See, I picked my title very carefully here. I’m not going to rant about prom itself, because it wasn’t a bad experience at all. And I’m certainly not going to rant about the prom after party, because that was probably the most fun I’ve had in 2009 thus far. But getting ready for prom? Hoo boy…Here’s what I was thinking, going into this thing:

Step 1: Ask a girl.
Step 2: Buy a suit.
Step 3: Buy tickets.
Step 4: Show up.

Oh, how naive I was!

Prom is far, far more complicated than that. You can’t just buy tickets and show up. No, you’ve got to earn it.

It’s difficult to communicate extreme amounts of stress through the medium of an internet blog without getting incoherent, and in my attempt to find a middle ground I believe I’ve succeeded in sounding neither stressed nor coherent. But anyhow, here’s how prom really works:

Step 1a: Decide whether or not you want to bring a girl.

See, I didn’t want to at first. They’re so damn annoying, after all. A lot of unnecessary baggage. But, when I told my friends that I was considering flying solo, they flipped. Apparently I’m not allowed to not bring a girl. That would be uncool, and heaven forbid I do anything uncool on prom night. Peer pressure rears its ugly head.
Step 1b: Ask a girl.

This was actually the easiest step. And the simplest:

“Hey, feel like coming to prom?”

“Sure, whatever.”

“K.”

Next step.

Step 2/3: Pick a table/Buy tickets.

You’d think that this would be easy, but no.

Partway through my Tennessee trip, I got a text message from my buddy Alex, which said:

“I’m putting you in my table for prom.”

“Great.” I thought.“One more issue down.”

But no.

Upon returning from Tennesse, I noticed that Alex’s table consisted of a few people who I didn’t know very well. This would make for a poor evening. So, I told Alex that I would be going to another table. He asked for permission to fill my slot with another name, and I granted him this.

I started another table with two good friends of mine. The only problem was that the Powers That Be required a minimum of four names for a table. So we went to seek out a fourth person. Days went by, and we could find no one.

Then, one of those two friends informed me that he wasn’t going to be going to prom after all. This meant that we would need to find two more people. The other friend recognized how impossible this task would be, and left to join another table. This left me alone.

Quickly, I went to check the list. Alex had promised my spot to another person, but the other person hadn’t yet written their name down. Seeing my chance, I forked over my cash ($125!?!) and sealed my spot in that table, probably screwing someone else over in the process.

But I had my tickets and my table, so all was well. Now I was ready for the prom, right? Wrong.

Step 4: Book the limo.

My parents informed me that I needed to book a limo, because apparently it was uncool to arrive to prom in anything other than a limo. I was prepared to call a taxi, but, ever fearful of being uncool, I took steps to book a limo.

The bill? $374.

In order to reduce this, I would have to share the limo with other people. I didn’t mind this at all, since a ten seater limo for two people would have been superfluous anyhow. The problem was finding people to join us. Somehow, I was able to get it done, and thus reduce the cost to $75, but I can’t stress enough how difficult a task this was.

Step 5: What the FUCK is a corsage?

It’s a flower thingy, apparently. And you need to give her one, lest you be uncool. And it’s supposed to match her dress.

KA-CHING. Another $35 down the drain.

Step 6: Ties.

“Your tie needs to match her dress, or you’re not cool.” said my parents.

“No, that’s fucking ridiculous, I refuse!” I replied. Minus the expletive, of course.

And so I ended up rebelling against the laws of coolness for the first time. My tie was blue, and her dress was red. And you know what?  Nothing bad happened as a result of my rebellion.

Step 7: The afterparty.

I didn’t want to go to the afterparty because it would be full of drunk people. But you’re not cool if you don’t go.

$20 per person? Sure, why not.

Beyond financial issues, there was also the issue of getting to the place. We decided that a friend would drive us, but for whatever reason this didn’t pan out, and on the day of we ended up having the limo driver take us. For an extra $10 per person.

Step 8: Getting home.

The afterparty was going to end close to 4am. How the hell was I supposed to get home? And how was my woman supposed to get home? And how were the other 8 people in my limo supposed to get home?

After worrying about this for fucking DAYS, I decided that an “every man for himself” solution would be best for this. I planned a way to get home for myself, and let everyone else figure it out for themselves. And it worked.

…And then, many hours and $330 (not including the cost of a suit) later, I was finally ready for prom.

But I can’t stress enough how much effort putting all of this together was. What you see above is just an abridged version: I’ve left out such incidents as losing my tickets and misplacing $75 of the limo driver’s fee. It was beyond ridiculous, and I’m glad that I’m never going to have to do it again.

If I ever get married, I intend to just show up at the altar and let my woman do all of the planning. I’m not even kidding.

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