Monday, May 17, 2010

Vintage Cringe: School Dances

I challenge anyone within the 50 US states above the age of 20 to tell me in good faith with a christian twinkle in their eye that all proms, winter formals, and homecoming dances were not the most cringe events in their delicate teenage existences. Because they're wrong. Or lying. Or now work at JC Penney and start every sentence "hey girl hey"

Coming back to my mother's house, I was reminded of this fact in quite spectacular fashion when I opened up a lesser-used closet to find what can only be described as the most horrific beast of barbie-pink tulle loafed on the floor. For a second I wondered whether Elton John had stopped by and pooped in my closet, but after I worked through my repressed high school memories, I was disgraced to realize that the decaying flamingo explosion was actually my Junior Homecoming dress. Great, thanks for that one Betsey Johnson.

Recalling the horrific memories that I will probably need counseling for at some point, I realized that this sacrilegious mess of psychotic pink rage was by no means the worst part of these evil school-orchestrated 'dances', and in fact the whole evening was created at the sadistic humor of faculty members at the cost of their students dignity. From beginning to end, the whole night is like a continuous chain of cringe:

1. The Date

First of all, if you were awkward, slightly overweight, and rejected tweezers like I did, finding a date was by no means a small feat. It is so easy for parents to judge and giggle over their evening sherry when some acned fool drops by in a 1989 Ford wearing a tuxedo last worn by their father in 1977. Waiting awkwardly in the living room, making strange conversation with your mum as he tries to pretend that his glove compartment is not stocked full of condoms and that he made a bet that he would at least see your daughter's nipple by the end of the evening. Sorry mum, but that was the only one desperate enough to take me out, and the only one who had a car so I wouldn't have to drive myself (I had some dignity, you know).

2. The Dress

My mistake is upstairs in my closet, so if anyone wants to pop around and have a good laugh, the door's always open. If you need anything to fuel your campfire, I'm pretty sure it's as combustible as they get. Equally, if you are planning a terrorist attack, whilst it might be slightly more embarrassing to explain coming through security, I guarantee you it will be easier to get on the plane than a bomb and equally as effective due to the many layers of synthetic fabric of which it is comprised. You could also use it to smuggle Mexicans through the border since it flairs out about six feet. Someone. Please. Take. It.

3. Getting Ready

For guys, I'm guessing this involved jerking off to youporn in order to practice their skills and hone their technique for the evening. For girls, the whole process is comparable to preparing troops for a major assault on enemy combatants. The hair, the nails, the makeup. So much time is devoted for such little results. In fact, I'd argue that the whole process actually negates the whole 'beautifying' idea as one ends up with about five layers of foundation on one's face and about five cans of hairspray in one's hair which leaves one looking more like a drag queen than a prom queen and will actually melt on the dancefloor once one gets one's groove on and starts to sweat profusely. Some element of alcohol is also probably involved, although to go to one of those things again I'm pretty sure I'd get wankered beforehand so props to 16 year old me for at least having some sense of propriety.

4. The Dance

I don't even know where to begin with this one. Poor chaperones. If anyone should have sued me throughout my life, it is the chaperones of these dances for the mental damage my high school inflicted on them. Standing for three hours straight having to watch a throbbing embreyo of sex-deprived buffoons as they misguidedly revealed their mating calls must have been like whipping yourself continuously with barbed wire. Screw 'waterboarding', if the US had been more hardcore, they would have made the Guantanamo prisoners chaperone high school dances one after the other.

5. The After Party

Whilst I was not cool enough to attend after parties for all of the dances I so self-hatingly attended, the one for my Senior Prom involved beer in red cups and involved me suggesting that everyone walked around topless for the remainder of the evening. Which they did. There are pictures.

For the sake of all students out there, I suggest that we end this abhorrent practice and replace it with something far less cringe. Homecoming Karaoke anyone?

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