My nephew got invited to the senior prom, not by text, or email or phone, but by Snickers candy bars. The candy spelled out “Prom?” on his biology desk. His classmates waited in anticipation for his reaction. Unsure what he was getting himself into, my nephew gave a reluctant thumbs up.
Who wouldn’t want to go to the prom with him? Despite being just a junior, he’s funny, smart, cute, nice hair, laughs easily, is a good sport and just a friendly guy. He plays lacrosse, the saxophone in the jazz band, works with special needs kids and for fun produces You Tube video’s that teach people how to play video games.
Unfortunately for my nephew, his mother has three sisters and all four of us are in a frenzy over this exciting and very sweet invitation to prom. My nephew is mortified over our need to know every detail of the prom proposal. What he doesn’t appreciate, is that all four of us had to rummage for our prom dates, none of us invited by a boy and certainly not in a creative and thoughtful, fun way.
Sister Number One
Sister Number One has the saddest prom scenario. Her 1982 date, Vito, was the son of our father’s barber Dominic. Even today I don’t know if I want to laugh or cry for her. I think he was mute, wore a brown tuxedo, but attractive enough to look good in photos. Sister Number One is fortunate that she has repressed any memory of the eighties and nineties so I bet if I mention Vito to her today she’d say, “Who?”
Sister Number Two
Sister Number Two, my nephew’s mom, actually had a boyfriend. Of course, the prom was their last date because he was dating another girl at the same time. What’s funny is that this guy had the nerve or stupidity to show up to Sister Number Two’s graduation party with a necklace of hickies from his new girlfriend.
I purchased my prom gown in February, months before the June event. I had found my dress, but not a date. I was worried I’d have a Vito situation on my hands as my sisters and parents started scraping together a list of people who had sons or brothers that were available. I asked my best friend Kathy if she wanted to go with me because she bought a dress and had no date as well. Kathy refused, citing that our close-minded class would think we were lesbians. So I took matters into my own hands and asked a sophomore to the prom. He was in the newspaper homeroom with me and was smart, played soccer and was kind of funny. I thought he’d be fun.
On the night of the prom, my date didn’t want to dance with me and ended up watching the 1987 NBA Championships on the portable TV the assistant principal brought. My date wasn’t interested in grabbing Chinese food afterwards either and insisted we go to Dino’s after party. So that’s where I dropped him off, Dino’s house.
Sister Number Three
Sister Number Three was invited to the prom by a senior when she was a junior so she was the least pathetic among the sisters. For her senior prom she had the sense to go with a group of friends and managed to leave high school unscathed.
Top Ten Prom Dos and Don’ts
Being that I am a concerned and loving aunt, I thought I would give my nephew a top ten list on what to do and not do related to the Prom so he and his date can avoid any residual trauma that they’ll blog about twenty-eight years from now.
- Go dutch. Rent your tux and pay for it and buy her a nice wrist corsage with a rose or two on it. Your grandmother bought me a corsage just in case my date didn’t show up with one.
- Do not demand that you wear an all-white tuxedo so you can pretend you are a TV evangelist or Kernel Sanders. In the 80s Jim Baker, Billy Graham, Jerry Farwell and KFC were all over TV and my date thought it would be funny if he dressed up like one of them. I think I paid for his tux so he didn’t get to choose.
- Take her out a few times prior to the Prom. The dates need to be active and fun like bowling, mini-golf or roller skating. Kids these days roller skate, right?
- If you kiss your date DO NOT tell your sisters. If they are anything like Sister Number Three, they will make smooching sounds at dinner in front of your parents.
- If you see her in the hallway, especially the day of the Prom, say hello. DO NOT ignore her!
- DO NOT make a goofy face when the professional Prom photographer takes your photo. If you do, every time your date looks at the photo she’ll think “what a jerk” or worse!
- Tell her she looks pretty and that you like her dress. DO NOT say the skirt looks like something your mother might use to upholster a chair.
- Ask your date to dance. She wants to dance, so you dance. If you ask her to dance in front of her girlfriends you get huge points.
- Thank your date for inviting you to the Prom and tell her you had a great time. That took guts to ask you and you have to respect that.
- Call me when it’s over and tell me all the details!