Prom This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

      I was in my TV production class one day when my classmates started talking about the main activity of senior year: prom.

“I really want to go with someone, but I hope no one ugly asks me. My mother said she didn’t want an ugly boy to take me because he would ruin all the pictures.”

“Oh, I know what you mean. I’m gonna find someone by the end of today, even if I don’t like him.”

Everyone nodded in agreement, then looked at me.

“So, who are you going with?” one asked.

“My friends,” I answered pleasantly.

“You’re not going with a date?”

“No,” I answered.

There was a short silence before they smiled with pity and said, “Awww ...”

Awww? What was that for? Was there something awwwful about going to prom without a date? I brushed the thought aside but later at lunch I was asked again about the prom. I explained I was going with my pals and was snubbed once more! How had I become a leper among my classmates?

Apparently there are certain customs regarding prom with which I was unfamiliar. What I do know, however, is that this is not the 1950s, and going with a date is not that important - it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, thank you very much! I have therefore come up with five reasons why a date should not be your first priority when deciding whether to attend prom. To the haters out there who think I am a lonely girl who cannot find a date, I would just like to point out that these reasons give hope to girls who do not want a date.

Reason #1 Yes, he’ll pay for your ticket, but then what? The only reason for a girl to get a date, say some, is that he’ll pay for your ticket. Hey, I’m as cheap as the next person, and not having to fork over $90 for bad music and gooey chicken sounds really good to me, too. Then again, I attend a Catholic school, and I suppose that annoying little angel on one of my shoulders would whisper, “You are using him! ’Tis not fair.” Of course, there are two ways to stop that annoying voice: Tell it to shut up and let your date go broke, or pay for yourself and not be stuck with an annoying date. This leads us to the next good reason to go solo.

Reason #2 The Clinger Date. Okay, so someone asked you to prom. You grudgingly accept. He pays for your ticket, you take the super-duper cute “couple” picture in front of the cheesy ocean and palm tree backdrop, and you’re off to the dance floor! Or are you? You feel a hand on your elbow as you’re about to join your pals, who are already shaking their booties and having fun.

“I don’t really like to dance,” your date smiles sheepishly, glancing toward two chairs a hundred yards away from the dance floor. “Would it be okay if we sit this one out?”

Yes, my friend, that is the you of the future, sitting next to your date and tapping your foot impatiently as you watch everyone else dance. The only time you escape your date is when you run to the ladies’ room. And then, he is parked right in front of the door waiting for you.

There you go, I hope you had a happy prom! I’m surprised he didn’t whip handcuffs on you when you first arrived so he wouldn’t have to be away from you for a millisecond. Bottom line: If you don’t want to schlep your date around with you the whole night, don’t schlep him there in the first place.

Reason #3 The Awkward Small Talk. The biggest problem once you have a date, of course, is realizing you have to talk to him the whole night. There are a few things you can do to avoid this:

A.) Eat. This definitely works, but it may be hard to bring food with you to the dance floor, the limo, the bathroom ...

B.) Get cozy - really cozy. This does not work if you are with your date just because you wanted a free ticket. Well, it would work, but do you really want to go there?

I suggest neither of these proposals, so the only thing left is small talk. No one is a big fan of this

unless you are a salesperson or my grandma. And everyone resorts to one topic: college. It is the most neutral topic. You cannot start off prom night with “Republican, Democrat? What is your view on the death penalty? I’m for the old sparky, myself.” That could scare him away.

College questions eventually run out, though. You can only talk about SAT scores and coed dorm rooms for so long. I really have no advice here except dates make you nervous about making small talk! Avoid the date, avoid the small talk.

Reason #4 “Every breath you take, and every move you make, every bond you break, every step you take, I’ll be watching you.” What if your date gets annoying? If you get tired of his antics, dance moves, or lack thereof, et cetera, what do you do? You really can’t cheerfully say, “Well, this has been fun, see you at our ten-year reunion! Hope you take care of that little hair problem!” He paid for your ticket, so you are stuck with him. Do you really want that?

Reason #5 An unwanted date will only drag your spirits down. You really don’t want a date who makes you look annoyed in every prom picture - 30 years from now you’ll look back and cringe to think you were actually so desperate for a date that you went with him!

Ladies, no need to think like that! I, for one, refuse to conform to the masses and have decided that I will not go to prom with a date. Never mind that I may not be asked, but I am definitely not going to be desperate enough to ask someone simply because I am pining for a hormonal boy to poke around my chest while “trying” to pin on a tacky corsage. Instead, I am going with friends, free of any burden, and am going to shake my thang (as much as a girl with no rhythm can) as long as I want! Capisce? Good.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 11 at 2:15 am
i love this so much!
barrington said...
Nov. 20, 2008 at 10:32 am
ey- up chuck nice story
Rowan_Kinley replied...
Apr. 18, 2011 at 10:11 pm
Cheers to all of this! ;D (Except I have a date... Oh well! XD) I love your style of writing too; you had me laughing through all 5 reasons! Keep up the great work! :)
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