Last Word: A Night At The Prom

Every year when the weather warms up and the Juniors section at Macy’s fills up with sparkly, sequined dresses, I reminisce about going to the prom.

I’m not ashamed to admit that if given the chance, I’d go again.

Not because I enjoyed any of the three times I went in high school.

In fact, just the opposite.

My first time was with a kid from a different town, whom I’d met only once before at a party.

I must have made a good impression in my mullet and Duran Duran concert T-shirt, because not long afterward a friend of a friend’s friend said he might be interested.

Even though the feeling wasn’t mutual, I still said yes when he called and asked me to the prom.

Partly because I didn’t know how to politely decline, but mostly because I wanted an excuse to dress up and get my hair done.

Taking full advantage of the opportunity, I promptly went out and bought a white gown so frilly that Scarlett O’Hara could’ve worn it to her first holy communion. The only thing missing was a hoop.

Paired with matching white, lace gloves and baby’s breath in my upswept hair, I was the only bride in attendance that night.

Sarah Sophomore Prom 1985

I never saw my date again after that.

It’s hard to say if it’s because I gave him the “Let’s Just Be Friends” speech when he brought me home, or because I’d used his junior prom as a trial run for my Gone With the Wind-inspired wedding.

The following year I was asked to prom by a semi-cool rocker kid I’d just started dating.

It might have all turned out alright, had I not decided to also start dating a kid I worked with at the local pharmacy.

And another kid I occasionally ran into when I was out with friends.

Like a real-life episode of The Bachelorette, I couldn’t decide which one I liked more, so instead of choosing, I just went out with them all.

Not surprisingly, this didn’t go over well. And one by one, they dumped me, including the rocker kid.

However, having already bought tickets and committed to a double date, we were still obligated to attend the prom.

Already less-than-ideal circumstances, the day before the big event, I decided to ‘tan’ in the backyard for seven hours, charbroiling every free inch of real estate on my body.

The upside, however, is that I’d managed to find a prom dress custom-designed by Glenda the Good Witch (hoop included).


Sarah Junior Prom 85

No crown was necessary; my hairdresser used an enormous hairpiece in creating my up-do, making it appear as though a squirrel, wearing copious amounts of Aqua Net, had burrowed into the top of my head.

Still, it was a good time.

Rocker Kid and I didn’t speak the entire night, the couple we’d gone with skipped out early (taking my resentful date with them), and I drove myself home at 9:30 p.m.

My final year of high school, I attended prom with my steady boyfriend at the time.

After the fiasco of the year before, I’d sworn off serial dating and settled down with my one, true love. My final, everlasting soul mate for the distance record of seven months.

Cash poor, I didn’t have the funds for a new dress. Instead, I borrowed a used bridesmaid’s dress from a friend.

Though it wasn’t my first choice, it was the most perfect dress in the world — if my date had been Wyatt Earp and the prom was being held at the Buckeye Saloon.

Outfitted in a burgundy, taffeta dress, accessorized with black lace stockings, lace gloves and matching lace pillbox hat, I could’ve easily passed as Miss Kitty, right down to the black lace garter lassoed around my leg.

Sarah Senior Prom 86

From what I remember, there were no gunslingers, wagon accidents or train robberies at the dance that night, making it the most successful of my three proms.

In hindsight, I’ve come to realize that my proms weren’t nearly as bad as I remember.

They were worse.

But would I go again? In an instant.

Somewhere out there, there’s a Disney princess dress, hoopskirt and all, and it’s calling my name.