress! ;)

  2. I would love to go to a prom themed party! We could all wear ridiculous dresses and take photos against ugly backgrounds! It would sure beat my senior prom. I went with my high school bf, who had broken up with me a month earlier. I got to watch him flirt with another girl that night. Oh yes. Goooooood times.

  3. Hmmmmm---you say you weren't interested in attending the, were you like, ummm, invited and declined the invitation?? How does one communicate that they're "not interested" in attending you put a notice in the school newspaper...."Girl Not Interested..Please do not waste your time even thinking about inviting me!" I don't understand what you are trying to say. I cannot imagine someone's father "glaring" at her prom date. Proms are a very special part of the highschool experience that most parents are happy their children have had to experience. Socialization amongst the opposite sex at a chaperoned school function is for most a very positive activity. I think your deep-rooted fear of men is rearing it's ugly head again, Melissa!

  4. Funny! The pictures, the car ride, and the dancing were not awkward for me, and I wasn't that experienced at dating before I went to my first prom. It is a rite of passage, and I remember it as being exciting and fun. Not everyone participates, and that's okay.

    I probably wouldn't attend a second prom (apple juice and bingo are definitely NOT my thing-but you go girl). I've found that as an adult, I've either been able to experience fun events by seeking them out or just by what I do in my daily life. I've been able to dress up for formal dinners and events and attend with my hubby, attend weddings for friends and family members, go to concerts and nice dinners, and even throw a party or two. Of course, for those of us who get married (or if they legally can't get married, at least have a wedding) a wedding is a second chance at a prom-like experience. Don't you advise a school newspaper? Do they have a dance you could chaperone? You could bring a date or a friend and have fun. But, if all you really want is apple juice, bingo, and sheet cake, you TOTALLY should throw a party. It wouldn't cost that much and would be pretty easy to plan. If you have enough cash, get a limo for you and your besties. Get dressed up. Be careful who you invite, though. I think a lot of people don't plan to be in bed by 9:00 when they go to a party:-)

  5. My friends and I had a prom-themed party last February. It was dreary and awful in Chicago so we dressed up in our old prom dresses (I wore my mom's from the 70's) and took pictures, had snacks and danced in my friend's apartment. It was a hilarious.

    You should totally throw a prom party. Maybe even an outdoor party in the summer? I think people will think it's fun! Did you see the Prom episode from Sex in the City?

  6. I'm homeschooled... No prom. ;P

  7. First Anon -- I wasn't asked, but you don't have to be asked to go to prom. A lot of people in my class went with friends. :)

  8. Shannon -- NO! I didn't see that episode of SATC. But your second prom sounds fun!! :)

  9. Lots of people do exactly what you suggest, at nursing homes.
    I've helped with several.

  10. I absolutely LOVE this. Thinking about my prom brings on this wave of nostalgia, but I wasn't particularly happy during any of it–just unsure and overdressed and anxious to go home, or someplace quiet. So Bingo in my best dress sounds pretty heavenly.

  11. I did enjoy this piece.

    I didn't grow up or go to school in the US so a prom wasn't part of our high school experience. My only experience of proms has been through movies.

    If you were to believe the movies, this is how all proms go;
    * Everyone wears expensive designer 'princess' gowns.
    * All American teenagers lose their virginity at the prom.
    * Everyone realises that the girl they'd previously bullied & called ugly is actually very beautiful.
    * The girl regarded as the most beautiful girl in the school is revealed as a bullying, self regarding bitch.
    * The prom is a magical, life changing experience.

    So is this true? Are the movies correct?

    By the way, what's with the bitchy anonymous comments? Get out and live your lives instead of writing venomous things about people you don't know.

  12. My prom was an exercise in denial. As a theater nerd who had yet to figure out/develop enough to work a 5'11, 118 pound bod, I looked like an actual praying mantis with braces on the arm of my heavily-closeted boyfriend who had encouraged me to buy a moulin rouge-themed dress. I cringe.

  13. Yesterday I was looking at photos from prom, kind of sad that I lost touch with just about everyone from back then aside from FB and occasional run ins around town.

    Kind of a funny story...I found out I was accepted into college the same day my (then) boyfriend officially asked me to prom. My mother was more excited about the prom then college.

  14. That actually is a good idea for a party! You could make it kind of a dress contest - like encourage your guests to buy an old bridesmaid gown at a Salvation Army or thrift store - the goofier the better!

  15. I didn't go to my high school prom either.
    While I swore up and down I wasn't interested, the truth was that no one asked me or brought it up to me (I went to a school where those cute prom-posals are common)
    I'd been the ugly ducking for so long, no one bothered to ask me so I stayed home, thinking it was better to be in denial than feel lonely (since my friends had all graduated already)
    My boyfriend actually tried to recreate my prom experience in college at our winter Masquerade Ball but if I had the chance, I don't know it I would have gone. When I think high school, I think of a time where I felt so insecure and so miserable. College is definitely the experience I love the most!

  16. I suddenly remembered the time of our prom. I was with my first boyfriend then. :)

    college dating

  17. Oh, Melissa, you got me reminiscing with your post. Instead of hoping for a time turner and regretting the things that I wasn’t able to do during my prom, I am now dreaming of dress shopping, limo riding, date gushing, and dancing all night long again. We all deserve this second chance. =)

    Earnestine Novick

  18. Hey Melissa, i really enjoyed your story... good work.

    John Frisk


Your lovely comments make my day so much sweeter! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!


Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin