Having seen Pretty in Pink easily 100 times since I was ten years old, I looked forward to my prom. However, when it actually rolled around some nine years later after the release of my favorite Molly Ringwald movie, I had lost interest in the entire concept – it didn’t help that the Beastie Boys were playing the same night and I felt that might be a wee bit more important. My sister reminded me (since we both had pretty much the entire Pretty in Pink dialogue memorized) that, in the words of Annie Potts’ character, Iona: “I have this girlfriend who didn’t go to her prom, and every once in a while she gets this really terrible feeling – you know, like something is missing. She checks her purse, and then she checks her keys. She counts her kids, she goes crazy, and then she realizes that nothing is missing. She decided it was side effects from skipping the prom.”
So with that in mind, I decided to suck it up and go. Also, my high school boyfriend’s mom was insistent that we attend. Honestly, I think she was just happy that someone of the opposite sex had taken an interest in her son and validation of his desirability would come in the form of posing for photos on the front lawn.
I was into silver that year. Only a dress made of platinum silk that fell like liquid against my body – with a sweetheart neckline and spaghetti straps – would do. Similar to the beloved heroine of that John Hughes film, I, too, designed my own dress (but the actual sewing was left to my mother). I had a vision: I was not to look like anyone else; I would rock my floor-length sliver gown, with fresh daisies in my pinned up blond curly hair, and on my feet, as a nod to Courtney Love, I would wear black patent leather t-straps with white ruffled socks. Yes, the highlight of the whole event would be my attire.
My high school boyfriend rented a limousine even though I had begged him not to. I had asked him for a daisy corsage as they were, and still are, my favorite flower. Unfortunately, that was a fact he never seemed to get through his stoner, Phish-obsessed head, so he presented me with a pink rose one. In my mind, it wasn’t much better than a carnation that has been altered with food dye. I sulked. If I had to miss the Beastie Boys, I should at least get the fucking corsage I wanted.
Our prom’s theme was “Wonderful Tonight,” as in the Eric Clapton song. That decision was made by the prom committee, a group of kids who had put so much stake in the evening that I’m pretty sure that night was not only the highlight of their year, but also of their lives. The music sucked (they didn’t play Nirvana), the food was disgusting (undercooked chicken cordon bleu with a bacon center instead of the traditional ham or prosciutto), and some sort of punch that resulted in stained red teeth. If one is going to consume Kool-Aid past the age of nine, it should at least be 90% vodka. There were no balloons, no “richies” to harass our heroine of the night (me), and no Duckie or Blaine fighting for my affection… nothing. It sucked.
At the end of the evening, we all got wine glasses that had the theme’s title scrawled across them in cheap gold embossed paint in a silly script type font that you usually find on the free shampoo at a hotel. A glass that I purposely dropped on the parking lot on the way back to the ridiculous limousine.
Since I was a virgin, I thought, “why not become a statistic and lose it on prom night?” Our original plans were to go to the beach afterward. Admittedly, I had heard that fucking in the sand leads to sand in places where sand should never go. However, being an ocean lover, I still thought it was a great idea. But no. The other couple – a dorky redhead with those clear (read: actually stained yellow) braces and his date, who was supposed to be from another school, although I’m quite certain she was his cousin had to be home by 1am. My boyfriend, who was friends with the dorky redhead and unable to make decisions without running it by all his friends, or even voice what he wanted to do, agreed that “yes, Denny’s would be the perfect after party.” So I sat there, in my dress that I sill have to this day, slowly wilting daisies in my hair, dipping cold mozzarella sticks in cheap Alfredo sauce, because they had run out of marinara. There was no beach, there was no loss of virginity, there weren’t even a few swigs of whiskey out of a flask to at least spice up the evening.
I would never say it was the worst night of my life, but it definitely is one that I could have done without. And more importantly a lesson was learned that evening; when given two options, and one of them is seeing the Beastie Boys live, go with that one. All others come secondary to a trio of cute white rappers from Brooklyn. Oh, and life isn’t a John Hughes film, but that’s something I’ve still yet to get through my head.
If you have an interest in sharing your own prom memories – in 600-800 words – reach out to Jennifer [at] thegloss.com or Ashley [at] thegloss.com