Why I Wish I Had Gone To Prom

Prom is a time when you get dressed up, rent a limo, and dance with everybody in your high school class. Not for me, however. And I wish it hadn’t been so. Yes, I never went to a high school dance, and now that I’m in my 30s, I regret it.

First of all, I didn’t want to go out shopping with my mom to buy a dress. My mom has a low threshold for shopping. Mall trips were usually about an hour inside. She doesn’t like the loud music, the crowds, and the perfumes. I joked with a friend recently at the mall, where we walked around for the more normal three hours, that if I combined Abercrombie & Fitch, Victoria’s Secret, and Hollister perfumes into one bottle and sprayed it in my parents’ house, they’d probably go insane. Often when we’d buy a dress for family occasions we only went to one local store, where there were only a few dresses in my size, and only one that was about 50% or more appropriate for the event.

Now, I think, it didn’t really matter what I wore. Sometimes at family events I would be embarrassed because the only dress I could find in my size was a strapless dress, and the only other person wearing a strapless dress was the bride. But I feel that in retrospect, nobody likes what they wore to prom anyway. Nobody found that perfect dress. At least my mom not liking shopping was kind of an excuse.

In high school, I also had a phobia of dancing. When I was a little kid I loved dancing. I was a wild dancer. I had no inhibitions. At my 7th birthday party I was basically like “Dren” Snooki from Jersey Shore and we hadn’t even had birthday cake yet. As soon as I became more self-aware, people made fun of the way I danced, and there was a good decade or more where I avoided it.

Now I’m back to flailing my arms and “the original Jim Carrey” dancing. When I saw MTV for the first time, and when I hit puberty, I was so concerned with what dancing looked good. Now I have realized that it’s more important that dancing feels good. Good feelings are contagious. I wish I had danced the night away with all of my classmates. It would have been fun to show that side of myself.

There were other points. I just didn’t want to go to a salon to get my hair done. It felt spoiled. Now I know, duh, I could have just straightened it like I did for school every day. It would have been comfortable to wear a hairstyle I was used to. I basically didn’t wear any makeup to school besides black eyeliner. Again, I could have gone with my comfortable routine here. I had a date but didn’t know if I’d be invited to a limo. Now I know how you get there doesn’t matter. Just show up.

When I got to school the Monday after prom, everybody said it was awful. They said nobody danced except for one guy who breakdanced. They said nobody stayed for very long at all. They said it was overhyped in general and that in general nobody cared. Of course I was relieved that I didn’t miss anything. But now, I wonder if they needed a little dancing that was worse than Elaine Benes in an ill-fitting dress to get the party started. Maybe it would have made prom even worse. But now we’ll never know.