APRIL 5, 1996 was supposed to be a very special night. It was the date of my Junior/Senior Prom. I had imagined this night would be perfect because my girlfriend and I were the Prom King and Queen. It will always be a night I will never forget; but I will never forget it for all the wrong reasons.
The prom is supposed to be a time that you share with all your friends. It's a time for getting dressed up in tuxedos and fancy dresses and having fun - this is what I expected.
My classmates and I didn't know about all the stress involved. We didn't know how hard it would be to pick out a tuxedo or how hard it would be to do hair. Still, after you get through all the pre-prom commotion, your night should turn out to be fun and worthwhile ... right?
You always hear girls say that guys have it so easy during prom season. All they have to do is pick out a tux and they're off. But this is not the case. Men may not have to worry about where to get our hair done or pantyhose runs, but our concern is how in the world we will get enough money to pay for everything.
Traditionally, the one who invites the date pays for everything. For me, that meant paying for flowers, the limo, bids, pictures and my tuxedo. Luckily, I had been saving for a few months and just barely squeaked by.
The cost of prom bids was $80 per couple. The bulk of that pays for food. My girlfriend ate one piece of pineapple and one piece of melon. I don't want to put my girlfriend down or anything, but I could have gone to Star Market and gotten an apple for 89 cents.
The limo ride went off without a hitch, but as soon as we got to the hotel, things started to go wrong. The first thing that went wrong was the weather.
I will always remember how hot that day was. The temperature was record-breaking for April, and it's not as if tuxedos are made with coolness in mind. First you have a heavy coat just snug enough to keep you from moving your arms. You have a long-sleeved white shirt with a neck just small enough to keep you from breathing freely. Throw in a pair of pants of synthetic material, add humidity and you've got your own portable oven. I felt like I just got through running a marathon and my pictures will probably prove my point.
PROM is also supposed to be your night of freedom, away from your parents and their eagle eyes. So why was I not surprised to turn around and see my mom and dad sitting at a table. If things weren't already bad, guess who walked in right behind them? My two sisters. Lucky for me that both of my parents teach at my school. I guess if I really wanted to have a romantic night away from the family, I could have stayed home and let them go to the prom.
Next came the court dance. This was my first time doing this sort of thing but I wasn't worried. Who would be? I only had to get up and dance in front of 300 people when I just learned most of the dance that morning. My every move would only be seen by the entire room and every facial expression frozen in time by a few hundred pictures.
There was only one thing, though, that could have made the night a complete disaster: domestics with my girlfriend. So of course it happened. We always end up fighting over the stupidest things. We didn't talk for half the night and didn't even dance one dance besides the court dance. I couldn't find her to talk, so I went outside to the lobby. Sitting by myself was very exciting.
Don't get me wrong, proms can be fun. It's just that sometimes things don't go the way we imagine and it can be disappointing. I know I will always remember this prom, probably for different reasons than anyone else.
Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature allowing teens and young adults to serve up fresh perspective. What's your take on prom season? Guys and girls speak up by fax at 523-8509; by answering machine at 525-8666; snail mail at P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, HI 96802; or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.