Monday, April 14, 2008

Prom Night

by Tawny Weber

Yesterday was my nephew's prom and as I took pictures of him and his date all dressed up it made me misty-eyed and sentimental. There's nothing like a formal dance to make a girl giddy (somehow I doubt the boys get giddy, but you never know). The planning, the pomp, the corsage. Extravagant dinner and a limo, all that jazz. It's the ultimate fancy date - and often the first serious date on the road to romance.

Can you tell I loved prom. From my first day of high school, I'd looked forward to prom. It was the ultimate romance, the fairytale evening of mythic proportions in my romantic young mind. And once I was old enough to attend, like that build up in any good romance novel, there was the initial thrill and excitement of hoping, then getting asked. Then there's the planning. Oh yeah, I was a planner even back in high school! I'm a sucker for playing dress up and spent weeks finding just the right dress, awesome shoes, putting together the perfect look.

To add that requisite layer of conflict to the promtime romance, though, there was one little hitch. I hated dancing. To me, prom was all about the dressing up, the fancy dinner and limo ride, the feeling like a star. I liked hanging out with friends at the venue, socializing and having a good time. But I seriously loathed dancing. Not so good when the guy I was with was all about boogying. The dark moment came when I realized that it probably wasn't a smart thing to tell my date to quit bugging me and go find someone else to dance with. Thankfully I was with friends, so I still had a ride home.

A year later, I was older and wiser. Which meant my senior ball was definitely better. A little less enamoured with the prom myth, I went with a guy who only liked to slow dance and we were in a large group who left as soon as possible for a bonfire on the beach followed up with the next day spent at an amusement park. Aha... I'd gotten a handle on this prom romance thing! The build-up (the fancy dress and planning) was still there, but instead of going for the fairytale stereotype of the evening, I planned an event that I knew I'd enjoy. Definitely much better going for MY idea of a romantic evening instead of trying to fit the expected image.

Do you remember your prom or formal dance? Were you a dance all night kind of date, or a let's get the pictures out of the way, then hit the bonfire already partier? What's your best (or worst) memory of prom?


Fedora said...

Oy, the prom... It seemed like such an important event then, and looking back, it's hard to remember what the fuss was all about ;) Those are lovely photos, Tawny!

Fedora said...

Oh, and I think the best part was spending time with friends and the fun of dressing up, but I'm not much of a dancer, so it definitely wasn't a dance-the-night-away kind of night for me!

Tawny said...

Thanks, Fedora :-) It was a huge fuss, wasn't it? The most important "thing" in my teenage life at the time, probably. But I confess, I totally forgot about it until last night watching my nephew. And it took over an hour of searching the house to figure out where we'd stashed the box of old pictures (I scanned these from polaroids LOL) because it just hadn't been important enough to frame or have them accessible.

Did you like prom?

Hey -congrats on the GR again, too!!!

Tawny said...

Ahha - Fedora, we'd have had fun at prom then. I was exactly the same way.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Fedora, GR has returned to his true love! Congratulations!

Tawny, weren't you gorgeous? I bet that guy was crushed when you told him to away and find another partner! Can't wait to see what you wear for the big awards night in SF!!!!

Keira Soleore said...

No prom night here, no how. A formal dress at that age? Eeeeeek! Dress-up and take picture. Unh-unh. I was a social reclouse of sorts, awkward, unsure, and a geek and a nerd with glasses. I stayed home with my nose in a book.

Tawny: You're so smart. You tailored the event to fit you, instead of trying to squeeze yourself into an accepted role. Very clever. I wish I'd thought of that. But then again, I didn't like dancing, I didn't like playing dress-up, I didn't like all the fuss-n-muss. So perhaps it was a good thing, I was at home with said nose in said book, instead of out somewhere and utterly miserable.

Fedora: w00t! and squawk! Congrats.

Keira Soleore said...

Foanna, you're right. RWA Awards night is exactly like prom night, except that there's no stress over whether a certain will ask you out or not. You go out with your closest friends for dinner, in a limo mais oui and arrive back in said limo for the red carpet down to the awards show, and get stopped and interviewed by Romance Novel TV. Then, its' awards' time and dessert time and catching up with everyone.

Caren Crane said...

Fedora, congrats on winning back your true love - the GR! I'm glad the two of you didn't meet during high school, though. Thanks to certain influences (P226), he's become resistant to wearing a cummerbund. Hmph!

Tawny, a (very minor) regret I have is not having gone to either prom. I moved in January of my junior year and November of my senior year. Both times to distant states and to cities where I knew no one. So, I barely knew any boys, much less well enough to attend prom.

I did manage to make a best friend after the senior year move, though. She encouraged me to come on sort of a "group date" to our senior prom. But that wasn't really done then and the thought was depressing. So I stayed home as usual and didn't miss it much, truthfully. But it probably would have been a nice memory. *shrug*

Had I gone, however, I would have insisted on a date who danced and danced the night away! I made up for missing a couple of high school dances when I was in college, believe me! *eg*

Caren Crane said...

Keira, maybe that's why I love the RWA awards ceremony so much! I get to dress up and do hair and wear torturous shoes for one night. *g* The prom I never had, with my dearest friends! *sniff*

Kelly Krysten said...

I went to prom with a bunch of girlfriends and none of us danced. But it was a great night!I LOVED my gown!
Also, great photos!

Keira Soleore said...

Caren, are you Banditas as a group planning on hiring a hair and makeup specialist before the Awards ceremony?

pjpuppymom said... look lovely. Thanks for digging out the pic!

I went to prom my junior year. My date was a guy I was dating from another town so I did the asking. No limos in my small town. We arrived in his light purple GTO.
Dinner was part of the prom. My parents chaperoned (every year) and the resident band played "old folks" music so I definitely did not dance the night away. A group of us left as soon as possible and partied in an orchard south of town. Good memories of the orchard. Prom was forgettable.

Senior prom was another story. My then boyfriend was three years out of high school and didn't have much money plus the prom the year before hadn't been that great so I decided not to go. Didn't think I'd be missing much. My mom thought otherwise. She tried (behind my back) to get moms of boys in my class to talk their sons into asking me to prom, not that I would have gone with them. I just wanted to go to all the after-parties I had been invited to. My mom banned me from the after-parties and grounded me for two weeks for humiliating her by not going to prom. (They were chaperoning...again)

Most kids in my neighborhood today go to prom in groups, rather than with individual dates. I think that's a wonderful concept! :)

Trish Milburn said...

I loved prom too. My junior prom, I went with a friend who later ended up coming out of the closet. Fun guy to hang out with. My senior prom, I went with the guy I was dating and had a great time. Loved the dressing up, the dancing, everything. And it's funny to look back at those pictures and my big '80s hair. :)

I love RWA Awards Night too. So much fun to dress up and see what everyone else is wearing (she says as she sits at the computer in her sweats).

Oh, and I'm surprised you didn't like dancing.

Claudia Dain said...

Tawny, I love your post because it brings to mind not only prom night, but how prom nights have changed over the decades. In my day, no limos. No groups dates. No set parties or events after the prom. The prom was the main event and everyone wanted to go.

I went four times. Love to dress up and love to dance. I'm a natural! I wonder if I could get a job being a prom date now? Just to supplement my income.

Oh, and about the boys. My sons love to go to fancy dances of any name. They love to dress up and they love to dance! The apple doesn't fall far...

Hellie Sinclair said...

Best moment: NOT being recognized because I was the ugly duckling transformed.

Worst moment: my date (boyfriend at the time) breaking up with me after it

Oh, well, I still looked good. And he was no Prince.

Donna MacMeans said...

(sniff,sniff) No prom for me and I did miss it 'cause I love to dance - but apparently moving to a new state in junior high school was too late for formal date acceptance. Instead, I went to a sleep-over with other "transplants" and we had a great time. I think a couple of the girls snuck out to TP the class president's house on prom night - and HE was at home, too. I guess Prom at that school at that time was not what it should have been.

Terri Osburn said...

I'm with Caren and Donna, no prom for me. And I really wanted to go too. I was so full of angst I started my first ever journal in a little notebook. That turned into many more journals into my 20s and I still keep one though only write every few months. I guess there is a great deal LESS angst in my 30s than in my teens and 20s. Thank goodness!

Great pics, Tawny. That pink dress with those gloves is classic. I'm excited about the awards ceremony in San Fran but now you all have me freaking about buying a dress. Oh, the pressure! LOL!

jo robertson said...

Ah, prom night, even in my day it was a magical event. Being cheap skates of the first order, our school arranged for the junior class to "host" the senior class for the prom every year. Totally under the auspices of the school, so no hanky-panky going on.

But since then I've supervised dozens of junior proms and senior balls and, boy, have things changed! If the school doesn't sponsor the senior ball, it's held off-campus in a hotel where some unsuspecting parent uses his credit card to insure against damages. Ouch!

But even then it's amazing. One year the senior class I was advisor to held the ball on the Delta Queen a ship that sails up and down the Sacramento River while the party occurs on the several decks. So beautiful and I got to take my own "prom date" Dr. Big!

Tawny said...

LOL Anna - My date was the CUTE brother of a friend and he wasn't especially crushed. Irritated, yes :-)

I think thats one of the things I love about the RWA National conference. Not only the RITA/GH ceremony with the fancy formals and getting all dressed up - but there is NO dancing LOL.

Now Harlequin, on the other hand, has an INCREDIBLE party that does require both the dressing up and the dancing. But they have an open bar so eventually, yes, I will dance *g*

Tawny said...

Keira, I hear you on prefering a book to a dance. I didn't do the standard school dances, just the proms. I admit it, I am a total sucker for the fancy dressup stuff LOL. But otherwise, I'd have always preferred hanging out with friends, going to a party or staying home with a book to a dance.

And you know, it took me until my 3rd prom to figure out that if I wanted to have a good time, I'd better tailor it to my tastes. Its so easy to get into the mindset of having to do what everyone else is doing - especially as a teenager.

Anna Sugden said...

Loved the post and the pics, Tawny!

We didn't have proms in the UK. School dances were it. Nothing fancy. My only knowledge of proms came from the movies - Pretty in Pink anyone?

Having said that, I did go to some formal balls, both here and at home.

I'm a dance the night away gal ... followed by the bonfire on the beach. How did I have the energy in those days to crawl back home as the milkman was delivering the gold top?!

I soooooo want to go to the Harlequin party. *sigh*.

Anna Sugden said...

PS Limecello - you need to contact me re your prize! See the Booty post.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Great post, Tawny! Esp. the piccies! I think my prom photos are tintypes. :-P Since the boyfriend du jour went to a different school, I got to attend 2 senior proms, and of course I had 2 different dresses. But like several others mentioned, no limo, and no group dates (which I would have LOVED!)

Keira, since you asked about the SF awards ceremony... the Banditas are very lucky to have our very own make-up expert! Tawny's lovely daughter is studying to be a professional make-up artist and has agreed to consult with us. HOW KEWL IS THAT?!?!?!


Tawny said...

Caren, Don't you love the shoes on ceremony night? OMG its great to see everyone's dresses and gorgeous footwear. And like prom, we writers get out of our sweatpants and baggy teeshirts and celebrate our writing.

Bummer, though, that you missed the proms when you wanted to go. At least you had all that wild college partying... I mean, those lovely college dances to make up for it :-)

Tawny said...

Kelly -go you! See, thats the way to do it. Figure out how it'd be fun for YOU and do it :-)

Keira, I don't think we've got a hair gal lined up, but for the GH/RITA my oldest daughter is a makeup artist and she's volunteered to come play. I think it'll add more fun to the evening, huh? The only thing better than playing dressup is being pampered while you play.

Tawny said...

Aw man, PJ - bummer on the mom-interference. That bites. I would love to see pix of that light purple GTO, though LOL. I get almost as excited about classic muscle cars as I do about dressing up.

I don't recall heavy chaperoning, but like you, I do recall the after parties and bonfire on the beach as being WAY more fun than the prom itself.

*snicker* probably because there were no chaperones for those after parties LOL

Tawny said...

Blogger hates her, so my friend Karin Tabke asked me to post this comment:

"what a naughty little minx you were in that pink dress! you have trouble spelled all over you. :)
I loved all of my proms (except junior), and had my senior prom dress custom made, because at my junior prom another girl had a dress just like mine! I was horrified and it ruined my night."

Ha... me, naughty? *g*

I love the idea of a custom dress - ooh lala - for just the reason you say, not seeing someone else in the exact same outfit. Total prom faux pas! Come to think of it, total awards ceremony faux pas, too.

Terry Odell said...

I suppose it would have to be never going to a prom, then. Nerdy wallflowers don't get asked to the prom

p226 said...


In those prom pics you look like a face from my past... A beautiful young lady that at one point had half the world looking for her... Congress... the NSA... the Press....

hahah, crazy times.

While holed up with mah peepz, her fighter-jockey boyfriend let the poor fair-skinned beauty fall asleep on the beach. She fried. Badly.

I bet you roast in the sun.

Tawny said...

Trish, I loathe dancing LOL. But I LOVED your orange dress last year at the GH/RITA awards ceremony! Like you say, its tons of fun to see how everyone is dressed up.

It is fun to look back at the pictures. Especially at how the hair and clothes have changed. I admit, I do miss big hair LOL. Probably because I have so much of it, bigger is easier.

p226 said...

Hey... come to think of it... I never attended a prom. We didn't have proms. We had a "military ball." Very formal. Very boring. But such is life in a military high-school. Hey, that's a helluva book idea for you folks that write the teen stuff. Man have I got an awesome setting for that. And alllll the requisite background info. Including the scoop on the all-girls boarding school across town... and the midnight raids... in full camo... through a town that HATED the "rich kid" cadets and little snobby boarding school girls.... But I digress...

Oh, wait, yes I did attend a prom once. I took a girl to her senior prom the year I graduated from bootcamp. The dress blues seemed to be a hit. And as for Terry's post, she was the "nerdy wallflower" type. It's my understanding that she was the "talk of the school" for the remainder of the year thanks to my appearance in my blues. I'm sure if I'd been there in a tux, there wouldn't have been so much as a second glance.

Tawny said...

Claudia, how fabulous that your sons are into dancing and dressing up too! My nephew LOVES to dance and he was so adorable in his tux.

Proms have changed so much - they seems to be much more parent involvement now, as well as supervision and organization.

Ms. Hellion - boys can be such jerks! But like you say, you looked good :-)

I think thats one of the biggest appeals for me -as a writer, I spend most of my life in sweats or jammies. As a mom, I spend most of my life in sweats or tee shirts. Because of the nature of my day-to-day, dressing up is a big deal --that ugly duckling into a swan thing you mention :-)

Claudia Dain said...

P226, your description of the Mil Ball and the girls' boarding school across town, this wouldn't have been in Chatham, VA, would it?

p226 said...

Indeed it would, Claudia.

Tawny said...

Donna, I'm laughing like crazy about you TPing the presidents house and him being home. It sounds like your party was definitely MUCH more fun that the prom!!

Terrio, hugs on the angst :-( but at least starting your first journal is a nice silver lining, huh? So... lets talk dresses for Nat'l *g* What color, style, look are you interested in? No pressure or anything LOL

Jo, Go you on being the hanky-panky police ;-) That cruise prom sounds soooo beautiful! I'd love to do something like that. Hmmm. actually I have an anniversary coming up. Maybe an evening event... you've given me an idea :-)

Terri Osburn said...

Tawny - Yes, the beginning of writing for me and not for an assignment is good. I'm thinking about a red, halter style knee length with some cute red heels. But something tells me I'll probably end up with a little black number just like I always do. LOL!

We should get p226 to show up in Dress Blues and escort all the Banditas down the red carpet. You'd be the talk of all the parties!

p226 said...

I haven't tried to fit into my blues since my wedding! What's that phrase my granny used to use... "boy, you look like five pounds of $@#& stuffed in a three pound bag."

I've gotten back in shape some over recent months, but I don't think I'll ever fit in my blues again.

Tawny said...

OMG Anna, Pretty in Pink -- love it!!!

We'd have fun doing the prom thing together. Party all night, compare shoes, sneak in at sunrise. And you will SO be at the Harlequin party soon!!!!

AC, I think the group thing really helps make it a fun evening. Prom is so formal and "grown up" and I know being surrounded by friends really helped me feel more at ease. And of course you had to have 2 different dresses!

Which brings me to another question... does anyone rewear dresses they've worn in years past to the Nat'l ceremony? I have a half-dozen to choose from and am telling myself that it doesn't hurt to wear them more than once... but the diva in me is resisting.

Tawny said...

:-( Terry bummer! I was a nerdy party girl, and ended up doing the asking for my Jr. Prom (which would be the guy who left me there *g*)

P226 LOLOLOL, you have me intrigued!!! You know what, I tan really easily. I think my Native American grandmother genes balance out the fair-skinned Irish.
Your military balls do sound, well, a little stuffy LOL but the rest of it - WOW, fun! And you're right, that would make such an awesome YA story!

So did I read this right? You took Terry to prom? I'll bet she was a hit - there is something about a uniform that gets mondo points over a tux... always!

Tawny said...

I'm thinking about a red, halter style knee length with some cute red heels.

Oooooh cute!!! Definitely do this - it sounds like a fab look. And hey, you deserve to step outside that LBD comfort zone and party it up in a hot red dress!

P226, OMG LOL at the 3 lb bag comment :-) Terrio is right, though - wouldn't that be fun to have an escort in Dress Blues?!

Claudia Dain said...

P226, what a small world!!

Helen said...

Congrats flchen on the GR

Love the post and pictures Tawny when I finished school way back our school wouldn't let us have a formal so a few of us girls (Iwent to an all girls high school) got together and organized our own formal and it was a fantastic night one of the girls we went to school with her parents owned a dance studio and they let us have it for the night.
I have a lot of photo's and memories from that night I loved all the dressing up and then we danced all night it was teriific.
Have Fun

Claudia Dain said...

Tawny, I *always* wear Rita outfits multiple times. No one ever remembers what anyone else wears since they're all so busy strutting their own hot looks! Of course, that being said, I always dress down, too. It's the New England in me.

p226 said...

Hahah, tell me you didn't go to Chatham Hall Claudia!

And hey, if you guys want a Marine escort, I can probably find you one. We used to get requests for that stuff at our unit all the time. Guys could "volunteer" to go be an escort for events like that. I did a beauty pageant once. I thought: "oh AWESOME I'm going to be surrounded by hotties for two freakin days this will just ROCK!"

And, what I got instead was: "If I have to listen to inane drivel from ONE MORE pretentious, materialistic, spoiled princess *OR* their INSANE PARENTS I may have to take a que from Japanese martial discipline and gut myself with my bayonet."

I never volunteered for the beauty pageant escort again. I just laughed at the morons who did and kept silent. *g*

Anna Sugden said...

I didn't do the Chatham ball - but I did do the one at Annapolis Naval Acadamy, P226.

Good question on rewearing dresses, Tawny - I figure since I'm not in the public eye this year, I'll recycle ... unless I spot another little bargain.

Of course, when it comes to shoes - I'm all for new ones.

Keira Soleore said...

Keira wrote, "are you Banditas as a group planning on hiring a hair and makeup specialist before the Awards ceremony?"
Tawny wrote, "I don't think we've got a hair gal lined up, but for the GH/RITA my oldest daughter is a makeup artist and she's volunteered to come play."

OMG! I was just teasing Caren, and you guys really have a consultant--one of your own, too--coming to visit. What a fabulous thing to do. Can a faux Bandita (I get the faux title since I'm rooming with Cassondra), show up at this party sans invitation?

V.Anna wrote, "Now Harlequin, on the other hand, has an INCREDIBLE party that does require both the dressing up and the dancing. But they have an open bar so eventually, yes, I will dance *g*"

Hm. I totally needs to scam an invitation, especially given that this is M&B's 100th year.


Christine Wells said...

Oh, it's Fedora again! Congrats on the GR!

What a gorgeous girl in those photos, Tawny! You look so sophisticated in the pink outfit.

We called our proms 'formals' and unfortunately because ours was a very strict all girls' school, post-formal parties (called posts) were forbidden. I was a good girl and school captain (and my parents were chaperoning--argh!) so no post party for me. The lead up was fun, but the biggest mistake I made was calling my formal partner during the State of Origin football match to ask him to go with me (a bit like calling someone in the middle of Superbowl, I imagine). It was definitely a bad omen for how the night went, actually, but at least he looked good in the photos. I think if I'd been able to go I would have enjoyed the post celebrations much more.

Beth Andrews said...

Tawny, I love the pictures! You haven't changed a bit *g* Okay, so your hair's changed (just a bit) but that's all ;-)

I didn't go to any proms and honestly, I didn't miss it and still have no regrets. I do love to dress up though and looking at all the formal and semi-formal dresses in the stores and catalogs *g*

I'm so excited about the award night in San Fran! I even have a hot date :-)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I have to echo Fedora and say "Oy, the prom..." Ha! I went three times - dated a senior and went as a freshman, then two other times. That first prom I had waist length hair (NOT a good look for me, but hey...) big glasses and a sore behind. I'd just gotten a tetnus shot for an injury, and a monster antibiotic shot. I sat on one cheek all night. But I had fun! THe other two were fun too, but that first one was the most memorable.

I like RWA's bash better. :> All the fun, none of the angst. Ha!!!

P225 and TICD, that is amazing that you both went to school in VA in THAT town. I know where you were that spring...heehee.

COngrats on the GR FEdora!

Caren Crane said...

P226 and Jeanne, I have to say I think it was Claudia's SON who went to the military academy there. No doubt she heard all about the raids on the girls' school! *g*

Tawny, I adore the shoes on awards night! Also the gowns and seeing everyone all sparkled up. Don't believe Claudia about dressing down. She says she always wears a black cocktail dress (true) but neglects to mention the fabulous accessories and shoes! She totally rocks the cocktail dress.

Terry, nerdy girls do indeed get asked to prom. I was a big nerd and would totally have had a date if we had lived anywhere more than 4 months before prom rolled around. Ack!

I'm SO GLAD we have the awards ceremony to dress up for; otherwise, I would never get to glam up.

Keira, I always end up doing other peoples' hair on awards night. I'm the queen of hair! Of course, I'm still deciding what to do with mine. Growing out right now, dontcha know. Hm...

Caren Crane said...

Tawny, I have one dress (floor-length, as usual, and black) that I've worn three times. The last time I wore it, I had lost weight and had to get it taken in. It doesn't fit now because I gained a lot of weight the past two years. :-(

I have no illusions I will lose enough weight by conference to wear it, so I may end up getting a new dress. Woo hoo!

Tawny said...

Helen, what a FAB party idea! I'm all for making my own fun, so I think thats a GREAT answer to the prom-police crackdown *g*

Claudia, thank you! I'll shop from my own closet this year and save my $$ for new shoes ;-) Or chase Anna for hers, they are always incredible.

Keira, email me ;-) I'll put you on the list! And the Harlequin party is unquestionably fabulous!

Christine :-( I'd have been a bad influence on you, because I don't think I was ever called a good girl *G* Bummer on the bad date, but like you say, the pictures are what lasted ;-)

Tawny said...

LOL Beth... as your hot date, I am glad you're excited about the awards ceremony!! And believe me, a lot more than my hair has changed! Even though I'm 4 inches taller, I was my daughters size in those pix.

Jeanne - I want a picture of you with waist lenght hair :-D I'll bet you were adorable! Ouch on the sore tushie though.

Caren, I'm going to have to find Claudia and admire her shoes and bling. I admire anyone who can rock a cocktail dress. And does this mean you're in charge of hair for the ceremony foof fest?