An Open Letter to the Girl Without a Prom Date
It's your friendly neighborhood radio DJ, Brittany Rose. Thanks for tuning in and listening to my rambling, and clicking and hopefully reading my rambling.
Let me start by saying, 'Happy Prom Season!' Or so they say, anyway. You've probably heard the lines a million times, "These are the best years of your life!", "You'll make so many life long memories!", etc. But as you've inched closer to this monumentous day that you've dreamed about since you were a kid, it's not shaping up quite as you had imagined.
I get it.
I remember when my junior year rolled around. I could have gone to prom the previous two years but typically the underclassmen didn't go unless they were dating an upperclassman. I immediately signed up to be on the prom committee. I wanted to immerse myself in this event. I wanted those memories. I wanted to have a hand in making the big day perfect.
January of that school year I found myself a boyfriend and he was a senior to boot! I'd be attending the prom with a boy on my arm. Things were going swimmingly, that is, until I got dumped, via a phone call, while I was in the car with my family. Great timing.
So a few months out from the prom I opened myself up to opportunity. Right? That's what it was, opportunity to find someone else. Spoiler alert, no prince charming appeared with a viral-worthy promposal.
I remember going prom dress shopping and finding my dress at Deb and being stoked that the one I wanted was on sale, $35, baby! It was a baby blue sparkly number. Nothing I would ever wear today, but for 2007 it was perfect.
Things started to really come together. The venue was booked (Taste of Maine in Woolwich), the DJ was hired, the theme was perfectly planned, A Red Carpet Affair.
Then tickets went on sale. We had a twofer deal but there I was facing my harsh reality, buying myself one lonely ticket.
I should also add I didn't have many close friends in those years. No "Hey, Brittany want to get ready at my place?" invitations came my way, no "Want to go in on a limo and show up in style?" offers.
"It's fine." I thought. This night is going to be fun! For my entire life TV shows and movies have promised that this night would be magical. MAGIC I TELL YOU! Honestly, I was just trying to convince myself at that point that I was going to have fun.
Sometimes I'd think too much about my situation and get pretty bummed about it. I imagined myself sitting alone munching on hors d'oeuvres. Dancing alone in the corner. Having that one teacher take pity on me and sit down and converse awkwardly. I thought about the fact that I still wasn't driving. How would I get there? MY PARENTS? Oh goodness no. Having Mom and Dad drop me off at the prom was like the cherry on top of my already seemingly pathetic night. So I went with plan B and got my older, recently graduated brother to drop me off. Only slightly better than the parentals.
Oh, and to top it all off, I ended up having a HUGE zit on my already huge forehead. F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C.
The day of the prom was exciting despite my circumstances. That morning (maybe the day before? I don't really remember now) consisted of setting up at the venue. I remember having fun with my fellow committee members, sucking helium out of balloons, making the venue look perfect.
I then went to the salon with my stepmother to get my hair done and spent the afternoon faking french tips on my fingernails and attempting a decent makeup job, something I don't think I really figured that out until recently, to be honest.
I remember arriving at the venue and feeling awkward walking onto the red carpet I had set up earlier in the day. There was a photographer and it just didn't feel right making this grand entrance by myself. I owned it though. The only thing worse than feeling awkward was looking awkward too.
Now you're probably thinking, "Brittany, a lot of what you're saying is depressing as heck. Why are you telling me this?!"
Bear with me.
I don't really remember what happened next. I probably found an empty seat near some friends. I probably felt out of place hearing about their pre-prom festivities.
Then I joined up with one of my friends whose date was being a real drag and basically ditched her.
Guess what? She and I ended up tearing up the dance floor all night. It was a blast. That's what I really remember, all the fun I had. Just being a silly teenager at prom. I didn't need a date. It wasn't the prom I dreamed of, but it's the one I got. And 12 years later I look back and I'm content.
The following year I did have a date and I can say with 100% certainty, I had way more fun the previous year.
Things won't always go the way you had planned. Especially during the teen years where literally everything is romanticized. Everything is supposed to be monumentous and wonderful and oftentimes, it's just not. And that's ok.
I don't have any epic after prom stories of drinking and partying at the popular kid's house. Or a slumber party with the girls. My dad picked me up. We went home. I took my hair down and took some pictures for MySpace. Then I went to bed.
I'll forever be the first one to say "screw you" to those who say your high school years will be the best of your life because honestly, I hope with all my heart that they aren't.
Life is much bigger than those walls of your high school, your hometown. The bigness of the world around me isn't something I really started to grasp until my mid-20's.
So you don't have a date. So what? You'll still have a good time. Or maybe you won't. Whatever happens, this is just one day out of thousands. You'll be able to make your own epic prom nights for yourself when you're older. Want to get dressed up head to toe and go out? You'll be able to. And this time it's on your terms. Maybe you're with your lady tribe maybe they're a group of ladies you haven't even met yet. Maybe a boyfriend, or a husband.
Your teen years are hard, but they're not forever. Work with whatcha got girl! It will be alright, from one formerly awkward, lonely, self-conscious teenager to another, I promise.