Prom is a magical night on which all of a high school student’s hopes and dreams come true. The annual spring rite of passage will create memories prom attendees will be able to carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Or so I’m told.
This spring, thousands of Miami County high school students either have already attended, or will attend, their school’s prom. I sincerely hope all of them truly had a wonderful evening of food, dancing and merriment — and, more important, I hope all of them stayed safe in the process.
This column, however, isn’t for them.
No, this column is for those of you who were not soaking up prom’s regal splendor. This column is for those of you who — for whatever reason or reasons — were sitting at home on Saturday night while the rest of your friends were renting limos, purchasing ball gowns and making dinner reservations.
I can relate.
When my high school prom rolled around 25-plus years ago, I did not attend … and not by choice, mind you. I wanted to go to prom. And, I suppose had I asked the right person, I might have been able to go to the prom. Had I wanted to go really bad, I suppose I could have gone alone or with a group of friends. Being a a scared, awkward teenager — as I’m guessing some of you currently are — however, I didn’t have the temerity to ask anyone to go to prom with me.
Important note — most high school girls don’t want to go to dances with boys who use words like “temerity” in the course of casual conversation.
I had zero self-confidence in high school and feared rejection. So I figured it was easier to skip out on prom festivities than to have a girl laugh in my face when I asked her to attend the dance. Whether that actually would have happened, we will never know. But this much I am certain of — there are plenty of you out there now who feel the same way I did in high school. I don’t think they’ve come up with a cure for that since I left the hallowed halls of Troy High School.
For those of you who do feel that way, however, I offer a fairly simple piece of advice: It gets better. It really, truly does. As someone who survived high school and moved on with my life, I am here to tell you there is a big world out there, filled with people who will one day appreciate you for who you are and what you have to offer.
Stay true to yourself. Don’t change for anyone. If you want to look different or act different from your peers, you do that — even if you think you are running the risk of alienating yourself and guaranteeing you remain dateless throughout your four years of high school.
Because here’s the thing — some day, you will meet someone who appreciates all you have to offer. If you are patient — or, in my case, willing-to-wait-until-you-are-well-into-adulthood patient — you will meet the person of your dreams. You will find that special person who appreciates all that you have to offer. This person will accept you and make you the happiest person on the planet.
Don’t believe me? It’s OK, I probably wouldn’t have at your age, either. But it will happen for you. It happened for me. It can happen for anyone.
And the prom thing will come and go, too. While I didn’t attend my high school prom, I did spend my prom night with my best friend, just hanging out and shooting hoops at the playground. Turns out he couldn’t find a date, either. We are nearly 25 years removed from our high school prom, and he remains the best friend I’ve ever had. He is like a brother to me and I have little doubt in my mind he would do anything for me — as I would for him.
I wonder how many other people can say that about their high school prom date?
Reach David Fong at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter @thefong