Suburban Snapshots

How Nerds Do The Prom

Thursday, June 05, 2014

High school wasn't awesome. I didn't love parking lot parties or underage drinking, I really didn't believe that my peers were having sex despite very PDA pre-class make-out sessions, and figured you could tell who smoked pot by their mullets and army jackets. My group of friends was small and, as I'd learn later in life, mostly gay.

Before the invites ever went out for my own prom, I'd watched my two sisters attend roughly 700 proms apiece across ten school districts on the arms of upperclassmen. It was exhausting to observe, and there was so much hairspray. Though I wasn't expecting to be asked to the prom, I still wanted to go. In a stroke of teenage brilliance, I used all the money I'd been saving for a trip to London to pull it off.

Come prom time, my friends and I had no interest in (or any idea how to begin) drinking but we did manage to create substantial high-school drama by a mid-plan group shuffle that started a grudge so powerful it led to the most momentous valedictorian speech in our high school's history. (This is the one portion of my entire long, boring graduation ceremony that no one in my family bothered to record.)


We went to the glittery, mirrored venue where we sat at a long table under a huge crystal chandelier. The music was bad, maybe we ate a little. We watched savvier kids leave early, off to more exciting, boozy plans. When it was over, we had our limo driver bring us from eastern Long Island to Central Park and back until we made our way home to the suburbs at sunrise. No one got drunk, arrested or pregnant. We were a parent's dream.

Our night was tame. I think the worst that happened was when the limo driver overheard me refer to him as cranky at some Long Island diner at 7:00am. I think even he was expecting something more exciting from the evening.

Want some tips for keeping your teen's prom night super chaste, safe, and sober? You're in luck!

1. Be sure your teenager has a huge crush on a guy who will be coming out any day now.
2. When the gay crush somehow ends up going to the prom with your teen's BFF, have the BFF set her up instead with a random cousin.
3. Be sure your teen and her BFF's random cousin have almost nothing in common.
4. See that BFF's random cousin has a really cute brother. This adds a layer of resentment to the evening.
5. Set up the most uncomfortable front-lawn photo of your daughter and the date she just met that minute.
6. Have your teenage daughter wear what amounts to a cumbersome bridal gown on what has the potential to be the most scandalous night of her high school career.
7. Ask whether anyone in your child's prom group has seen genitalia aside from their own or during that one really awkward health class.
8. Hire a limo driver a the last minute who is clearly Not In The Mood For This Shit. His glare alone will keep passengers out of the mini bar.
9. Suggest they go to romantic spots like Central Park and the beach at sunrise. This will reinforce the fact that your teen and her date have zero chemistry.
10. Make sure one guy in the limo looks just like Morrissey to dampen any party mood.


The good news is I really did have fun. We took a then-unadvisable trip through Central Park in the dark morning hours and stayed up until sunrise for what may have been one of only four times in my life. The next year I went to the prom with my hot gay crush, sans crush, in the same dress, but with purple hair to match his tie. And for the second straight year, I didn't come home pregnant.

This post is written for NickMom in conjunction with their paid sponsorship of the BlogU blog conference.  I take full responsibility for my string of crushes on gay men. In my defense, none of them were officially out at the time.

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