Wednesday, May 2, 2012

That Time I Took a Lawn Flamingo to the Senior Prom...

This morning I was reading a lovely reader contributed post by Laurel Schwartz over at Hello Giggles and it brought back so many memories of High School, particularly my senior prom. I had resigned myself to being dateless pretty early on. I was pretty religious in High School. As a matter of fact, I was Vice President of Student Venture (the Bible club) and there was this book circling around the Christian girl social circle called "I Kissed Dating Goodbye"- which in retrospect, the movement really worked in my favor because, you know, they can't fire you if you already quit. The whole premise of the book was that dating was just a bad idea and that you shouldn't date until you are ready to get married and then you don't call it dating- you call it "courting". So, since it's a totally normal thing for a high school girl to do- I made a promise to God that I wouldn't date at all in High School. I was also raised with enough of a Polyanna complex and a good dose of Christian guilt to know that if I welched on a promise to God that I would certainly be struck down by lightening or would be kept off the VIP list at the pearly gates. Suffice it to say, I am not religious anymore.

Homecoming 2001. Manic Panic magenta wig and homemade shawl. Yeah- I was that girl.

I figured out that Hollywood (and my older cousins) lied to me about what high school was really like pretty early on- so it started out with lots of disappointments. My freshmen year I was expecting to be creeped on by senior boys, I thought I'd automatically have some social standing because I was a cheerleader and it turned out the theater kids were the ones who were boning and smoking all the time. What?!?! Where were all of the Dylan McKays? Where were the Murrays? Where were the Heathers? High school wasn't heaven or hell- it just was. I was just this goofy turbo-virgin who shopped at thrift stores, went to shows and just chilled.  I thought High School would be full of boyfriends, dates, dances, dudes who just hung out and threw footballs in cropped tops after school (I'm talking to you, hot guy from Teen Witch) and once I figured out that places like The Max and The Peach Pit just don't exist- I paved my own way and had a great time.  I stopped worrying about being popular and just did my own thing. I'd always marched to the beat of my own drummer- and trying to fit in just didn't feel authentic. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast and if I could for just a week travel back to the time when my biggest concerns were what I was going to wear to school, what sweater I would buy with the $50 check from working part time and which cart I'd buy lunch from I'd jump at the chance. Just for a week, though, because I do enjoy my life now as a grown up.

Lawn flamingo love... how glorious was my hair?!

Remember when I said Hollywood lied to me? Prom was no exception. However, by my senior year I figured out that Usher would never DJ my prom and there would be no group dance to "The Rockefeller Skank" by Fatboy Slim. I also figured out that I wasn't going to bring a date- because I wanted to have a good time. My parents were terrified of me discovering sex in high school and I can guarantee that if I had a date, I'd have had to be home at 10pm on the dot and have a parent chaperon. Apart from that, nobody had asked me anyway and my girlfriends and I always had the best times just hanging out with each other. My mom's friend Shirley made my prom dress and the five of us piled into my parent's Mercury Villager mini-van and headed to La Jolla. We split the cost of a suite at the Holiday Inn Express. We ate burritos and helped each other get ready. Piled back into the van and headed to the Hyatt and danced the night away. I've always had an obsession with all things kitsch and lawn flamingos have always had a special place in my tacky teenaged heart (they still do) so I just brought a lawn flamingo as my date. It made for great conversation eleven years ago and it makes for a great story now. I didn't go to any after parties. I didn't lose my virginity on prom night. We woke up the following morning and met up with some friends at McDonalds and drove home... and I wouldn't change that for all of the Zack Morrises in the world.

Prom self photo... from a Fun Saver camera.

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