A Long Time Ago I Was Promtastic. How About You?
I went to three high school formals. They were fun and full of fancy dresses, limos, drinks and music and some parts that I don't remember too well.
But they weren't proms. Proms were for suburban American teenagers and Molly Ringwald. Proms had homecoming queens and strange rules and more hype. Formals were cool dance parties. (Not that we didn't spend hours, even days, on planning the outfits, the parties and the dates.)
I do remember that feeling of entitlement - like being all dressed up meant that we owned the city. We could hang out of the limo windows, lounge around in diners and keep our parents up all hours.
Some things change and some things stay the same. In the '80s and '90s, any fancy dress party were about big dresses and even bigger hair - kind of the opposite of what they are about now: teeny, tiny dresses and smooth hair.
Click to see my high school formal portrait:
This photo is from 1986, it is my then-boyfriend and now-husband (yes, high-school sweethearts, now move on) at his Grade 13 (yes, there was grade 13 back then) Formal, I am 16 and in Grade 11.This cool dude wasn't just my boyfriend he was also the social convener which means he organized the '86 Formal. One of the local newspapers took our photo for a story on the high school events. This picture is still on display at both our parents' houses.
Check out my coy 16-year-old stare, my non-ironic gloves, and fabulous necklace wrapped around four times as a bracelet. You probably can't see my three graduating shades of gold eye shadow - but I remember painstakingly applying them.
Isn't the dress beautiful? I still have it hanging in my closet. My daughter won't wear it though, it's not trashy enough - by the time she graduates from high school, girls will be wearing sparkly band-aids and calling it a dress. Or maybe the pendulum will swing the other way and the girls will be wearing petticoats. A mom can dream.
Want to check out proms/formals through the ages? One of my procrastination techniques is to head on over to Promtacular.com, a hilarious site where people post old prom photos. I just love that people aren't afraid to show off how ridiculous they were. I hope that when this year's crop of prom-goers get older they too will see the hilarity in their hours of primping. Because there is nothing like a great earnest high school portrait to show you how young and innocent you really were - even if you thought you owned the world for one night.
And speaking of proms if anyone you know is finished with their dress, The Corsage Project takes donated dresses and has a big party where girls who can't afford to buy new trashy, sparkly bandages masquerading as dresses can feel beauitul too.
Do you remember your proms/formals? What did you wear? Have you checked out the photos recently?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote about my son's long, surfer hair and why we don't force him to cut it.