So I went to prom this weekend. Not as someone’s date, seeing as how that would have been not only wierd, but probably illegal, but as a chaperone. This is not the first prom I’ve chaperoned. I’ve actually gone to two others. Once, I was the head teacher for the prom committee and had to go not only because I had to make sure no one showed up blitzed or made any babies on site, but because I had to help not only set everything up, but also tear it all down. The second time was more of a social outing and I’m pretty sure I left before it was even over. I mostly went for the fancy dinner out with my friends.
This year I went in part to save one of my dear friends who’d agreed to chaperone months ago. She was going to be there with a group of people who are really mean to her and rather than have her spend yet another miserable duty-filled night with them, I went along.
Well, not for all of it. I did let her suffer through dinner with them. There was no way I was sitting through that. Especially since I probably would not be able to hold my tongue and might have actually told one of them off–but that’s another story entirely. Instead, I went to dinner with one of my other good friends (also along to save our dear friend). It was so nice to sit down and just talk. We see each other every day at work, but we don’t get a real chance to share our lives. It was pretty awesome.
The dance itself was pretty good. A bit more booty shaking then I’d like (what can I say, I grew up with John Hughes’s version of prom, not Lil Wayne’s). Some of my kids who seem so mannerly and proper at school were thrusting their asses right into the crotch of their dates in a most unladylike manner. Others were practically falling out of their dresses (and some had what I’m not sure can be described as a dress so much as some strategically placed fabric).
There was also a table full of nothing but desserts. It looked amazing and I am really proud of myself for abstaining. When I went to prom, I think we got some ice cream, but that was only after our sub-par dinner of rubbery chicken or watery pasta.
A few things have not changed since I was in school though. There was still plenty of drama. Within the first half hour of the dance, I had to console one of my favorite students. She and her boyfriend had recently broken up, but were still at prom together and she wasn’t handling it well. And that was just the first of three of those situations I had to talk people through.
Oddly, I spent most of my night talking with my two friends and one student, who was trying to avoid his date (yet another break-up). It was actually a lot of fun, because he’s a neat kid (and we all thought he could do way better than the beast he was with). We started sharing some of our prom stories to help him feel a little better. It turns out we’d all had less than romantic proms. One had gone to prom with her ex. One with her gay best friend. I went with a guy I had had a crush on…at least when I asked him. By the time prom came around, I was over him. And apparently he was over me. I spent most of the night dancing with one of my best guy friends (who later on came out), while my date found the girl he was currently crushing on and hung out with her. I think the ony thing we did together all night was go to dinner, take pictures and bowl (at after prom). Oh wait, I guess we did ride to and from prom together (I drove because he didn’t have a license).
In hindsight, even though I didn’t have the John Hughes prom moment, I did have a lot of fun. We kept encouraging our student to go dance. He kept assuring us that he was having far more fun talking to us. He didn’t like the music, or dancing, or his date, but he did like us. In fact, when he was pulled on the dance floor by a friend, he yelled to us that he’d be right back. I laughed, but then I remembered that at my prom, I’d not only spent about half an hour talking to my favorite English teacher, but I also joined with the other kids in my honors English class to do a special dance for her inspired by her class.
That hepled remind me of why I became a teacher, partly her inspiration. And then I couldn’t help smile as my student walked back, because I know I am a similar inspiration to him. Especially when he mentioned a few minutes later that he was going to become a teacher. Not an English teacher, but hey, not everyone’s perfect.