While I’m on a nostalgia trip in anticipation of my 50th college reunion in early June, I came upon this article about high school proms.
The junior and senior prom in my era, Kearny High School 1059-63, was of course fraught: if you didn’t have a date, you were beyond embarrassed. The prom was for heterosexual students only; no gay couples went. We did have a few black students; I don’t remember whether they were there or not. Quite improbably, because while I had a solid group of friends I was hardly among the popular crowd, I was chosen as Queen of the Junior Prom. No idea how that happened, then or now. Somewhere there is a pic of me with a highly hair-sprayed bouffant hairdo, a la Margaret Thatcher, and a yellow gauzy prom gown — short. In high heels all evening, I would have tripped over a long gown — plus I don’t remember that anyone wore one. By senior year I had broken up with my boyfriend and I went with a group of friends who worked on the newspaper, an uneven number of guys and girls. We took turns dancing, and I don’t remember feeling like a freak because I didn’t have my own date.
The prom was another of those rites of passage. You had to find some way to go, if only because not going marked you as a social outcast.
How about you? Did you school have a prom? Did you go? Any memories you’d like to share?