Prom Roundtable: The Magical Night Of Memories of Our Collective Lives

It’s prom season: a time of tulle, drunken limo rides and weird feelings of nostalgia for a high school experience everyone everyone claims to hate while they’re having it. When you’re queer, prom is a whole special adventure where you’re either out and maybe having to fight The Man or your family to have the night you want, or you’re NOT out, and maybe it feels like a sham, or at least like it isn’t quite what your heart wants it to be. Last year we gave you three decades of amazing queer prom pics. Now we’re back to share the gory details of our own prom stories, many of which involve date drama (sexuality-related or otherwise), several of which involved tears, and one of which features a feather boa. Are you ready? Share your own prom-related tales in the comments!

Laura M., Staff Writer

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I went to junior prom in 2004 with a boy from my karate class. He was a senior, and delightfully nerdy. He asked me to go with him over AIM, because that was how most meaningful interpersonal conversations were carried out during my high school years — in AIM, or over the chat function within World of Warcraft.
I remember being impressed with my date’s SAT score (1490) and the fact that he’d already earned his black belt. We were pleased with this photo because both of us agreed that he looked like Agent Smith in The Matrix. One time he asked me if I thought that he looked like Leonardo DiCaprio. I never answered.


Maree, Staff Writer

I somehow managed to go prom all four years of high school, which is a feat I hope I never have to repeat. Is there a word for that, like the prom equivalent of a hat-trick? A prom-dunk, maybe? Anyway, my junior year I went with my girlfriend, which did not necessarily seem like a big deal since we were pretty open about being together at school in general. I believe that since we were not especially cool, no one really cared? We went all out, outfits-wise: she essentially looked like a tiny mobster and I looked like a giant cupcake. I remember I wore fake eyelashes and one of them fell off during the parents/couples photoshoot at my friend’s house, and my mom ran to Target to get me a new one and then was sad she didn’t get as many pictures. I feel like generally it was a pretty typical suburban prom story, complete with a huge limo and dinner at the Outback Steakhouse. Our limo driver did get lost on the way to the dance, so we were late, BUT when my girlfriend and I went back to my house to change before the post-prom party that the school was throwing (you know, to keep us underage idiot children from drinking) I remember that my mom wasn’t there and that was when the night got REALLY GOOD ifyouknowwhatImean.

Slack for iOS Upload-2


Audrey, Staff Writer

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My best friend Steven invited me to our senior prom in a department store during our sophomore year. Two years later, it actually happened, because we were both way too queer and closeted to have actual relationships in high school. At the time, I was the only person he had come out to (and barely, at that) and I made a lot of defensive jokes about how obviously I wasn’t a lesbian (to be fair, I was right). High school in the suburbs! What a rush. On prom night, all our best friends piled into a too-small limo (I was sitting on the floor of it in the above pictured vintage sequined mini dress) and went and had a really fun, very sober time. The obvious highlight was when most of the guests had cleared out to go smoke shitty weed in their parents’ backyards and the DJ put on “Seasons of Love” from rent. The 100 or so stragglers, I kid you not, formed a giant circle and swayed together. Cheesy as all get out, but also one of my favorite memories from my teens, and maybe the gayest thing that’s ever happened. My current #1 semi-serious dream is that Steven and I go to our 10-year reunion together in drag so we can top it.


Maddie, Staff Writer

Junior prom was wholly unremarkable until long after the fact, when I discovered the boy I went with was queer when a friend of mine from college matched with him on Tinder.

By the time senior prom rolled around I had checked out of high school almost entirely. I was a mess. Prom was a mess. I went to prom with a group of friends but my official “date” was my best friend. My other friend who was having an after-prom party at her house invited me, but refused to invite my date because she rubbed her the wrong way. I was furious about because I thought she’d never have done that if I’d had a boy as my date, even if we were just going as friends. Then when prom finally arrived, my friend I went with spent literally the whole time talking to a boy who she then went on to date, leaving me to basically just sit there and feel unhappy and bitter. I went to no one’s after prom party, and instead went home and the next morning woke up and to drive to visit my friend who was in college, to prove to everyone just how over high school I was. The one excellent part about prom was that I made my own dress and it was really pretty.

obligatory pre-prom parent photo with Bruce

obligatory pre-prom parent photo with Bruce


Stef, Music Editor and Vapid Fluff Editor

I went to junior prom with a boy I’d met at a Marilyn Manson concert, because of course I did. We’d had desperate, furtive crushes on each other for years, but never at the same time. At the time I invited him, he was oblivious to my clumsy advances, and immediately afterwards, he figured it out (by which point I was disgusted and over it, of course). Anyway, the prom itself wasn’t very memorable but afterwards we’d rented a limo to drive us around New York and somehow we found a bar in Little Italy that would serve a bunch of 15-year-olds in formalwear. My date got incredibly drunk and ended up passing out in the back of the limo, facedown in my boobs. It was not the romantic prom story I felt I’d been promised.

You can't see my amazing black feather boa, but believe me, it was there.

You can’t see my amazing black feather boa, but believe me, it was there.

I didn’t go to senior prom; my best friend and I stayed home and rented Carrie. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.


Rachel, Managing Editor

I didn’t take M to the senior prom as my date, but I didn’t not take her as my date either, which was actually pretty emblematic of our intense friendship that spanned most of high school. We went with a group of other female friends, most of whom didn’t have dates, so our pairing didn’t particularly stand out. The whole group, including us, was incredibly tame; I don’t think any drinking occurred at all, which is maybe why the night was so remarkably unremarkable. The only drama I remember was an acquaintance crying briefly in the bathroom as she adjusted the silicone inserts inside her dress, and me thinking about how I didn’t know her well enough to comfort her but I liked her livejournal. The most major event of my personal magical night of memories occurred late in the evening, when slow songs started to come into heavier rotation. P, a perfectly nice dude who had carried a torch for me one-sidedly senior year, was really insistent about dancing with me, which wasn’t ideal. Luckily, M swooped in to rescue me, grabbing me to slow dance with her instead — definitely just a helpful gesture of friendship and not the best thing I could ever imagine happening, ever. Anyways, a few years later we both came out for real, and look at us now.

Technically this was "senior banquet," not prom, but close enough. We're second and third from the left.

Technically this was “senior banquet,” not prom, but close enough. We’re second and third from the left.


Riese, Editor-in-Chief

It’s a good thing I have pics ’cause otherwise I’m not sure I would remember what happened. I mean, I do have pics, and I still barely remember what happened. However, I imagine my memory is better than the memory of all of my friends, who were all drunk or on drugs at prom! JUST KIDDING! No wait, I’m not. They really were. I was not. I was a very well-behaved adolescent.

Anyhow, I went to a boarding school for the arts in Northern Michigan for my last two years of high school, a place where prom was called “morp,” your grade level was irrelevant to your participation, and we were transported to the hotel and then to the afterparty at a bowling alley and then back to our dorms via school bus. There wasn’t any stigma against same-sex couples attending, although most gay guys went with their female best friends for costuming purposes. I’d been waiting all my life to have a prom picture on my grandparents’ mantle that’d confirm my reputation as a Normal Person, rather than the Artsy Weirdo Dork Loser I suspected I was, and therefore I was pleased as punch to have a male date. Furthermore, I had no idea back then that I was even remotely queer and I had a lot of internalized homophobia against lesbians (but none against gay guys, who I thought were G-d’s gift to womynkind).

Junior year, 1998, my friends and I had the brilliant idea to make a bunch of fliers for an imaginary prom and plaster the school with them, in hopes of inspiring laughter and revelry. The prom theme that year was “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” which we thought was stupid. Our idea was much better:

nude-prom

Unfortunately, all the signs were removed by the next morning, which is very sad and also an invasion of free speech. I still wonder who took them down and if they had a nice chuckle.

I went to prom that year with my gay best friend who I guess at the time was also kinda my boyfriend? Despite his homosexuality, we’d managed to fall in love and lost our hetero-virginities to each other (he’d already been with men, I’d been with zero people, ever). The main thing I remember from this prom is that all of our friends were drunk or tripping on acid. We didn’t know that at the time, though, we just thought everybody was just really giggly because they kept laughing at us! We were in our own little world, I guess.

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Junior Prom 1998

According to my diary, re: this prom, “Last night was prom. We bowled and danced. The best part was the bus ride back.” Seriously my diary is gonna sell for a billion dollars at Sotheby’s one day.

Senior Prom is another event for which I have only the vaguest of memories. I recall that I attended and that I did so with my boyfriend at the time, and that somebody did my hair with tiny transparent aqua-colored butterfly clips that were very ahead of their time. It was only 1999, and I was definitely rocking a solid 2002 look.

prom

John had just bought his first really nice suit and I wanted my dress to match his shirt, which eventually lead me to the clearance rack at 5-7-9. I didn’t really like my dress, but I love when couples look matchy so it was worth the $25 or whatever, even though I never wore it again.

According to my diary, prom was “good.” I danced but mostly didn’t dance, because I can’t dance, so instead I let my boyfriend “dance with all these girls.” Also, “we had a fight at the bowling alley that we needed to have, and hopefully resolved things enough.” I concluded this compelling narrative with the following: “Who knows what could happen. I hope everything’s good forever.” WHAT A DREAMER I WAS.


Cameron, Cartoonist

I went to both my Junior and Senior proms, which is curious because I hated everything about prom. Dancing. Formalwear. Couples. Overt heterosexuality. Make-up. People I went to school with. It was like the perfect storm of everything that was the worst.

I never really dated in high school (probably because I was busy procrastinating confronting my own sexuality). But my best male friend asked me to junior prom, which I thought was a platonic ask, so I said yes. I was wrong. It was weird.  That was the catalyst for letting him know that sorry, nothing personal  but I was maybeprobablydefinitely vibing in a more Sapphic direction?

So. Before my senior prom, I spent a few weeks making grand plans to ask this girl I was totally in love with, Taylor. Over the course of some months, we’d established that there was some kind of romantical thing between us and she broke up with her girlfriend. Tay ended up being my first kiss, the first person I snuck around with for impromptu make-out sessions after school, the first person I exchanged mix CDs that included way too much Tegan & Sara with (actually, I think I got the entire discography from her), the first person I traded poor attempts at sexting with.

Anyway. I was totally ready to officially ask her to prom. By extension, that would also mean my public coming out (which I was terrified of; Tay wasn’t even publicly out yet), and we’d be the only out lesbians in our entire suburban Ohioan high school. Regardless, I planned to ask after she returned from her spring break trip in Florida.

Except that she came back with a girlfriend. A girlfriend who lived in Florida. A girlfriend from Florida who came up to Ohio and took her to the prom that I was going to ask her to. Heartbroken didn’t even begin to express how I felt.

Out of spite, I still went. I was in a prom group of six, including the guy who’d asked me to junior prom. Half of us ended up coming out as queer at some point.

I had fun. I don’t think I even looked at Taylor and her date. If I did, I don’t remember. I didn’t even feel that weird wearing a dress and heels. I spent most of the time with my prom group and/or commiserating with this guy, Jamie, about how much it sucked not being able to be at prom with the girls we wanted to go with. His crush Christina (one of my best friends), and Taylor were bffs. Jamie and I became best friends. The poetry of the situation wasn’t lost on us.

We went to an after-party Taylor’s house. Instead of going inside, Jamie and I sat under the stars on a trampoline with some of our classmates drinking SoCo out of the bottle, talking about whatever it is drunk teenagers talk about, and falling asleep on a couch hours later.

In the morning, I went back to my house with Christina. We made banana pancakes while she told me about how much she hated Taylor’s girlfriend. Partly because she thought it would make me feel better (it did), partly because she just genuinely hated that girl.

In conclusion: High school is dumb, prom is dumb. But six years later, Jamie, Christina, Taylor and I are super close friends, so I guess they’re not THAT dumb?


Alex Vega, Design Director

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I don’t know if she was my girlfriend at the time, technically. I was desperately trying to hold on to her, and prom season felt nostalgic because it was basically on the day of her prom one year before that we began our romantic relationship. Of course I wanted to bring her, but for awhile I wasn’t 100% sure that I should until a friend approached me in the hallway, “You’re bringing Jenny to prom, right?!” like it would be more outrageous if I didn’t bring her.

And I’m so glad I did, that we lived in an environment where I could. As we lined up for pictures in front of Ryan’s house, we overheard a concerned parent, “I think we’re missing two boys?” We laughed so hard. Prom was amazing for me for so many reasons: the surprising support, how little the gender of my date seemed to matter (if it did, I hardly knew), the night itself, the trip all our friends took afterward, but mostly that for one magical weekend I was Jenny’s girlfriend again.


Marni, Camp Co-Director

In Canada we didn’t call it “prom,” we called it “grad,” and I don’t think it’s quite as big of a deal to us as it seems to be in America, but who knows I’m sure there are plenty of Canadians out there renting horrible stretch-SUVs too. I wore a dress, which was weird because I have very MOC style and did at that time too (if unfortunately Birkenstock-centered), so it was that thing where I felt like I was in drag all night? My mom claims that I insisted on the dress but that seems dubious to me. Anyway! My high school was a relatively small one in downtown Ottawa with a nerdy reputation, and my experience there as an out babydyke lesbian from 1998-2002 was really not hard or upsetting at all, it was really nbd that I was gay and I knew that I was really lucky for that. It was such a not-thing that I went to grad with my girlfriend and that’s not even what this story is about. My gay best friend and I were among the only out people at our school, and we were together all the time (think Janice Ian and the gay guy in Mean Girls, only I was less goth and more army-pants-and-hemp-necklaces). So obviously we put our names in for grad “king” and “queen” (wait, maybe it is a thing in Canada? why did we have these titles?), me going for king and he for queen. And get this you guys: WE WON. I remember the DJ announcing it while everybody was on the dance floor. We went up and he put on the tiara and I put on the crown and we danced to “I’m Too Sexy.” After we graduated we moved into an apartment together in university and we hung our crowns on the lights over the mantle. I still have mine, 13 years later.

"We are doing model pose faces that's why we look so unhappy." - Marni Kellison

“We are doing model pose faces that’s why we look so unhappy.” – Marni Kellison


Aja, Beauty Editor

My prom story is about as far away from girl-on-girl as you could get, but I was eighteen years old, a very young mom, and a nervous wreck over being away from my 6-month-old daughter. (FYI: Mama guilt does not discriminate based on age.) I wasn’t even supposed to be allowed to go; evidently, getting knocked up when you’re a teen precludes you from scholastic milestones by way of school policy. Things like being in the yearbook, going to prom, and perhaps most stingingly, the pomp and circumstance of graduating at a ceremony alongside your peers, but I’d been an outstanding student, an overachiever, and my voice had helped to earn the school its sundry prestigious choral awards, and so the principal acquiesced to my polite request that I should be granted them anyway.

So away to prom I went. It was 1998. My dress a floor-length satin gown in creamy sea foam green, boning throughout the bodice, a keyhole halter neckline studded with rhinestones. Opera length gloves? Check. Massive corsage? Of course. Little comb tiara topping off a Disney princess hairdo? Lord help me, yes. It was held at the Galleria in the San Francisco Design Center, which seems a little like overkill in retrospect, but must have been so fancy and nice! I honestly couldn’t tell you, as the evening was a tiny bit overshadowed by the fact that I slowly leaked breast milk into that perfect dress. WHICH IS SO HILARIOUS TO ME NOW. It wasn’t a total disaster — I wasn’t, like, the Carrie of Breast Milk or anything — but it did put a damper on the evening. (LOL.) Not only did I survive it, but I managed to exceed a personal goal to nurse for just over a whole year, with only one other cringeworthy incident: SFO-ORD flight, someone else’s baby crying, and BAM. Better hope you brought another shirt on board, Seat 18D, or at least a bunch of extra nursing pads. Live and learn!

The dress did get a second act — a gay one, even — eventually. Four years later, I was in a very different place in my life: working at a nonprofit to support the kiddo and I, and when I wasn’t at work or sitting in a classroom in Berkeley, I was organizing student Town Halls or anti-war protests or budget cut demonstrations with my rad new friends, most of whom were Bikini Kill-lovin’ lady queers who didn’t mind being the village this young single mom needed. A pretty bi femme persuaded me to celebrate Halloween in the Castro with her, so I yanked the dress out of the closet at the 11th hour, utterly destroyed it through a combination of knife wounds, muddy boot trampling, just a touch of actual fire and splattered fake blood, et voila! Dead prom queen costume! I made my hair into a ratty, blood-matted mess, yanked the same old gloves and tiara on, forced my mascara to run, and terrified a small child or two on my way out of the door. We joined the revelry in the city, our little pack of East Bay Riot Grrrl dykes, and it was like being in my own dreamy version of a John Hughes movie.

Long story short: If that prom dress could talk, I’m pretty sure she’d say, “I’ll take a night of supremely unhinged queer debauchery over a posh formal prom ANY DAY.”

Adrian is a writer, a Texan and a sometimes-heretical Presbyterian. They write about bisexuality, gender, religion, politics, music and a whole lot of feelings at Autostraddle and wherever fine words are sold. They have a dog named after Alison Bechdel. Follow Adrian on Twitter @audreywhitetx.

Adrian has written 140 articles for us.

37 Comments

    • American high school is generally 4 years (Freshmen, Sophomore, Junior, Senior). How prom works depends on what high school you go to. Usually there aren’t any underclassmen (freshmen or sophomore) proms and you’d only go those years if someone older invited you as their date. The upperclassmen (junior and senior) sometimes have a combined prom and sometimes have separate ones. (So, like, if you’re a senior dating a junior you might go to prom twice in one year.) At some schools prom only happens junior year or only a senior year. I could go on about the variations but that answers your question.

  1. Reading this was the perfect way to start my Friday. Thanks for sharing all of your stories lovelies! So many hilarious moments.

    My own prom story is fairly boring–I went with my best out gay guy friend and a group of our friends, danced a bunch, went to a comedy club in the city, and had brunch at a diner and went to the beach the next day–but my favorite thing that came out of it was something I didn’t realize until this year. I spent all of prom swooning over one of my friends, which i chalked up to her just looking so amazing and different than usual (she was a jeans and sweatshirt kinda girl, so to see he so jazzed up for prom was very different) because denial (i identified as straight-ish/possibly bi at the time). Anyway, we ended up taking a picture together, which i then ended up putting in one of those cheesy “best friends” picture frames and bringing to college with me. Fast forward to now, nearly 7 years later, and we’ve been together for a year and 18 months. I laugh every time I look at that photo now.

  2. It was called a ‘formal’ here in Australia and I went alone and spent most of the evening trying to chat up my chemistry teacher who I’d had a massive crush on for two years. One of my brothers and his friends (they of the suspicious smelling orange combi) were the band and played loud music very badly but I don’t think anyone noticed because this was the 80’s and bad loud music played by long-haired boy-men in tight jeans was the style. And I got voted person most likely to take over the world… which I’m still working on. My mum has a picture of what I wore somewhere in her vast collection of photos but I still haven’t managed to find it and burn it.

  3. Those are some cute photos and interesting stories from you guys. =)

    I didn’t go to my senior prom; that year, I used that weekend to go and visit my dad instead. I did go to promo during my junior year, with the guy I was dating at the time (A guy I really should not have been dating, as I was 16 and he was 24, and no, I still don’t know what the hell I was thinking). I also didn’t really have a group to go with, so it was just him and me. We had our prom dinner at Checkers, seriously, because I told him that’s what I wanted. And I managed to at least avoid getting ketchup on my dress.

  4. I hated prom. I didn’t want to do the whole “lets remember our last year of high school” bit that other seniors live for. I figured that if anything I would just hang out with friends and drink….

    Well a month before prom there was a senior luncheon that I didn’t go to, I stayed at school and just chilled with my french teacher. Her phone starts blowing up and every other teacher was actively searching for me. They had just announced who was valedictorian of my class and I had to meet with the dean. She found out I was not participating in any activities and when she asked why, I said my family did not have the money (which was very true since we didn’t even have food at home) and she paid for every thing, including prom. My mom made me go since the dean paid. I had to wear a dress! I spent years trying to avoid the day of prom and there I was wearing a damn dress. I did not have a date but neither did my friends. I remember being asked to danced by some girls and I was very awkward. Pictures were taken and I will find them and destroy them.

    There was some drama that night too. I was the cause of it I am ashamed to say. Hey, I was in a very dark place that year. All I know was that I punched one of my former friends and pretty much pissed everyone off. I forgot why I was so mad other than the dress.

  5. Like Maree, I pulled a dance ‘hat trick’ and went 3 out of 4 years, to one Morp and two Proms. I went to all three of them with the same dude… my long-term boyfriend at the time. They were all equally boring and equally uneventful. Not to say I was suffering or anything, I was just legitimately boring and did high school by the books. I didn’t even kiss a girl until I was 22 (lame, eh?).

    Here’s my Junior Prom, for kicks. It was 2006 (christ, it was ten years ago?) and the theme was Keane’s ‘Somewhere Only We Know’.

    I’m on the right with my curly-haired boydatefriend.

  6. I went to freshman homecoming, junior prom, and senior homecoming

    Within the first half hour of junior prom, a girls halter top broke open on the dance floor, and she flashed everyone. I got one of the maids at the hotel to find me a sewing kit so I could fix her dress while she wept in the bathroom, but once sewn it was too tight, so she cried for a few hours I think.

    IDK because at that point I was made aware that there was a CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN WITH FRUIT AND POUND CAKE and p much spent the night eating obscenely in the lobby with two weirdos who talked about CSPAN the whole night

    Two girls who barely knew me and were kind of mean told me I looked “really pretty” and “like a movie star”, which was sweet but also they seemed Very Surprised

    Anyway it was terrible, but the food was so great

  7. I went to both junior and senior prom and they were both kind of shitty – at junior prom I had just worked up the courage to ask a girl out and then found out she was dating someone else and felt like shit for the rest of the night (and ended up getting slightly drunk because someone else in my year had smuggled in a flask of vodka and shared it with me). Senior prom was shitty for a totally different reason (polyamory is not for everyone and it is especially not for me and I really really really regret dragging it out as long as I did).
    (and I didn’t even get to wear a suit for any of them because the one time I even suggested it, my mother blew up at me and I ended up crying in my room.)

  8. My own prom story was… Well, I asked this girl out and then two days before the prom she started dating a close friend of mine? But she still came to the prom.

    And then I slow danced with a different friend’s platonic date who was wearing this gorgeous red dress and y’all I still think she’s the prettiest girl in the world and I thirst-follow her on instagram.

  9. I went to senior prom “”””as friends”””” with my close friend that I’d had the hugest crush in the world in all year. I was very, very closeted—for no reason other than that I couldn’t deal with coming out—but that crush is what made me admit my queerness to myself. And then she asked me to prom and I spent a weekend high-key freaking out/falling apart until I could (ultra-casually in the middle of a message about something else) clarify that we were going as friends.

    I think we danced together, and we definitely took a few photos together*, and then our group went bowling and then to Waffle House at like 2am and I made myself sit at a different table from her because I think I was freaking out again, but then I think we fell asleep holding hands anyway. We hung out a lot over the summer and *definitely* fell asleep cuddling at a few movie marathons and then went off to separate colleges in the fall and then two months later we were dating.

    We broke up about a year later and aren’t in touch anymore, but while we were together it was a pretty good story. I wish it weren’t all tied up in my Baby Queer Crisis, but I still remember it fondly.

    *photos not included because she/her friends might read Autostraddle and I don’t want to violate her privacy

  10. We didn’t have prom in England back in my day, we had a 5th year leavers ball (age 16ish) and a 6th form leavers ball (age 18ish). These took place after major exam seasons so were in the summer and my birthday was after them. You couldn’t bring dates from other schools, or other year groups, which is how this mess happened…

    I attended 5th year with the other gay person in my year, bless him, he asked me because it “made sense” the pictures are somewhere and hilarious. Me with a Ross crop in a dress…lord, and him attempting manliness whilst wearing a dashing scarf, and white bow tie. I spent the night chatting up a straight girl because I was an idiot baby dyke.
    (2 years later there are similar images of me but going stag…with some vague attempt at an Angel from Buffy hair style, again in a figure hugging black dress… Christ. My poor butch self did it for the folks. Hell I even wore a dress to my BA grad for them, after which I swore never again.)

    At my 6th form ball I had split up with my first great love – the straight girl I chatted up at 5th year leavers and dated for 18 months…and guys I let her drive my extremely drunk ass home. The event was at a local hotel, with a sit down dinner and then a dj and dancing. My teachers told me I wasn’t allowed to buy alcohol because I was 17, but they also said it didn’t mean my friends couldn’t buy me alcohol. I gave them all my money and drank what I was given, I vaguely remember tequila and beer. We were seated boy-girl at dinner, the dude next to me gave me his hip flask because my ex was on his other side, and he could see me falling apart. I remember very little of the evening other than the fact that it was BAD. The break up had been bad, I’d moved on to spite her, I had lovebites, it was just the worst, and I was wearing a dress.

  11. Prom was big in my family. Older cousins tried to pull the Prom Hat Trick and succeeded but I didn’t quite understand the whole shebang, was far too awkward to pursue dates or rope them in. By in large my high school career cycled between two rumors ‘oh this girl must be a lesbian’ (something I didn’t care about one way or the other seeing as it seemed perfectly logical to me to be an option: you don’t like boys? well, there are girls. Try that. Awkwardly. Same results but better emotional bonds) and ‘she’s going to end up with her best guy friend’ (which was a no-go by me because I would have murdered him)

    The primary memory I have about Senior prom was this: I wanted to go. Most people I’d heard talk about not-going regretted it so I did, honestly, want to go.

    But my mom was more traditional than I was. I don’t remember what she said exactly but it sort of boiled down to: only boys can go stag.

    And no one was going to ask me–and I could neither ask a guy out (which I didn’t want anyway) nor ask a girl out (it was THE SOUTH) even as friends

    Guy-Friend was asking a younger friend to go with him and through the power of shitty teenager drama on AIM he said something. I, again, don’t remember what but for the first time since the school bus driver threatened me with being written up for not riding her bus: I was in public tears.

    And that is how I was allowed to go to prom stag. Because it freaked my mom out so much. She also didn’t let me see how much my dress cost–but that may be unrelated.

    We went as a large group where some people had dates and some didn’t. There was no limo–we just all piled into another friends super sexy minivan (said friend went to dinner with us and after party but not prom), danced, and then had a non-alcoholic boardgame filled after party. I might or might not have still ended up topless at one point but I promise: no alcohol needed.

  12. I didn’t go to prom, nor did my buddy, so we just went to the movies, and bought a cds(I want to say tower records, but maybe it was fye). We did go to after prom, which a relative(same age and went to the same hs) was hosting with his brother. It was at the Fonda Theater in Hollywood. The promised musician never showed up, classmate made said he could get a few LA rappers to come, but oversold it. Instead they hired a classmate’s band to perform. He had an ego as big as the venue(it’s not hard when your father owns a billboard and puts an add for your cd on there), which lead to some problems. He was told he could play only 5 songs, but he did 10 and refused to get off stage the whole time. No one was on the dance floor, and most where actually heckling him the whole time, my buddy and I were part of heckling. And of course there was booze, but it was mostly cheep vodka and beer(odd considering the hs I went to school). Bathrooms were packed with people either doing drugs they took from their parents, or people having sex. I sadly don’t remember if there were any queer couples. I think most people after that took their limos to a hotel, I went home and had a nice sleep.

  13. While prom dress shopping for my older sister, my mom told me that if I was ever going to prom I was going to have to wear a dress. In retrospect, I should have just never gone to prom because tbh it just wasn’t worth it as the Life Event it was hyped up to be

  14. These are ah.mazing.

    Prom was super weird for me because I was in this group of “friends” (they were so mean to me, whyyyyyy did I still think they were my friends? high school is STUPID) where no one dated for all four years – not for like religious reasons or anything, just no one did. But then EVERYONE was like “must find a man for prom or we’ll die” and then everyone went after the same boys and it got brutal and just felt like all the drama you should have spread out over four hellish years was shoved into a couple of hellish months. (obvi the rest of high school was hellish too, just differently).

    Prom itself was OUTSIDE at Sony Studios, which sounds cool but was definitively not cool. We had to go through metal detectors to get in and get very invasively patted down. Also a breathalizer if they suspected you of being drunk (or racial profiled you).

    We thought there would be dinner so my best friend/date (legit platonic) and I were very adult on not gorging ourselves on the taquito appetizers.
    YOU GUYS THERE WAS NO DINNER, IT WAS JUST THE TAQUITOS. This is not a good decision for people who are already drunk and 17. We were sober because #NerdyGoodKidsWithoutFriends but still. THERE WAS NO DINNER.

    A boy flirted with my friend and kissed her on the neck which was SCANDAL because #NerdyGoodVirgins but then he never called her so she and I had a sleepover at my house where we talked about how excited we were to get the fuck out of high school and away from all the bitches.

    Also we rode to prom in a limo with 20 other girls without dates. I had never seen any of them before in my LIFE. It was not fun. On the way back we had 20 extra minutes in the limo so he drove us around to nowhere and then made a uturn on a highway to drive us home and left us all in the middle of a street.

    I wore a dress that was every single shade of pink and I thought it looked great. Not ironic.

  15. My prom is this June (I know, I am a child) but I went to my girlfriend’s last year and it kind of sucked. We had cute outfits and it was kind of cool being the only queer couple, but the music was awful and the food wasn’t good. We left a little bit after dinner, it wasn’t even dark outside yet. I’m kind of excited for this year’s, though, I’m on the commitee and we’ve been throwing around some really good ideas.

  16. My prom was a long time ago (1987) – I wore an electric blue cocktail style dress that my mother made and it was actually pretty rocking. I went with my group of best female friends and their dates and some guy who was my date. At that point in my life I wasn’t consciously aware of being bi or being attracted to women so my prom experience was not at all queer. It was pretty fun though – I loved dancing with my friends. We were nerdy good kids so I think the most elicit thing that happened was one of our dates shooting bottle rockets in the parking lot.

    One of my best friends decided not to break up with her boyfriend until after prom (she now admits that this was a terrible idea, but everyone at the time, including her own mother, told her to wait until after prom so she did) – so the big entertainment of the night was watching them make each other miserable until they finally broke up.

  17. My school didn’t have prom so I soak all of these stories up and love them, because popular films have told me I should have had a “prom moment” even though it isn’t even a thing here?!

    I think they had some kind of ~fancy~ dance for 6th years, but I left in 4th year, so obviously didn’t go.
    My school didn’t really have any formal events, but we DID have an annual Band Night, which my best friend and I lived for. Also, the Halloween Disco, which was essentially our prom because we were “those” teenagers.

  18. I loved high school dances because I was officially That Kid in high school. I liked to dress up, and go to Olive Garden before the dance, and then take pictures with The Girls (one nice one and one Charlie’s Angels pose, obviously). I was recently looking through some old photos to send to the high school reunion committee, and I don’t regret because that annoying teenage girl one bit because I love how happy I look in those pictures.

    I went to senior prom with my good friend who was a sophomore. Flash forward about 8 years and I went on an Okcupid date with a girl two years younger than me who I didn’t realize I went to high school with. Turns out she went to prom with the same boy two years later. Spoiler alert: we’re all very gay.

  19. Hm let’s see…

    Not prom but a friend’s homecoming, I got kicked cause I was dancing to Hips Don’t Lie too well.
    A junior prom where I was plus one I wore a legit ball gown, freak danced, and almost came in public. It was one of those prom where girls wear cutouts or mini dresses and boys sometime wear just a vest and no shirt and the dance floor is very sweaty and smells like sex. Needless to say I stuck out like sore thumb but was having too much fun to care and once I started dancing no one seemed to care either.
    My junior prom was one of those stuffy affairs with chaperoning and no grinding allowed, but I did get up and dance to I think it was Shakira or Ricky Martin. Earned a twofer crude remark so I took off a shoe and threaten those assbutts with it. I have mad respect for femmes in general, but realising how easily heels can be weaponised makes me want to remind other people they best be damn respectful too.
    Or else.

    My senior prom I wore a slinky red dress and didn’t get to dance but did manage to squeak by the dress code with even with the slit in said dress. I loved my thighs
    But my school does this after party thing for senior prom to tempt kids into not going out partying, boozing and getting into car wrecks.
    It’s like a fair or carnival and was so much fun, nearly everybody goes.

    And I think I rocked fingerless gloves to all of those.
    Also one of the bitchy girls who would say nasty things about a friend of mine when she though I couldn’t hear tried to L (for loser) finger me in a group shot so I bunny eared her back. I may have rather forcefully stepped on her foot with the point of my heel too and another friend shoulder checked her in the loo on my suggestion, allegedly.
    Never have I claimed to be nice person, but when it comes to me and mine don’t start none won’t be none. >_>

  20. WAIT omg I forgot to mention why I didn’t go to senior prom:

    This guy who had been asking me out since freshman year, but who had laid low sophomore and junior years, presumably to plan, asked me to senior homecoming

    *through a friend, like we were 12*

    And I said no, obviously, because this boy came to my house when I hadn’t given him my address and was sort of like being followed by a baby duck except instead of cute and amazing it was stressful and terrible

    So I turned him down, and he came to homecoming alone, and sort of just

    Watched me dance

    The entire night

    Later he got me a rose on valentine’s day, bought me a $60 ticket for the senior field trip (I wasnt going), got me tickets to a concert for who knows how much $ (again, I turned him down), learned my work schedule,etc

    IT WAS A LOT OF FUN*

    *the worst it was the worst

    • So yeah I was avoiding my tiny baby duckling / stalker

      Also no one could confirm to me that there would be another chocolate fountain, so honestly why bother?

      I went to one whole football game, three whole dances, and managed to survive high school without knowing we had volleyball, lacrosse, or swim teams

      So all in all I think I made it out relatively unharmed

  21. I deeply regret my prom. I had the best dress–black with ice green trim and silver vines embroidered down the side–and my aunt did a beautiful job with my hair and my grandparents and parents were so happy. But I was unhappy. I went with my boyfriend of three years and he dressed to match me and was thrilled about going to prom even though he was three years out of high school. My heels hurt and I was anxious and annoyed by him and annoyed that I didn’t go with my friends or even attempt any before/after parties because my bf was a shut in who disapproved of underage partying or drinking and wanted to be in bed by 10:00.

    I couldn’t figure out why I felt numb and unhappy and restless while everyone else had a great time at our low-budget, super diverse, super queer prom. I couldn’t figure out why I was intensely, seethingly jealous of the gay guys in dresses and butch-femme lesbians in their suits and finery. We left early as planned with me having not danced at all and feeling nothing but foot pain and jealousy towards those brave enough to come out (something I didn’t do for another two years). I wish I could do it over, go with a girl in a tux like I desperately wanted to, and actually have fun instead of feeling like an imposter.

    I guess I’ll just have to make up for it at my gay gay wedding this year. 🙂

    • Tip: Either chose low thick heels or just take ’em of if you’re really gunna dance it out on the dance floor.
      And if your dress is too long and poofy to go sans heel without dragging maybe have second dress just for dancing.

      Remember to hydrate and dance your heart out kiddo.


      To making up for et.

  22. i looked like the most perfect version of myself, and i was exhausted, and my boyfriend started doing the robot, and i burst into tears and asked if i could please go home because i just *couldn’t* with how ridiculous he was. he was two years older than me and very into my high school friends thinking he was v cool and amusing. thus the robot(?).

  23. I went with a date I was sort-of dating the year before I graduated, and my graduating year, my best friend and I made a promise to each other in about September that we’d be each others’ dates because we’d be alone forever, and by the spring my best friend wasn’t alone at all and I kind of wanted her to be my for-real date. So I went with some friends and my friend’s awful boyfriend and maybe another less-awful boyfriend or two, and it was wholly unmemorable except for a photo of us all in our very gothy dresses I have somewhere.

  24. I didn’t go to junior prom, but I did go to senior prom and had a better time than I ever thought I would. At the end of senior year, we had formed a pretty strong friend group and everyone was basically going as a group, even the couples. And it wasn’t weird at all that most of us didn’t have dates. The gay guy in our group asked me to be his date and I thought it was a joke and I guess he didn’t as much, and I didn’t realize until we were taking pre-prom photos and he brought me a corsage and I didn’t have a lapel flower for him. I already had a corsage my mom had given to me so another girl wore his lol.

    Our school had the genius idea that if you have graduation the day after prom, then no high schooler will drink. Sure. So after prom there was a school sponsored post-prom in the cafeteria and my friend won a car there in a raffle. Then after that we went to someone’s house. There was this weird thing going on a boy, we both had a crush on each other (i think) and everyone was waiting for us to get together and when we were drunk we always flirted like we did prom night (where we wore matching colors unknowingly). I was salutatorian and had to give a speech at graduation and everyone was like “oi kaitlyn you were still doing shots at 7am this morning, loved the speech!”

    My dress was real pretty too. I still have it and wish I had reasons to wear it besides when I just wear it watching tv by myself on the couch. The only problem prom day really was that my mom was really insistent on going to a hairdresser to get my hair done, and like any repressed non-straight, I had #problems with my hair so I panicked the whole time at the hairdresser, hated it, and then just pinned all my hair up just like I always did anyway, wasting the whole hairdresser excursion.

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