Prom noun /präm/
a formal dance, especially one held by a class in high school or college at the end of a year
- arguably the worst or best night of a high school student
I’ll admit it: I’ve always dreamt of going to prom ever since I heard what prom was and saw it go down on the big screen (High School Musical 3, of course). Fancy dresses. Champagne. Black and white tuxedos. Perfect couples. Limos. Twinkle lights. High heels. French manicures. Elegant hairstyles. Corsages and boutonnieres. Professional photos. This version of prom embedded into my head at a very young age, setting an unrealistic expectation I quickly realized. To be honest, after going to an all-girls school for high school, my dream of going to any type of prom began to vanish. Yes, I could go with my friends and take Nicki as my date. However, the idea of having a boy accompany me to ‘the prom’ felt more authentic.
My luck turned around this year. In August, I began hanging out with a boy who I had met in first grade: Jacob Smith. I remember him running around the soccer field with me, and I always referred to him as my friend Celia’s little brother. We only went to school together for two years before going to different elementary schools. Flash forward nine years and Jacob and I are working at the same soccer camp in Arlington and the same inn in Southern Vermont. This past summer we rekindled our elementary friendship which has grown into very special friendship. A friendship that landed us at two proms this spring.
Going to my high school prom is something I am glad I did not miss out on. Nicki also had a date for prom (her boyfriend Noah who she met at Syracuse earlier this school year). The four of us enjoyed getting ready in Noah’s hotel room before sipping on Shirley temples, watching the Final Four game (Syracuse vs. UNC), taking photos in the photo booth, and slow dancing on the dance floor at the Country Club of Troy. It was great being surrounded by our school friends and teacher chaperones. It felt safe. Familiar. Comfortable.
Jacob and I debated whether or not we would go to his high school’s prom. Ultimately, we decided that we might as well go and make a night of it. Plus, we knew that his mom wanted us to go. I ended up getting ready with Avery and Riley (girls Jacob and I both know but girls I do not know entirely well) after getting my hair done by a friend from high school and elementary school who lives in Vermont. She saved me a $50, and my up-do looked great! It was quite refreshing talking to and hanging out with people who I don’t see or talk to every day. They are both very friendly, and it’s always good to make more friends closer to home. We got all dolled up before meeting our dates and taking pictures at Avery’s house. Me, Jacob, Avery, Alex, Riley, Darren, and Bailey (Bailey was all of our dates for the night). We took three cars down to the Mount Anthony Country Club to enjoy a night of decent food, pretty couples, and pop music. We had to do a march before prom began which caused the most amount of anxiety for me. We circled the small area twice for family members and friends to look at us and take too many pictures. My mom and dad came, and it was really nice seeing them in the sea of strangers. So there Jacob and I were: walking arm in arm with the thirty or something other couples during the march.
We enjoyed our dinner that exceeded my expectations and danced to a few songs. Jacob and I aren’t big dancers, but we still tore it up on the dance floor. I really enjoyed slow dancing to one of my favorite country songs of all time: “I Don’t Dance” by Lee Brice. Slow dances take me back to my awkward middle school dances, but that’s what makes them feel unique. We ended up leaving around 9 PM to get some Ben and Jerry’s at Price Chopper for a post-prom snack. It was fun running around the grocery store in a prom attire; we definitely got some interesting looks. I’m so glad we didn’t end up camping because it poured. As an alternative, my mom came up with the genius idea of staying at these cute cottages on Route 7A in Shaftesbury. I’ve passed them at least one hundred times before but never had the chance to stay at them. This was the perfect opportunity to! Avery (a legal adult) called several hours before prom, and they reserved a five-person cottage for us (two double beds and one single bed). It was perfect. We watched “Friends”, ate ice cream, laughed a lot, and stayed up very late. It was the best after prom celebration we could’ve asked for. We also ended up doing a late night drive past midnight. That drive reminded me of our youth, spontaneity, freedom and the nearing of summer. It’s a pretty damn good feeling. Jacob and I woke up at 7:30 and left because I had to work at 10 and get home so my dad could have the car. It was not a good night for getting a good sleep, but it was completely worth it.
I didn’t need a crazy party afterwards, a $400 dress, or a limousine escort to have fun at prom. All I needed was a wonderful date (did I mention handsome?), good company, and a positive attitude: the recipe to my successful prom experiences. I’m so glad I will be able to tell my kids that I went to a high school prom when I was a teenager. And my prom nights were nights to remember (in the best way possible).