Home » Just for Fun » It’s prom time again…

It’s prom time again…

As a disclaimer, I posted the majority of this post almost two years ago now when there was a huge rage about proms becoming popular in the UK. Now, I’m reposting it–WITH PICTURES–as there has now become a huge firestorm about 8th grade girls not being allowed to wear strapless dresses…

Since at least the 1940s, American high school students have spent half their high school years looking forward to the Prom, at least the girls anyway. And now English young ladies will get to share in the anticipation as the tradition of Prom has now jumped across the pond. While I personally never gave much thought to England having or not having a prom, I found this video this morning and it made me think about the Proms I attended and I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cry at the awkward memories. (Link to Fox News Prom Fever Hits England at bottom.)

I went to prom twice. The school I attended was just the right size where they decided to allow juniors and seniors to attend prom. My first year I wore a dress the color of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum (the bright green variety) that had a few swaths of extra stiff netting sewn inside to make the skirt nearly as puffy as a hoop skirt–talk about itchy, and noisy. This lovely gown was offset with some 1940s chunky jewelry, bright green nail polish and of course a sparkly tiara. I was stylin’ let me tell ya.

I can’t remember the theme that year for some reason (must not have been that memorable). I do, however, remember a straight pin that was holding on the boutonniere of this guy I was dancing with cutting my face and someone’s gum (which, as a bonus, was bright green to match my dress) falling down the front of my gown. And I don’t mean on the outside…

I couldn’t find all of my prom pictures, but here’s what I could find. Be warned, the first image looks like if I was cut out and put in front of a more neutral background (like red satin) it could be on the cover of a romance novel.  I guess I was working my way to being an adult entertainer even then. Who knew.

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Please ignore the awkward smile…

The next year I left off the jewelry and went strapless. Yes, that’s right, strapless! For a young woman who barely weighed 90 pounds and was thinner than a two-by-four with very subtle curves, this was quite a scary adventure. But I did it. I wore a strapless, (paste) jewel-encrusted gown that had layers of alternating blue and green gauze overlying the blue gown. Much better taste. But then I had to go put on press-on nails! And why did I do this? I honestly don’t know. Perhaps I didn’t want to bother painting my real nails, I just don’t know. I didn’t think anything about wearing them until we went bowling after the dance. That was brutal.   Ever try to bowl with press-on nails? It doesn’t work. One of my most painful memories involving injuring my fingers happened that night when I went to bowl and somehow between a combination of the length of my “nails” mixed with the weight of the ball and how I was trying to spin it, two of those press-ons caught in edge of the finger holds and I’m sure you can guess the rest. It was painful in the worst way imaginable.

Unfortunately, the following is the only picture from that lovely evening I could find and not only do I have a weird look on my face, but you can’t see much of my dress and certainly not my nails. Maybe next prom season I’ll have better photos (but don’t hold your breath).

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Now I’m sure you’re all anxiously wondering if I had a date and the truth is by some not-so-small miracle I did. Both times even. The first time I went with a guy I’d been dating a while who’d just happened to move out-of-state a few weeks before. He was able to fly in just in time to go with me. The next year, through not much doing of my own, I somehow managed to get my straight-laced, college student minister’s son to go with me. (Ahem, I know what some of you are thinking. But just to clarify, this is NOT the same minister as the one I have now who has the daughter my young son has declared his love for. However, this just might explain where his interest in the child of a minister comes from…)

Both dates had extremely different personalities, which led to completely different experiences to be sure. Not bad by any means, just a little weird at times.

As promised, if reading Prom memories has sparked an interest in how those in England have decided to celebrate the end of their schooling, here’s the link to watch the special on England’s recent adoption of the Prom.  They seem to be rather excited about their new tradition to say the least.

Regarding the latest “no strapless” debate, I have to say, that I actually agree with the school on this one. I went strapless at 17, not 13; to me there’s a difference. I also don’t see why this has become as big of an issue as it has. I don’t think of it any differently than having a school dress code. But that’s just me and my opinions.

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24 thoughts on “It’s prom time again…

  1. I never went to my prom. We just didn’t do dances. In fact, our church, along with some other local churches, actually has a “prom alternative” now. (Not back when I was a senior.) It’s fun and entertainment without alcohol, drugs, dancing, etc. They have a “no strapless” rule at that function. I know it sounds old-fashioned and straight-laced, but from what I’ve heard, the kids have loads of fun because they have dinner, then hilarious entertainment. One time the entertainment was a spoof on “Twilight”, and I’ve seen the video. Funny stuff. I mean REAL funny.

    • I attended church school until I was in 10th grade and instead of dances, we had banquets like what you’re describing: dinner and some sort of game or play for entertainment. We did these 7th grade and on. It usually started at 5 and was over by 8:30 or 9. We didn’t know any different and loved it.

      Consequently, I never learned how to dance so all five of the dances I attended once going to public school (one end-of-the-year, two proms and two “snowballs” which were winter dances) I stood or sat or just “swayed”.

      I did not, however, go to any homecoming dances, which I heard were actually the ones that were more rowdy than the others.

      I remember ALL the teachers and staff along with their spouses would attend our dances and patrol looking for certain types of behavior. But it was never really a problem. I live in the middle of the Bible belt so those who would have done something they shouldn’t wouldn’t have even bothered to go to the prom to do it. LOL

  2. Love the pictures, thanks for sharing them.
    An old high school friend of mine who now works for CNN just posted an article on FB this morning stating that the average family spends $1,139 on prom. WHAT!?! Now I realized next year will be my 20th high school reunion so it’s been a while since I went to prom but when I got to thinking that my dress was about 50.00, tickets to prom were 50.00, then there was dinner before prom, a corsage and boutonniere to buy, the guy had to rent a tux. I did go get my hair done, by my mom’s friend and then you had to buy the pictures they took. We didn’t rent a limo, my date drove my parents nice car. I was good girl so there was no renting of hotel rooms. My date and I probably spent close to 500.00 for the night so I guess doubling that in 20 years doesn’t seem so bad.

    I am personally not a fan of strapless dresses. I have never worn one, I don’t have the bust to wear one and I think most girls/ladies who wear them have too much bust to wear them. But that is just my opinion.

    As for my prom. I waited to be asked until two weeks before and then I called up my best guy friend (who had already been to 4 proms in his junior and senior year and refused to go to anymore) and begged him to take me. My parents paid for everything except my corsage, he wouldn’t let them pay for that. I refused to sit at home and not go to prom my senior year, I hadn’t gone my junior year. People didn’t go solo at my school or in groups of girls. In spite of having to beg for a date I had so much fun with my guy friend and actually turned a few heads because a lot of people knew that he had said he wasn’t going to our school’s prom because he had been to too many proms. On a side note, our school’s winter formal was girl ask guy and I asked the same friend to that dance and went with him, which was also another coup because 2 other girls had asked him before I did. What a guy. He was a great friend.

    • This was the first, last and only strapless dress I ever wore. I actually still have it in my closet, along with the lime peel dress. (Didn’t Lady O wear a dress the color of a lime’s peel in Sudden? Hmmm, now everyone knows where I got the idea.)

      This was the breakdown of MY prom:
      First Prom
      $50 tickets
      $60 dinner (Maybe, probably less. I actually went to dinner with my parents as my date had flown in from out of state and my parents drove us to dinner and the prom. LOL)
      $20 Corsage
      $15 boutonniere (my mom made it and I swear she spent more on the individual items than if she’d have just bought it)
      $60 Dress
      $80 Up-do (hair style)
      $20 tiara that I had no business wearing (on sale)
      $0–my mom guilted some lady at Merle Norman to do it LOL
      $0–jewelry, inherited.
      $0 nails, I painted them bright green to match!
      (Obviously there was no hotel involved as not only was my date staying at my house, but I was a good girl!)

      TOTAL: 245, plus gas which was at about $1.35/gal.

      Second Prom:
      $50 tickets
      $25 dinner (he paid)
      $20 bowling (he paid)
      $40 Corsage (a friend of ours, the one who set us up paid)
      $12 Boutonnière (I think?)
      $20 dress–sale rack at the end of the previous prom season!
      $10 awful press on nails
      $0 hair–my mom paid close attention to the ladies the year before and copied it
      $0 make-up–my mom did it.

      TOTAL $177

      • As an amendment:

        My first date wore a suit.

        My second date rented a tux and we rode in a limo that a friend’s dad had booked then told her she’d better fill it with at least six friends or he wouldn’t book another for the next year!

    • Oh, I was uncomfortable. I was deathly worried my dress was going to slip and I was going to put on a peep-show.

      I ran into someone from high school yesterday who asks if I was going to our 10 year reunion next spring and it hit me how old I am. It was like, where in the world has the last 10 years gone? Particularly the last 5 or 6.

  3. LOVE the photos!!!

    Uh, my senior prom: $25.00/person. Dinner for two was $20. My dress cost $60. My date’s tux cost $45. Corsage: $12 Boutonniere: $6.50 Gas was something like $1.22/gallon. Under $200…those were the days 🙂

  4. I never wore a strapless dress, but that has to do with how well endowed I am on top. (Had I been a guy, this kind of endowment would be impressive, I’m sure, but since I’m a woman, it’s more awkward than anything else and–ironically–they didn’t work right when I tried to breastfeed so it’s like “what’s the point? just to watch them sag someday?” LOL)

    I went to both proms but wore the same dress (I moved my senior year so I was able to do this). The first one, I was fixed up. The second one, I asked the guy. I went to get the champaign glasses, napkins, and pictures (not because I liked the guys). And my friends refused to go stag as a group so I had to find the guys to go with me. So there is no magical prom tale for me to tell. But I am glad I had the guts to ask a guy out. Sure, it didn’t work out, but I look back and am happy I took the risk.

    Love the pictures! 😀 Now we know why Bob married you.

    • Yeah, well, I might have been somewhat “okay” back then, but wait until you see me next week. You’ll be like, uh, so where’s the model you paid to pose in those pictures.

      I had a friend at the prom who was rather busty and while I kept worrying I was going to lose my dress, she was, too, for a whole different reason.

      Now I’m rather full and feel like you do: what’s the point? Gravity sure isn’t very friendly to us ladies.

      It takes a lot of guts to ask a guy out. I know this from experience. But like you said, even though it didn’t work out, it was still something good to do once.

    • LOL Yes, it was a calendar put together for the 9/11 firemen with the proceeds going to the their respective firehouses or the World Trade Center fund or something like that. I know the money went to a good cause and I got to stare at hunky firemen for a year. It was definitely a win-win.

  5. Thanks for sharing your personal pics, Rose. I liked the blue dress more because it’s my favourite color. I agree with Ruth on never wearing a strapless dress and Bob’s reason to marry you. 😉

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