Monday, May 04, 2009

My First Prom

Back in High School, I had two big things going against me on the dating scene. The first was that I was emotionally immature to the point that I had no interest in guys (or girls) at all. Oh, sure, I had the occasional crush, but never seriously, and never reciprocated. It bothered me a lot at the time, because I didn't understand why my friends were going ga-ga over guys and I wasn't. In retrospect, it probably was for the best. The second was a severe lack of money. If I was going to spend money, it wouldn't be on a dress. So, in High School, Prom was pretty much meaningless to me. I didn't want to go to yet another boring dance, and I certainly didn't want to pay for a dress. So I didn't.

Thus, when my husband asked if I wanted to go to the Prom of the High School he's teaching at, I was ... less than impressed. I almost said no, but then I decided it might be amusing. And so, on Saturday night, I found myself leaving Churchville to go to the even smaller town that holds hubby-Eric's High School. We got there a little early, and went in to make sure everything was set up. Total folks in the building: three photo team members, one DJ, one of Eric's fellow teachers, and three Juniors who were doing the set up for the Italian Soda stand. Eric immediately pitched in to help with the set up and such, and I wandered around trying to stay out of the way in my frumpy skirt and blouse.

Around 7:30 pm the couples started arriving for pictures. I was drafted to check their tickets. I was amused to see it start raining *just* as the couples started arriving. It's unusual enough for it to rain around here that rain on Prom night was a piece of cruel fate, particularly for the poor girls. You could tell which guys were gentlemen by whether or not they used their jackets to shield their dates. One guy (who arrived with three girls) actually had an umbrella.

The dresses were fantastic. It was clear that a lot of effort went into this promenade. Later on when patrolling the halls and bathroom I witnessed just how much this beauty cost some of the girls, as one girl showed that her side was already bruised from how tight the dress squeezed her, and another girl had an impressive blister on her foot from walking around in brand new high heels.

The couples came to get their pictures taken, then most of them immediately left. When I asked one of the Juniors about it, she said they were off to dinner. Because the Churchville area is a restaurant wasteland to a large extent, most of them were driving 30 to 40 miles away to the nearest "nice" restaurant for Prom dinner. Then they planned to return for the dance. Accordingly, the first two hours of the dance were dead.

The security guy and his wife arrived not long after I was drafted, and it turned out that the wife was the official ticket taker, so I let her take over and started patrolling the halls with hubby to make sure no students were hiding in a corner being bad. They weren't. The students were completely well behaved, almost disappointingly so.

The rain eased off as the night wore on, and the couples returned and danced. One of the Juniors and I counted the votes for the Prom King and Queen, and after the announcement a lot of the couples got ready to leave... but instead of rain the sprinklers had come on, blocking the way out of the building unless you were willing to get completely soaked. The boys were ready to dash for it, but the girls were wearing high heels and didn't want to for obvious reasons. The security officer took at least one couple to let out via the front door, which didn't have the sprinkler problem.

One fellow returning to the building after running an errand managed to completely avoid the sprinklers somehow, I'm still not sure how. Another couple decided to make a dash for it, and I watched as the boy led the way gingerly... too slow, one of the sprays caught up to them, and the girl made a sudden lurch into him and the two slalomed across the lawn to his car. I'm ashamed to say that I started laughing my head off, and in the next moment I laughed even harder as the sprinklers finally turned off.

The couples left and the security guy warned them as they left to be careful on the roads as his police scanner was picking up a LOT of activity. When the last of the students were gone, the DJ started to pack up. The photographers had left as soon as the Prom King and Queen were photographed. The DJ's assistant arrived to help him pack, and Eric and I started to do some preliminary clean up. The other teacher left Eric in charge and left, and Eric and I did a last check of the school to make sure nobody was hanging out then we went home, arriving home at 1 am.

Based on this experience, I don't think I would have enjoyed my own Prom at all. In fact, I would have hated it. Being on the outside made this one easier to endure, and I wouldn't mind helping out again sometime, as long as I remember to bring a book next time. But I'm glad I never was in for the dresses and make-up and high heels and such. It wasn't my scene. I hope the kids who came enjoyed it more than I did.