If your child is in high school, s/he may be caught up in prom fever, which is likely to re-stimulate some of your memories. In any era, prom is a time of drama. The romantic dreams. The anticipation. The awkwardness. The fear of rejection. The actual rejection. The logistics. The clothes. The cost. The pressure to look cool, be cool and make prom a night to remember.
I've been thinking about my high school prom and what went wrong. If I knew then what I know now, what would I do differently?
A few weeks before junior high graduation, we had a ninth grade prom. A boy I liked asked me and we had a good time. End of story? Not exactly. Later, we talked about our future. He assumed we'd continuing dating in high school. I had other plans, so I told him: "I don't want to start high school with a boyfriend." He didn't take it well... at all.
A year later, my new (older) boyfriend invited me to his Junior Prom. I was thrilled until I learned we'd be double dating and the other girl was the sister of my ex-ninth grade boyfriend. (Are you getting this?) She and her parents knew me as a heartbreaker, still, they graciously invited me in for pre-prom photos. Right there, hunkered down in the living room, was my ex, glowering at me while I did my best to smile pretty for the camera. How do you spell E-X-C-R-U-C-I-A-T-I-N-G-L-Y A-W-K-W-A-R-D?
Since then, I've learned that people's feelings matter. If I knew then what I know now, I would have tried to minimize my ex's suffering. Spoken to his sister beforehand. Suggested we take pictures outside. Maybe passed on the photo session altogether.
What life lessons did you get from prom? I put out that question and crowd-sourced some profound replies:
- I thought I was too cool to go to prom. I felt alienated from my high school and really wanted to move on. I now regret how detached I was from my class.