Sunday, June 4, 2017

The Sunday Memory Drawer - Will You Go to Prom With Me?

Aw, these lucky stiffs.   They got to go to prom.

Okay, here's how old I am.   I remember when you asked somebody to THE prom.   When did it become a stand alone word?   Was this something adopted in China?   It sounds like an incomplete sentence.

THE Prom Season is probably winding down and that psychological torture can be put away for another year.   A few years back, when I was at a Dodger game this time of year, I kept seeing messages pop up on the scoreboard.

"Ashlee, will you go to prom with me?  Josh."

This would happen over and over.   With no children in my house, I had no clue what this meant.   My childhood best friend Leo explained it to me as he was going through this phenomenon in his home.   Prom invitations to a girl must be executed in a very public way.   Over school P.A. systems.   Written in the sky.  On the Dodger Stadium Diamondvision.


I wondered just how crushing it would be to go through this process and then be publicly humiliated by a "no" response.   Ouch.  So, as I have long suspected, the prom ritual might be the single biggest reason why people go into analysis later in life.

I am happy to say that I was spared all of this drama.   For the first time in my entire high school tenure, I was actually delighted to go to a predominantly Black school. We didn't even have an official prom. The event essentially became twenty Black couples going out to the Apollo Theater in Harlem. 

As I was neither Black or a couple, I did not qualify.

I've heard nothing but horror stories from people who actually had one. Vomit on tuxedos. Dates falling asleep in public places. Coming with one date and leaving with another. Not getting invited. The male flip side of that. Inviting somebody in a public forum who tells you to get lost.  It's way too early in life to have these pressures thrust upon you.

Why don't high schools host one big "dress-up" party? Pair off there if you so desire. Or just hang with your friends and make fun of the teachers.

Believe me, the trauma of formal affairs doesn't get any better with age. Years and years after my non-prom, I was working at an entertainment company that had a premiere broadcast held at, of all places, the Apollo Theater. Now, keep in mind that Harlem is just a place I ride a train through. But, this night was a gala affair. And it was black tie and date required. Luckily, this was a particular rare moment in time where I could easily comply on the latter.

The irony didn't pass on me that I was finally going to the Mount Vernon High senior prom at the Apollo Theater. And, even as a adult, there was enormous nonsense attached. What to wear? What color tuxedo? What tie that would not clash with the outfit of said date? Weeks and weeks of bullshit. 

By the time the evening arrived, I was mentally exhausted and would have preferred to spent the night at home watching "Cotton Comes to Harlem" on HBO. And, of course, I accidentally ripped something off the back of said date's dress, which created more chaos and hysteria than Donald Trump's election.

At least, I didn't throw up. But, thinking of it all today makes me want to.

Heck, I'm still bothered that it's no longer referred to as THE prom.

Dinner last night:  Grilled beef knockwurst and macaroni salad.

No comments: