When I think back on my high school experience, there are a lot of memories to sift through—school spirit days and the spring musical (Pippin, clearly), hallway loitering and group projects, roller coaster friendships and gym class humiliations. But there’s no memory bigger in my mind than prom.
After all, it was the stuff of angsty teen movies, and while my small-town school in Massachusetts, with a graduating class of 97, wasn’t exactly a hotbed of romance (there were just two “official” relationships in my grade that I can recall), the entire event was still swimming with potential. I was eager for a night that fulfilled the fantasy: A dreamy date, a beautiful dress, a slow dance and maybe a not-so-chaste kiss.
For the record, it didn’t go exactly to plan. My date was decidedly in the friend category, though I had a crush on him for sure. My dress came from a dated bridal shop, rather than a trendy place like Nordstrom or Jessica McClintock. And as for the slow dances? They were, um, awkward. But still, in my mind the evening achieved magical status. I went to the prom in a long gown with a handsome boy, and somehow that was enough.
But 20 years on (and with prom season fast approaching) was the occasion really as epic as I remember it? Or was I assigning too much nostalgia to a night long over-hyped?