On Friday, I graduated from Michigan State University. On Saturday, I went to my high school's prom.
I thought about it. I never got to go to a prom in high school, mostly because I didn't ever have a date for it myself. (It's not mandatory to have a date to go to prom, but most people do.) On the other hand, it's pretty strange to go to prom if you're 22 and graduating from a university, not from high school. But my curiosity got the best of me, and I said I'd go.
Renting a tux was the most important preparation. This turned out to be really, really expensive: over $100! For one night's use of a tux! I don't understand this at all. I bought a new suit this spring, and paid only about twice that. What's the difference between a tuxedo and a suit, anyhow?
After this I had a week to deal with my classes and a few days for moving home from the dorms. Then it was the big day. I cleaned out the car, went to the flower shop to pick up Jodie's corsage, and picked up Jodie. The four of us got our pictures taken by excited parents (I will put some of these up on my pictures page later) and we headed off to the restaurant to eat. At the restaurant we met up with another couple, Julie and Tony.
The dance itself was of course the focal point of the evening. It lasted from eight o'clock until eleven thirty and was held in the Grand Ledge Opera House. This was a big rectangular room with a second-floor balcony facing inward around the perimeter, decorated with balloons and flowers.
I practiced my charm on some of the women there who seemed to me to stand out. Compliment her dress, take her hand and kiss it, bow, exchange pleasantries. This is not always appreciated, but often enough. Late in the night, one woman said to me, ``You're the first gentleman I've met here tonight.'' This made me happy; up until then I hadn't decided whether I was being charming or merely sappy.
After the dance itself, we all went home to change and met at Tim's house about 1:00 a.m. We got in my van and drove to the casino in Mt. Pleasant and played the nickel slots for a couple of hours, then drove home. By then it was 6:00 a.m. or so. We dropped off Julie and Tony at their car parked outside Tim's house, and went to a restaurant for breakfast. Then we went back to Tim's house for the final time. I took Jodie home, then went home myself, read for a while, then went to sleep.
It was fun, but it was a lot more expensive than it needed to be. I had just as good a time a few months ago at MSU's Honors College Ball or ``geek prom'', which was much cheaper. All in all, I guess I'm glad I've been to a prom now, but I don't think there'd be a reason to go to more than one. It's just not as special as it's made out to be.
1. If you're not from the United States, you might not know what a ``prom'' is, so I'll explain. A prom is a formal dance held by and for the upperclassmen in a high school. Traditionally, men rent tuxedos, women buy fancy dresses.
2. Jodie and Laura had ordered both their own corsages and the boutonnieres for Tim and me. They probably thought that we would have forgotten if they'd left it up to us. Not true; this is one of the parts of protocol I understand.