Been there, done that

Mandy Halbert, Staff Reporter

Girls seem to grow up dreaming of prom. We eagerly await that extravagant dress and that perfect date to sweep us off our feet. I was no exception. I remember looking at prom dresses online in middle school. I picked the color and the neckline, decided on tight or poofy, picked between updos or elegant curls. We romanticize prom night and imagine it being like our own Cinderella moment (but without losing our carefully selected shoe.) But like many girls, I realized that it’s really not all it’s hyped up to be.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved my junior prom. The people I went with made it a night to remember. Prom itself was just a hassle.

It all starts with the dress. Those dream-like expectations vanish the moment you walk in the store. Dresses everywhere. Where do you even begin? I started poking through racks and racks of dresses. Some puffy, some tight, some lace, some with enough glitter to trigger my asthma.

When you finally limit the store down to about five to six dresses, you stand in an enormous line full of tired, grumpy, snooty girls and wait. After what quite literally could be hours, you finally get the amazing opportunity of squeezing yourself into a teeny tiny room along with those bulging dresses. After enduring an hour of staticy hair, tripping over excess fabric, sucking your gut in, and tugging at zippers, you find it: a dress you actually like.

I’ll admit, getting a date is fun. He’s probably the highlight of it all. But once your date is secured, it’s time to plan. There’s nothing worse than planning with a group of people who all see their night a different way.

If this is your first prom, you have probably already experienced those inevitable arguments. Limo or no limo? Fast food or fancy restaurant? Indoor or outdoor photos? Frocket or no frocket t-shirts? No matter what, there will be an argument, and prom arguments can get messy. It becomes like war. You strategize your opinions and carefully defuse potentially explosive texts from friends. You agree to treaties and compromises.

When you somehow manage to plan the whole shindig, the big day comes.

From my experience, girls always think it’s a great idea to get ready together.

And from my experience, it’s never a great idea.

Unless you have a bathroom the size of a beauty salon, good luck. Curling irons and straighteners lay around haphazardly, almost begging to start a fire. Heels scattered across the ground make for many potential bruised feet and stab wounds. And no matter what you do, there is never enough mirror space for everyone. Heed my advice and just get ready at your own home. You’ll have plenty of time to gush over your friends’ dresses later.

Most of the drag of prom is the planning and preparation. It builds up all these expectations that are almost never met. However, I highly encourage you to go at least once. The night, with the right people and reasonable expectations, will turn out to be an amazing memory. Prom only exists in high school, so don’t ruin it by expecting this magical fairytale night.

Life isn’t a fairytale. But life is beautiful if you make it that way. So be happy in whatever your circumstances. Cinderella’s night didn’t go as planned, but something better was in store. So make the most of prom, even if you lose a shoe.