• Tue, Apr 12 2011

I Remember Prom: On Diet Pills

After successfully making the transition from boyfriend/girlfriend to “friends”-with-benefits, my ex asked me to be his date to his high school prom. He was driving me home in his Mazda 626, probably on the heels of an awkward hook up session. Since prom fell on the same day as my ex’s birthday, I was pretty sure me being his date “meant something.” At the time, it was the second best thing to him asking me if I wanted to get back together; so I was pretty fucking enthused.

For my friends and I, prom was hardly about prom. It was more about prom weekend in Wildwood, NJ. I’d waited my entire high school career for this trip, and planning it trumped planning for prom. There were mix CDs to be burned, tanning beds to be laid in, and disposable cameras to be purchased. When prom day arrived, I found myself flustered and ill-prepared to deal with life. In order to squeeze everything in, I took a Stacker 2 pill. Or three.

My best friends both worked in a hair salon, so I went there and got gussied up for free. Someone drove me home, where I frantically got dressed. I was on the mother of all caffeine highs. When my date showed up, my mom took anywhere between 15-30 photos of my ex and I. I don’t recall seeing any of the photos; they may have never been developed.

We showed up at my ex’s friend’s place to take the requisite pre-prom photos. Following that, we embarked on a non-descript limo ride. When we arrived, my date worked the room, greeting his teachers and friends, while I kept my eyes peeled for the four people I knew that were attending his prom– one of which was my best friend. Her limo driver got lost on the way, so the cocktail hour consisted of me chattering my teeth and wishing for hunger to wash over me. Never happened. The Stackers had ruined any semblance of my appearing to be a normal person – but at least I looked skinny!

When dinner was served, I kind of pushed my meal around on the plate and hoped no one would accuse me of having “food issues.” Truth is, I couldn’t bring myself to eat. I became fairly certain that I wasn’t going to sleep that night, or ever again. I was too strung out to dance and fairly desperate to get the hell out of there.

After prom, all of our friends met at my date’s house for his birthday after party. By this time, I was mellowed out. I changed into regular clothes, but kept the prom hair (half up-do) and the lavender makeup that matched my dress. It was hot. We drank fizzy, flavored alcohol until 5 AM or so; when three of us decided that we were going to beat traffic and drive up to Wildwood.

As the only person in my group of friends who abstained from getting a driver’s license, I took the liberty of passing out in the backseat as my friends took turns driving. We arrived at 8:30 AM. We’d allowed our two friends to crash in our hotel room the night before, so we were greeted with what closely resembled the apocalypse – empty handles of rum, phantom puke for which no one would take the blame, and a shattered coffee pot that had impaled the entire surface area of the carpet.

We were slightly (mega) pissed, but we were finally on vacation! Away from our parents! We sucked it up and tried to make our trip memorable. And it was – for all the wrong reasons. Perhaps it was my cell phone getting stolen by someone I was friends with (he returned it at school a week later); perhaps it was getting kicked out of our hotel room at 3 AM because my friend, the phantom puker, had started a shaving cream fight that ended with him spraying the entire contents of a fire extinguisher into our room; who can say? It was an unforgettable weekend – one that prevented me from attending my own prom a year later. How much prom can a girl take?

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