My name is Marijean and I’m a promaholic.
In my pre-prom years, those being between the ages of zero and 15, I dreamed of going to the prom. This, in part, I’m sure because I watched as my older sisters primped and dashed off with ruffly-shirted boys beginning when I was three or four years old. I remember, at the age of four or five sliding to the door in socks to greet the tuxedoed date of my eldest sister for her senior prom. I asked him, as only a little sister can, “Are you going to marry her?” Little did I know, as I learned years later, he’d actually asked. D’oh! (She said no.)
The prom trend in the house of my youth would have gone on until I was eight. Then there were my sisters’ weddings, Cinderella affairs that had me dreaming of satin and chiffon.
So I spent my pre-teen and early-teen years poring over Young Miss and Seventeen, eager to choose the perfect gown, sport the most bouffant updo and the dyed-to-match satin pumps normally reserved for bridesmaids.
I went to five proms. FIVE.
As I explained to the boy, aghast at this news (it’s hard to learn your mother had a life before you were born), three boys, five proms, three dresses (I’m getting to that).
Prom #1: Pink chiffon gown, floor length, ruffles down the back and a giant bow across my derriere. Oh yes, and puffy sleeves, what else? Hair poofed and in a banana clip with, (oh, the horror) a giant pink bow in my hair. What? It was 1987. I went to a private girls’ school, partnered with a private boys’ school for prom. The way to get the most prom-milage out of the season was this: date a public school boy. He came to my prom and I . . .
Prom #2: . . . went to his prom at the public school where I wore (get this) his MOTHER’S prom dress, circa 1965. It was pink (my color of choice during this ultra girly phase) and very Jackie Kennedy-esque.
Prom #3: My senior year in high school left me stranded sans boyfriend as he was off gallivanting at the University of Virginia. A close friend and another public school boy was also sans date, so, even though he was short(er) I couldn’t resist the call of the prom, so went to his, reprising the poofy dress at the public school (different crowd entirely).
Prom #4: My college boyfriend returned from college in the nick of time to escort me to my own school’s senior prom. I wore a gown made for me by a seamstress with a pattern for a wedding gown I had made in black satin. It was gorgeous. Because Seventeen magazine told me to, I tipped my long black lashes with blue mascara. I thought it was my final prom-enade.
Prom #5: I was past my prom prime, at the end of my freshman year of college, I realized only too late as I bailed out a friend whose girlfriend dumped him just weeks before my new boyfriend ‘s (now my husband) alma mater’s high school prom. Confusing? Fortunately there was no emotion and it was just a goofy good time, with a bunch of us escaping to a carnival to ride the carousel in our finery. I can’t honestly remember which frock I donned for this foolish evening. I only remember running into my soon-to-be husband’s younger brother and suddenly realizing, “Oh lordy, I do not belong here.” I escaped the weekend unscathed and swore off proms for life.
Now, I’d say I’m a recovered promaholic, if only that were true. I’ve purposely arranged dinners out and trips to the mall (or the downtown mall, depending on my geography) to see the high school kids strolling about on prom night. I love gazing at the dresses on the racks this time of year, seeing the fashions change from year to year and being aghast at some of the horrors (last year; no lie; girl in a white strapless with obvious blue underwear and a non-strapless bra. Yikes.)
And of course, I can live vicariously through the boy, whose prom approaches. Last year I grew misty-eyed as he tried on tuxes at the local rental shop. And in four to five years, I get to do it again with the girl (assuming her father will ever let her date). I hope to be around to help my grandkids choose corsages and formals, assuming that the tradition of prom won’t go the way of mall bangs and blue mascara.
I promise though, I won’t attend another prom unless my senior center holds one when I’m very, very old, dancing the night away with the help of my walker.
Did you go to prom? How many? I’m I the biggest prom loser with FIVE under my belt? And please, confess what you wore; I’m dying to know!