Dance the Night Away (if you can stay awake)

mid section view of a teenage couple holding hands== I'm not sure about elsewhere in the country, but here in northeast Oklahoma it's Prom season. Last weekend and this weekend seem to be when most schools are having them. The salons are all booked up, the nail shops are doing land run business and forget about getting a slot in a tanning bed the past few weeks.

Ahhh....the Prom. There are few things in my life I have gotten gussied up for like I have the Prom. Okay, just one other – my wedding. I'm not a super duper girly-girl. I never have been. Okay, I'm moderately obsessive over my hair, but that is the extent of my girliness. The Prom, though....*sigh*.... it's a magical night. Even if you're not girly.

I started going to the Prom when I was a Sophomore and went to five total by the time I was a Senior. I went once with a good friend, three times with a boyfriend and once by myself. All of them have specific, special memories attached to them – my date's sequined tie and cummerbund, my parents chaperoning, my boyfriend mimicking various people's dance styles and cracking me up because he did them so well, especially the principal's, the class prophecy where I was the one who ended up on welfare (Oh....Mrs. Enoch, your prophecy hit too close to reality for a few lean years) and getting motion-sick because the Prom was on a boat on the lake.

Long dresses, short dresses... up-do's and down-do's....showing up in a limo, Daddy's car or a bicycle built for two..... boutonnieres and corsages.... music, speeches and memories.

Jeremy "Powder" Pictures, Images and PhotosI bought all my dresses on the sale rack and borrowed the necessary shoes. I never had my nails and hair professionally done before any of my Prom experiences. (Heck, I did my own hair and nails for my wedding) I never tanned weeks before the event. (Didn't for my wedding either.) I was the one who resembled talcum powder in all the group pics. I was the glaringly white chick amongst all the other girls who could have been Coppertone models. 

Oh and also? I don't dance. Okay, clarification: I don't fast dance. Didn't then, don't now, probably won't ever. I look ridiculous and it makes those around me uncomfortable. Really, Prom for me was all about eating twice-baked potatoes (which were served at all the banquets and something Mom never made at home and I thought they were so fancy), staying out until dawn and for one (or two) evenings out of the year setting aside my non-girliness and playing the part of the princess. A non-dancing princess who hated pantyhose and heels.

And who could forget all the after-Prom stuff? At our little school we always rented Olympic Fitness Center and they locked us in for the night. Two years in a row I ended up falling asleep on the couch in front of the big projection TV while everyone else played racquetball, basketball and volleyball and made out in the track underneath the building because the chaperones didn't police that area too often. I wasn't sporty and considering I usually went to bed at 9 of my own volition, the fitness center wasn't a big reason to stay awake. I crashed before Midnight both years. My boyfriend, however, went to a bigger school and they had events planned all over town – we played mini golf, went bowling, saw a movie and ended the night with pancakes and sausage at the Elk's Club. (I dozed through the movie and yawned through the pancakes). Well, the Elk's Lodge wasn't where anyone really ended the night – that was done on various dirt roads all over the county because you know when you let a bunch of teenagers stay out all night there will be parking.

I look back over my Prom pictures now, glossy 4x6 prints of my friends and their dates looking deliriously happy while they danced and posed, and I realize it's been over 20 years since some of those pictures were taken. Most of those people I am no longer in touch with, a couple have passed away, one is my Avon lady, one I go to church with, quite a few are my friends on Facebook and some I talk to daily. We were young, thin, hopeful, happy and for one night we didn't worry about grades, graduation and the future. For one magical evening we didn't think about ACT scores, our parents splitting up, college acceptance, two pink lines on a pregnancy test, transcripts and competitions - we just danced and complained about our aching toes, held our boyfriends tight while we danced to sappy Richard Marx songs and tried not to smash our Aqua Netted hair while we laid our heads on their shoulders.

If there was a Prom held for us now it would be a whole different affair. We wouldn't rely on our moms to pick up our corsages and boutonnieres the morning of – heck, the money spent on flowers to adorn our clothes would be better spent on bandaids for the blisters we are soon to have from wearing shoes that aren't Crocs or flipflops. We wouldn't worry about after-Prom activities because even if we could stay awake til sunup, why would we want to? The last time I saw the sun come up I was holding a feverish child and a sippy cup of Pedialyte. And who can afford a sitter for that many hours anyway? We would have to search and search for a dress that didn't show off fat rolls, dimples and flabby arms. And forget about mere control-top pantyhose – it would be Spanx, possibly full-body Spanx. By night's end we'd all be yawning and wondering if we could just go somewhere and sleep for a few hours before having to go home and relieve the sitter. Our husbands would complain about the food. We probably would, too (because I have since mastered the art of twice-baked potatoes and mine are so much better). We'd politely clap for the young couple out there dancing by themselves to every song, his flat six-pack abs affording him endless amounts of energy and her cute pregnant belly making them look like Newlywed Barbie and Ken, all while thinking, “Just you wait, you two. Just you wait.”

We've made the transition from exuberant teenagers who dance to Madonna and Wham! to mommas and daddies who are more in tune to the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey. We will forgo a new outfit in order to buy the Easter dress our daughter literally hugs and kisses in the store. We don't get dressed up to go dancing all that often these days, but playing Princesses with a five year old can make a rainy day go by faster. A mini-van full of carseats if our most frequent form of transportation. Sleeping in is now 6am rather than noon. Daddy hasn't worn a tux in years, but had pink toenail polish on last weekend when his seven year old asked “Pleeeeeeeease, Daddy?”

See, we may have outgrown the Prom, but we seem to have grown into Parenthood just fine.

~~Mrs. Nesbitt

Note: Make sure you stop by the RHOK tomorrow to see all the housewives in their Prom dresses and see if you can match the Mrs. to her former Prom self!

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