Friday, May 14, 2010

Prom season

High school prom was last weekend, but I was too lazy busy last week to blog about it.
It reminds me of how in high school I was too lazy busy to go prom dress shopping until the day before.

My friend April’s little brother went to prom last weekend, which is weird because in my mind he’s still 10 years old.
He had a nice time with his date, eating at a fancy restaurant beforehand (Italian of course) but had a terrible time at the dance because his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend were kissing all night in the corner.

But, that’s neither here nor there.
Let’s talk about MY prom.

The three most interesting things about my prom (and any other dance at our school for that matter) are:

1.) We rode to the dance in a rented Greyhound Bus.
2.) I was the junior sweetheart and got to wear a crown. That’s right, bitches!!!
3.) My twin sister, Joy, got me all my dates.

For girls in high school, dances are a big deal. For girls at a Catholic all-girls high school, dances are a HUGE deal, because they focus on two things not normally seen everyday: boys and dresses.

Boys were the trickiest part of prom, since there weren’t any at our school, and we relied on friends who knew boys to set us up, or someone’s cute brother, or that one guy from the all-boys school who was supposed to recruit dates for us.

This turned out a very dysfunctional cycle of repeat dates. More than once, the same guy would attend dance after dance, bouncing from date to date.
Who’s Jay going with this time? We’d wonder. It was always someone new. Sometimes it was a problem, but most often not. As long as everybody had a guy to pose with in pictures, everything was OK.

I relied on my twin sister, Joy, to get me dates. She transferred to a co-ed school after freshman year at our Catholic School, and she totally saved my social life.
She found good-looking, nice guys for me to go dances with. She would recruit them at lunchtime and come up to them as they ate their sandwiches.

“Hey, do you want to go with my identical twin sister to her Catholic High School prom this weekend?”

Turns out, everyone wanted to go. Joy was even asked by other guys why she didn't consider them for the task.
She ended up setting several of her male friends up with us.

“So, what do I do?” the boys would ask Joy.
“You come to my house at 6:30.”
“Um, Ok.”
“Don’t be late.”

People say getting a date for prom is super terrifying and awkward. I say get a twin and have them do the dirty work for you.

Before Joy transferred, however, I was stuck getting my own dates. The best I could do was a foreign exchange student that I met at the coffee shop where I did my homework.

His name was Borja (“Bor-HA”) and he had a unibrow and I’m pretty sure he had a terrible time at the Valentine's Day dance.
He definitely didn’t understand how to do the tootsie roll.

Channeling Frida Kahlo. $10 to anyone who can guess which is me and which is Joy.

Things improved greatly when Joy transferred schools and got me dates that spoke English.

We had a lot of dances at our school. There was the prom, a Christmas dance, homecoming dance, sweetheart dance, and a short-lived Mardi Gras dance that was no fun because it was in the stinky gym and not at a fancy venue.

The best dance and date EVER was the Christmas dance my junior year of high school.
At the Christmas dance, someone in each grade is named the class “sweetheart," kind of like prom queen. Only, Christmas queen. Haha Catholic High Schools love their religious holidays.

I was somehow in the running for junior sweetheart, after nominating myself.
There were far more popular girls on the ballot, so I didn’t think I’d win.
As such, I didn’t tell my date that I was even nominated.

When all the nominees were called together at the dance, I casually said to him, “Oh, yea, it’s this sweetheart thing, no big deal. Whatever.”

I didn’t realize that we both had to walk down a winding staircase slowly with a spotlight on us as everyone stared. It could have been traumatizing. I asked him to please not let me fall.

As it turns out, my best friend Angela (she's the one in the zebra cowboy hat in the picture above) had bullied everyone in our grade into voting for me during homeroom.
Her hard work paid off. I totally won.
So hot.

And, my date totally embraced being “Mr. junior sweetheart.”

Sorry ladies, he’s married now. The nerve!

So, yea, we had a great time. He even told Joy on Monday at lunch how much fun he had.
(So much fun, in fact, that he recruited his best friend for Angela for prom, but she was unimpressed by his friend's spiky blonde hair like a Backstreet Boy.)

Getting to prom was the most fun, thanks to a forward-thinking and highly-organized member of our grade.
Jessica decided to arrange for a GREYHOUND BUS to pick us all up and bring us to the dance.

“Do ya’ll want in on it?” she asked our lunch table one day. “It’s $45 for a couple. There are going to be 25 girls plus dates, so that’s 50 people on the bus total.”
We signed up immediately.

In organizational skills well above my level (even now), Jessica somehow managed to coordinate money, attendance and reserve the Greyhound bus several times throughout high school.

I wasn’t close with her in high school to be super involved with the planning, but I do think there was some —“Ugh, me and Liz totally got into a fight and now she’s not coming on the bus” and “Jason and I broke up and now I want half my money back”— going on. Haha.

What do you suppose the driver thought as he hissed the bus to a stop outside the house where we all met? Tour group? Church group? No! Catholic girls with hand grenades.

Yes, hand grenades.

They are a frozen, green, DELICIOUS, very alcoholic beverages sold in the French Quarter and I wanted some for senior prom.

So, after school on Friday, I drove to the French Quarter, took off my plaid Catholic High School skirt so I was just wearing gym shorts, and bought four frozen hand grenades to go.

No one bothered me when I bought the crazy alcoholic drinks, or even when I carried all four cups to my car. I think I carried one in my teeth.

I put the drinks into every cup holder, messily, since they were rapidly melting and getting my hands sticky, and drove home to put them in the freezer before getting ready for the big dance.

“What are you doing? What is that?” my mom asked when she saw me re-arranging frozen shrimp to fit the drinks in the freezer. “Where did you get that?”

“It’s a hand grenade mom!” I said. “I got it in the French Quarter.”
“You bought alcohol in your school uniform?” she asked. “That’s ridiculous! They sold that to you? I thought you had to be 21!”

It’s New Orleans, ma! I smiled and walked upstairs.

The hand grenades were a hit on the Greyhound bus. Everyone wanted some. We danced in the aisles hooting and hollering, kissing our dates, possibly even doing the tootsie roll.

(The actual prom was pretty lame since the Archdiocese in New Orleans started “cracking down” on inappropriateness and we had to wear dresses with straps and had to dance “a balloon sized” distance away from our dates. You are representing Catholics as a whole! We were told.)

After the dance, we drove around the city and then went to another friend’s house at 2 a.m. because her mom had cooked us a massive breakfast.
Kind of reminds me of the Waffle House I went to late-night a few months ago, after dancing with my friends all night.

You know, now that I think about it, prom was loud and drunken and…just like my life now. Only, I had a better metabolism and lived in New Orleans.

Prom season is now wedding season for people my age. It’s a big, fat social gathering where you get all dressed up and MUST BRING a date and you dance your face off. Will being the bride feel like winning junior sweetheart? God, I hope so.

Maybe I’ll serve hand grenades.



  1. you are the one without hte boa...right?!
    ps i want to go to new orleans every time i catch your blog.:)

  2. hilarious stuff, especially since i went to an all-boys catholic high school and was OFTEN set up for dances by my cousin who went to an all-girls catholic high school.

    my favorite moment: wearing a pink button down and a suit i can only describe as the color and texture of linen drapery. so hot.

  3. LOL... LOVE IT!!! Was it REALLY $45? If that's right... good memory!!!

    P.S. You're on the right, Joy's on the left... right?!?!

  4. yes everyone. I am the one with the boa not trying to show my teeth full of braces. good times.

  5. Jenny, this was AMAZING! Aaron read it along when I was and said "did this really happen?" I may be pulling out that prom video soon to re-live those memories!

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