Off Like a Prom Dress – a Pictorial

30 May

My friend Renee Schuls Jacobson wrote a blog over here about going to prom.  I told her I had done a blog a year or so ago on my old site and she thought it was time to re-reun that bad boy.  So here it is, tidied up a little for present day:

Off Like a Prom Dress

Over on my Facebook Page  (which you should all go and “Like”) I had a little contest as to what I should write about next.  And the lovely and talented Michele Clark Powell won with her prom theme suggestion, due to the time of year.  She suggested I compare proms of today to yesterday and goaded me into posting pics.

This was easy as I have 2 teenagers who are in prime prom season and one son in college who went to about 7 proms.  Of course it’s totally different nowadays.  Now, prom is a cross between a nightclub, wedding reception, bar mitzvah, and Teamster’s Convention after hours stripper party.  I give you some examples:

It’s turned into a God damn circus now.  Starting from the asking part, you can’t just ask a girl to prom, you have to have a “prom proposal” or “promposal”.  It’s a grandiose gesture akin to a marriage proposal.

Ridiculous.  At least these days they will have the prom at a banquet hall or something with dinner included.  We used to decorate our gym, have it in there and go out to eat someplace else beforehand.  And that was usually at some stuffy old place that your parents thought was fine dining.  It usually featured velvet wallpaper.

Then there was transportation.  In my day the boy just borrowed his Dad’s car and maybe double dated with another couple.

Now they do this…

It’s like a modern day Joad family, where 18 couples pile into a stretch Hummer and party like it’s 1999… er somethin’.

The main meat of the prom is pretty much the same  – dancing, awkward socializing, douchie dudes trying to get up and sing with the band, girls crying in the bathroom.  The only slight difference is now there is grinding and simulated sex on the dance floor (unless you have a school policy against it) and there is the occassional shirtless toolbag gymrat/spray tan guy attempting to break dance.

After parties have changed slightly.  When I was in high school, some kid might have kids over in his basement to drink, smoke pot, and makeout after the prom.  Or you just went parking, that’s when Dad’s old station wagon came in handy, back seat goes down.  What?  Don’t tell me you didn’t?  Hey, the drinking age was 18 at the time, it was a different era.  Didn’t you ever see “16 Candles”?  I know they still do the drinking and stuff but now they are renting hotel rooms!  Sorry but I’ll do whatever I can to keep my teenage son or daughter away from a hotel room.  Oy!

However one thing remains the same over time… if all goes well the night will end like this…

Actually I knew a girl in high school that never even made it into the prom, she spent the whole time making out with her date in the car in the parking lot.  Scandalous at the time!

The other thing that bugs me is that girls are expected to go all out (by other girls) to get manicures, up-dos, spray tans, professional makeup application, and give designer flowers.  My daughter just went to a prom and was very disappointed that I said I would do her makeup. Hey I sprang for the up-do, we bought $6 press-on French manicure nails (that actually looked gorgeous, girls thought they were real gel), and decided against spray tan, I only have so much money I couldn’t spring another $40 just to put on makeup.  I drew the line.  She ended up looking gorgeous…

Lib prom

Ah, just look at my baby girl. 🙂

When I went to the prom it was shower, blow dry feather the hair, and lip gloss.  It’s out of control now.

Anyway, here is a little glimpse into my past lameness.  My high school had 2 “proms” a year, a winter ball and Spring prom.  Here is my very first winter ball in 1979.  I was 14 years old, my boyfriend was 2 years older, that’s why I went to so many proms.  Check out his lovely maroon tux:

Here we are in the Spring of 1980 at prom.  I’ve always gone for the stylish ones.  My gown was made out of white cotten eyelet material, the stitching around the eyelets was a light green.  It was actually a bridesmaid dress from my sister’s wedding worn by another sister 4 years before.  Hey, I was frugal:

Then we come to the winter ball of 1980.  Wasn’t I uber preppy in my floor length plaid skirt and black velvet vest?  How he could resist my hotness, I have no idea:

And our final prom together, Spring 1981.  That gown was a beautiful baby blue, you can’t really see in this pic.  And of course John was so handsome in all white. lol  What’s with the fence?:

 My junior year, I moved to a new school which totally sucked.  My boyfriend went off to college and eventually dumped me by the end of his Freshman year for a college coed. 😦  So I went to prom in Spring 1982 with a friend who acted like a putz after I rejected his romantic advances, so I don’t feel the need to show him here:


Why does my hair look different in all these pics?  Some look dark, some look light.  Oh, lighting, duh.  I swear I never did any coloring except for the chlorine from the pool, I was on swim team I was in it twice a day.

Spring 1983.  My senior year, I had a new boyfriend from another school who I was all set to go to the prom with but he was messing around with his sister and broke a window at his house so his punishment was that he couldn’t go to my prom.  Seriously?  Your punishment is to not let your girlfriend enjoy her senior prom?  His mother was an f-ing idiot anyway.  I still hate her, even though I haven’t seen her in 29 years.   Oh well, I had already gone to 5 proms.

So, what are some of your proms stories?  Worst prom?  Best prom?  Share a picture with me!  If you can’t post it here, (which I’m sure you can’t) send it to me at and I’ll post it!


27 Responses to “Off Like a Prom Dress – a Pictorial”

  1. renée a. schuls-jacobson May 30, 2013 at 1:56 pm #

    Fantastically fabulous. How is it that you have so many posed photos? We didn’t have any of that special stuff. Or if we did, I didn’t do any of it. Probably because I wasn’t “romantically involved” with either of my prom dates. But seriously, we didn’t have fences or any cool props. Because I would have been all over that. 😉

    • Madge Madigan May 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

      I don’t know, every prom I went to had the professional guy there with the fence and crap. My boyfriend always bought them. That’s why I didn’t have any with the guy junior year, he wasn’t my boyfriend. lol

      • renée a. schuls-jacobson May 30, 2013 at 3:02 pm #

        I’m totally bitter. I just posted your piece on my FB page. I hope some people bop over for a looksee. That piece is hilarious!

  2. Barbara Hockley May 30, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    I’m in the UK & although they do ‘proms’ here now (and have done for a while) in my day we had an end of term dance and that was it. No special occasion when you left, just another dance in the school hall. No special dresses, cars or hair. Just a good rock band! Loved every one of them! Your pics are great & what fantastic memoriies you must have. Although I enjoyed our ‘dances’ I can’t remember anything in particular & we never had photos. All changed now though.

  3. Dawn May 30, 2013 at 3:11 pm #

    Oh, man. Prom. I give it a precursory acknowledgement with my children every spring, but nothing too elaborate. My first prom date was a friend, who pulled out all the stops but, alas, still did nothing to prompt any romantic feelings on my part. My second (and last) prom date was my then-boyfriend, who was MUCH older than I (gah!), so I obviously don’t discuss him much with my teen-age daughters (NO WAY will they ever be allowed to even consider dating someone that much older. It’s just gross.) So, yeah, prom sucks in my opinion. Thankfully our school offers “Project Prom”, an all-night, supervised event that transports the kids to different venues and keeps them pretty much out of trouble. The teachers and area youth ministers and even some parents volunteer and, believe it or not, it is actually the highlight of the evening for most kids.
    As for the dresses, mine were both horrible (but appropriate for the time). My daughter designed both of hers and we had a friend make them. They are gorgeous. 🙂

    • renée a. schuls-jacobson May 30, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

      Hi Dawn! Don’t forget… horrible is kinda awesome 20 years later! You have to laugh! 😉

      • Dawn May 31, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

        If you say so, Renee! 🙂

    • Madge Madigan May 30, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

      Oh how fun to make your own dress! Awesome!

  4. Jon Jefferson May 30, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

    I skipped out on all that after my freshman year. Of course, I was outta the place after my freshman year anyway.

    My freshman year I did go to prom with my wife’s sister (I know that sounds odd). The only other time I was invited to the prom was when I was in Korea. The girl for that one wanted me to fly home just to go to prom with her.

    Come to think of it, we were together when my wife went to her senior prom. But I was in Okinawa for that one. I seem to have spent a good portion of my high school years out of the country…

    • Madge Madigan May 30, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

      I’m completely confused by the sequence of events in this comment. lol

      • Jon Jefferson May 30, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

        I had quit school and then joined the marines before my class graduated. My wife (before we were married) was stillin high school while I was still in the marines. We were married about 7 months after she graduated. I was released from the marines about 7 months or so later.

        • Madge Madigan May 31, 2013 at 8:17 am #

          Aaaahhhh thank you, now I get it. Sorry it’s my advanced age. 🙂

  5. Jess Witkins May 30, 2013 at 4:08 pm #

    So glad Renee sent me over here. I love your breakdown of prom then and now. How true! I worked in retail for 7 years and managed the junior dept. for a few of those. I remember walking the sales floor with my store manager who was in her 40’s at the time. She looked at our prom dress selection and said “I wouldn’t want my son to go to prom with a date in any of these skanky dresses!” LOL. Our small town mall got the same selection as the urban metro doors. The short dresses were VERY short and the long dresses were VERY low cut across the back.

    • renée a. schuls-jacobson May 30, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

      Hi Jess! You got to sell the skanky prom dresses! That’s a whole other angle I hadn’t even considered! Is it too late for you to sneak back into the store and take pictures of today’s gowns.

      Maybe next year, eh? 😉

      Write that down now. I’m planning a major bloggers’ prom. #TrueStory

      • Madge Madigan May 30, 2013 at 7:27 pm #

        Thanks for reading Jess! Skanky is one of my very favorite words. Along with douchie.

  6. mistyslaws May 30, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Renee and Jess told me that I must come, so come I did. Much like prom night, no? Badumbum-chhhh!!

    I also had the posed proppy pics. I have no idea where they have gotten to, but I had them. I remember getting my hair did and buying a fancy dress, but none of the other fancy hair and nails of nowadays. Kids these day, amiright?

    • renée a. schuls-jacobson May 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

      Misty: I am soooo bitter about not having props. What the heck? I’m feeling suddenly very ripped off. As for today’s teens, I know you aren’t on Twitter but you would SEE the hysteria in their tweets. Today they are getting their bikini areas waxed and renting hotel rooms and crap. IN-SANE! (in the membrane!)

      • Madge Madigan May 30, 2013 at 7:28 pm #

        Heeeeeyoooooo! You are right, aight. Thanks for reading!

  7. Susan Cooper/ May 30, 2013 at 6:58 pm #

    I love the pictures and history o this. I was like you, fugal and still I fit in. I agree the whole prom thing has gotten way out of hand. The amount of money that is spent on just the prom dress and transportation is insane. Where will it end… sigh!

    • Madge Madigan May 30, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

      Maybe it will be like all things, cyclical. Eventually simple will come back in… hopefully.

  8. Glynis Jolly May 31, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    My son went all out for his prom with his girlfriend at the time and that was back in the early 1990s. Yes, I thought it was overdone, but I’m just the mom. My opinion doesn’t count. I’m not angry or upset by it. High school days can be great if the parent/s know how long the leash on their kids should be for the times. BTW, I didn’t pay a penny toward his prom plans. He earned the money for it. 🙂

    • Madge Madigan May 31, 2013 at 9:39 am #

      Yea, my daughter did buy her own dress. And I knew enough not to be an ass about it but still make it a big deal. I just had to nicely explain I didn’t have all the money to spend. It was kind of a fun challenge to look fabulous on a budget, I think she was pretty proud of her finds all in all.

  9. mk slagel May 31, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    “so I don’t feel the need to show him here” You never fail to make me laugh. I can’t say I have any horrible prom experiences. There was that time that it took 3 of my guy friends and an hour of the after party to get all the bobbi pins out of my hair. Oh and the time my date snuck some sort of happy drug into prom, disappeared into the bathroom, and was gone from the table before the first course was served. I think I saw him twice that night on the dance floor. But hey, at least he waited until after we got our picture taken together so I could make sure to keep that stellar picture of him in aviators close to my heart forever. Oh how I miss prom though.

    • Madge Madigan June 1, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      Thanks, um I’d say that’s a pretty crappy prom experience. lol

  10. Valentine Logar June 1, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    I did not go to any proms, in protest. Thought they were stupid and at the time there were dress codes which I protested. I was one of those ‘hippie’ girls who truly found the bourgeois a bore.

    I was such a snot.

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