The High Cost of Prom-ing


Iwent to Prom on June 1, but before I go into the evening itself, let me whine about something else: Proms cost just too darn much.

I have done some careful research (that is, I asked the reporter sitting next to me as I typed this), and by the time you males have paid for Prom tickets, tuxedos, flowers, limousine rentals, breath mints, dinner, pictures, contraceptive devices, hotel rentals, gynecologist examinations, hospital visits, baby clothing, and food and housing for the next 18 years, the costs can reach nearly 12 million dollars, even more if you live in Orange County, where even dirt costs more than it does here. This is a major part of the reason why, up until two weeks before Prom, I didn’t want to go at all (that, and the fact that I am incapable of dancing without injuring innocent bystanders).

But I was convinced by my supportive friends to go. “Go to the Prom, you moron!” they said supportively. I asked a girl who has since filed a court order prohibiting me from stating her name in this column, and she graciously, perhaps foolishly, said yes. I don’t think either of us knew what we were getting into.

First of all, I was informed just moments after asking her that we would be doubling with Mike Pust and Garaghty (pronounced “Garaghty”) Kramer, who played Scarecrow and Dorothy in Elsinore High’s production of “The Wizard of Oz” last month. Since Mike was just elected ASB president a few weeks ago, it seemed fitting that he should make an authoritative decision about Prom that would affect the four of us. That decision was that we would all go dressed like goobers.

This administrative decision was carried out with Mike and Garaghty going in 1930s-style formal wear. Naturally, My Date and I would have to look a decade stupider, so we went in 1920s styles. The result was that My Date and I looked like a flapper’s wedding, and Mike and Garaghty looked like Clark Kent’s parents going to a funeral. I’m reasonably sure that we were the only people there who had to rent their clothes from a costume shop.

Besides that, though, I wound up spending considerably less than you might spend on, say, an electron microscope. My Date informed me well in advance that she absolutely, positively did NOT WANT A CORSAGE, no way, no how. Obviously, this meant that I should get her one anyway. But then she told me that if I showed up at her house on Prom Night with a corsage for her, she would tear it up into little tiny pieces and stuff it down my throat with a serving spoon. So essentially, she was telling me not to spend an extra 20 bucks on Prom. I didn’t argue.

Furthermore, I didn’t even have to pay for dinner, because My Date and Garaghty said they wanted to cook dinner for us and have us all eat it at the beach. This sounded very romantic and, more importantly, cheap, so we went along with it. We were on a budget, after all.

Next week: Pre-Prom jitters, and Wanna-See-My-Tux? Syndrome.

It was rare for me to be as suggestive as I was in the paragraph about the expenses of prom, including "gynecologist examinations, hospital visits, baby clothing, and food and housing for the next 18 years." Admit it, you were kind of surprised I said that, weren't you? I'm surprised now, many years later, reading it.