Prom Night Isn't What You Think

In the movies, prom night is the night when all teenagers discover true love. In Mother's memory chest, it is the night immortalized by a dusty picture of a young girl and her long-forgotten sweetheart. In the boys' locker room it is the night for which all the girls have been saving their virginity.

But don't believe any of that. Prom night is a unique American fairy tale--a fairy tale teenagers of every generation have been duped into believing. I do not plan to let this sham continue. I will tell the truth about prom night

Nowadays, the 1990s teenager must make long-range plans to find a date. The mad dash starts four to five months before the prom This never works out, but our idealistic teenager doesn't know that vet.

Date No. 1 is delighted when asked. Then a comfortable month passes before our '90s teen gets the phone call. Date No. 1 can't make it. Her excuse: she must go to Louisiana to watch cousin Bill's chicken in the annual road-crossing race.

Date No. 2: this is a quick interlude. It is quick because he decides to ask the prettiest girl in the school. Weeks of planning and rehearsing go into formulating the two-second question. Finally the moment comes--our teenager and the homecoming queen are alone in the library together. He asks. She laughs hysterically.

Date No. 3 is a freshman. Our teenager feels more secure in this ballpark. When he confidently pops the big question to No. 3, she says yes. From that utterance on, life for our noble teenager consists of only two elements: constant ridicule from his fellow seniors and incessant questions from Date No. 3. Soon our 1990s teenager tells Date No. 3 that he is terminally ill and extremely contagious. This news brings their relationship to an abrupt end.

Four days before prom night, Date No. 4. the prettiest girl in the entire school district, asks our teenager to the prom. All the tuxedos in his size have been rented. He has to go in the two-year-old suit he wore to Uncle Bob's wedding.

At the prom, our valiant teenager sits alone. Date No. 4 is on the dance floor with the dream boy she will eventually marry. The food is terrible. Everyone is so busy taking photos of the fun that they forget to have the fun. The '90s teenager has such a terrible time he decides not to give his date a ride home. But to be honest, that's not really his choice; the dream boy insists on it. This, of course, means that our teenager is stuck driving home the whining date the dream boy brought.

So much for happy endings. The prom has become a night to remember, a fairy tale to forget--a true-life Simpsons' rendition of the Cinderella ball.