As a homeschooler, my prom experience wasn't exactly the kind of thing you see in the movies. Instead of a giant museum hall filled with balloons, streamers, and an amazing DJ, I had a boombox and some microwave taquitos.
Okay, that might be an overstatement. Honestly, I didn't go to prom … which makes it weird that I'd be writing about it for all of you guys getting ready for it. So to fill in my gaps in prom knowledge, I asked around the Life Teen staff to come up with some tips for making the big dance a night to remember.
Don't fear parents.
You're almost at the end of high school, almost through the gateway of becoming an independent adult. It can seem like prom is the perfect time to cast off your parents and ‘Ìâ‰âÂÌâèÏbe your own person,' but you can actually have a great time getting them involved. You might not want your dad to be the DJ, but having dinner at someone's parents' house can save you money and build trust between you and them. If your parents are willing to help out or get involved, don't be too quick to shrug it off.
And guys … every dude older than you remembers that super-awkward moment when they had to wait for their date to finish getting ready. You. Parents. Living room. Awkward. Here's how to burst that uncomfortable bubble: take initiative and be yourself. If you're trying to live out your faith, there's nothing you need to hide from them (and nothing that'll make your date's dad have to show you his gun collection). Be respectful, stay relaxed, and give them as much info as you can. Remember … parents love knowing what's going on.
The more, the merrier.
A good date is important … if having a good time is your goal, make sure that you're going with someone you actually get along with. Status is no reason to put up with a date that doesn't actually want to hang out with you. There's nothing wrong with taking a good friend to prom, and if you're going to actually make it a date date it probably shouldn't be the first one. That's just putting a lot of unnecessary pressure on both of you.
Whether you have a date or not, going to prom in a group is always a good plan. It makes sure you have people to talk to and hang out with, cuts down the cost of transportation and dinner, and lets you create your own dance-within-a-dance if things get sketchy on the dance floor.
Take a breath.
Prom is a fun, once (or twice) a lifetime kind of thing … but it's not going to be the most important night of your life. It takes a lot of prep work (and money), but ladies, it's not your wedding. When push comes to shove, you're going to a dance with your friends. The more you relax and focus on having a good time, the less pressure you'll put on yourself (and your date) to make it into something out of a Nicholas Sparks book.
Stay true to who you are.
There are a lot of people trying to sell you an idea of prom. Maybe it's that independent streak that kept me wearing punk rock jackets and Chuck Taylors in high school, but I think you need to be yourself. If that means picking a weird suit or dress, getting hamburgers for dinner, or even spending some time in the Chapel before or afterwards.
Most of all, stay Catholic. Live out your values and have a good time. Hooking up or getting drunk aren't going to leave you with anything other than regrets and bad memories the next morning. Like I said before, if you're living for God, those shouldn't be in your plans anyway.
Oh, and one last thing. If your date's wearing white, don't order the spaghetti with red sauce. Trust me.