This weekend, the majority of my students will be primped within an inch of their lives. The girls will wear enough hair spray to shellac an entire clapboard house. They will slip into shapewear and dresses that are tight enough to require shapewear. They will paint their faces and wear shoes that squeeze their feet like Chinese foot bindings. And the boys, well, actually they'll just wear vests and shiny shoes--and maybe a little hair gel if they're really ambitious. That's right, people, it's prom season.
For me, prom was anticlimactic. I remember standing under the flowered arch with a very sweet boy with whom I imagined myself hopelessly in love, although he never knew it, posing for awkward and unnatural pictures and thinking, "This is it?" I remember the moment so vividly. My shoes were pinching my toes and my white rose corsage was too tight on my wrist. It wasn't exactly magical. That said, prom is a rite of passage in the United States. Prom has become the high school equivalent of the Kardashian marriage--dramatic, glamorous, and over quickly. It's just one night of dress-up and glitter and (let's be frank here) underaged drinking but for a lot of students, it's also the culmination of a twelve year school career. Can any of you think of a single high school movie that doesn't feature a dramatic prom showdown at its climax?
And it's not just movies that are obsessed with prom, there are plenty of books about it, too. For example...
Prom by Laurie Halse Anderson: Ash and Nat are best friends but their attitudes towards prom couldn't be more different. But then a teacher is caught embezzling the money from the prom fund and Ash, who really couldn't care less, gets roped into helping Nat keep the prom from being a total disaster. Bonus: Nat's crazy grandma is almost as cool as my own grandma, and that's really saying something.
Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg: I love me some Austen so I'm always interested in a good adaptation. Prom and Prejudice is a pretty faithful adaptation, probably because Austen is still so relevant today that very little needs to be changed. Essentially it's Pride and Prejudice with cars and Homecoming Court.
Prom Nights from Hell by Meg Cabot and a whole bunch of YA heavyweights: For those of you who are a little darker, this is a can't miss. Grim reapers, secret superheros, angels, and demons all come together to truly make prom a night to remember. Yes please.
Art Geeks and Prom Queens by Alyson Noel: New girl Rio is stoked when she finds herself making friends with Kristi, the most popular girl in school. But as she gets to know her new friends better, she starts to wonder how much of herself she's willing to give up for the sake of popularity.
Cindy Ella by Robin Palmer: Don't be fooled by the title, this one's actually an anti-fairy tale. Instead of being a simpering sweet girl who just wants Prince Charming, Cindy is a smart young lady who writes a scathing editorial about just why prom is idiotic. Sounds like social suicide, right? You might be surprised, the right pair of heels can save a girl from all ills. This one relies a little too heavily on clever wordplay and obvious puns but that's a fault I can pardon.
So when you find yourself suffering the post-prom blues, pick up a book about prom. The fun never has to end.