High School Horrors: Remembering Prom

Twenty-Something Tuesday

Oh prom, that antiquated rite of passage. Mythologized for years on film, we tend to be surprised or at least slightly disappointed when what we expected to be a royal ball turns out to be nothing more than an overheated middle school dance. Sometimes we make the best of it; sometimes we accept it as a symptom of the inherent shittiness of high school and thank the lawd that it usually signifies the end of high school. Here are some of our prom stories, from horrors to happiness.

Prom Mistress 2013

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.31.06 PM

I was on prom court both my junior and senior years (I know, I know, how cool can one person be??), but despite casting six or seven extra votes for myself for Prom Princess in 2012, I didn’t win the crown. I figured senior year was my year to reign, so you can imagine how excited I was to discover I was once again up for nomination. While my boyfriend bought our tickets during lunch one day, I slipped in a few extra nominations for him and myself for Prom King and Queen. The night when the announcements for king and queen began we both – well, mostly me – pushed our way towards the stage. When my boyfriend was named Prom King I knew my fairytale prom night was about to play out to perfection. And then they announced Claire as Prom Queen. That is not my name. As the king and queen took the stage as a royal couple and I pretended to be invisible, several people around me murmured “Ouch, Julia!” and I silently died inside. Later that night I took this picture with my boyfriend’s crown and declared myself Prom Mistress of 2013. Take that, Claire! (For the record, I am no longer bitter after two long, jealousy-filled years. But I definitely would have made a better queen. Just sayin’).

– Julia


British Prom (AKA Leavers’ Ball)

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.31.26 PM

Proms have apparently become a Big Deal in the UK, but back in my day, there was still some confusion over what/when prom was. We called it “leavers’ ball” and celebrated twice: at the end of Year 11 (10th grade), when students are legally allowed to leave school, and at the end of Year 13 (12th grade), when everyone finishes secondary school for good. Anyway, this is me from the first one. Yes, those are black beads and netting you see.

I don’t have any memories of the night, so just for you guys, I dug up an old journal entry. Turns out I was dumped a week before prom! But according to 16-year-old Jodie, I went to prom with a positive attitude and therefore had a great time. I hope the fact that I have no recollection of this 10 years later is a comfort to any high schoolers going through the same.

– Jodie

Who Cares About The Dance When There’s Drama?


I arguably peaked in high school as far as book-intelligence goes, but people-intelligence was at an all-time low. I was shitty to most people I dated and there was generally some kind of drama (to those dudes: Sorry). Case in point: Junior year, I went with my new boyfriend, who was my exboyfriend’s good friend (my ex set us up and I believed him when he said he was totally fine with it. He was not). I vaguely remember an awkward conversation between our mothers, discussing what was and was not appropriate for the night (2 a.m. curfew), during which my mother somehow adopted his mother’s Scottish accent. Of the dance I remember nothing, but there was probably very little dancing since I went to a super WASP-y school.

prom stairs
Obligatory stairs photo

Senior year I was stupidly juggling two guys and decided to go to prom with the one I had just broken up with as opposed to the one I had just started seeing. We had an amazing time and got back together (which would happen approximately 100 times over the next 10 years), and prom actually produced one of my favorite pictures of us of all time. Again, I remember very little about the dance—getting ready (and searching for prom dresses) was definitely the best part! (And I still have both dresses in case there’s an emergency red carpet event).

– Erin


No Date, No Problem

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.31.50 PM

Having a date is like, the most important part of prom. Though it became very clear to me by the time prom season rolled around that I would not be getting an elaborate prom-posal from the high school stud of my dreams. I lamented, of course, with ice cream and tears in my bed covered with 8 years’ worth of Seventeen magazine prom issues that I’d collected in preparation for the day that I would emphatically shout “YES!!!!” to the football player turned theater department star I crushed on. One by one my friends all had their prom-posal moments, each extravagant and special in their own way, yet I remained dateless and properly convinced I’d be going to prom alone. Until one night during intermission for a play I was in, I walked into the dressing room to find a rose attached to a box that contained the play’s program, dogeared to a certain page. I opened to the page to find a printed, “Kirstie- PROM?!? Love, Trey” in the ads section that could be purchased by local businesses, family members or friends. It was my best friend since elementary school, Trey, asking me much to my surprise to go with him. You see, at the time Klein Collins High school rules stated that same sex couples could not go to the dance together (ignorant, I know) and Trey just so happened to be gay. He yearned for the prom experience just as much as I did, and so lovingly decided to take me. Turns out he was the BEST date I could have asked for. Without the pressures of the romantic aspects of a prom date, we had far more fun than anyone else in our group, and let’s be real… we looked fabulous. We were, undoubtedly the “It Couple” of the prom, the center of the dance circle and the envy of the senior class. I guess being dateless and an outcast pays off.

 – Kirstie

Prom for Cheap


My junior year me and my friends decided to do a cheap prom. Only one of us had a boyfriend so we made a plan. The guy would drive us, we’d all pay less than $50 for our dresses and we’d do our own hair and makeup. Our resident guy got his mom to make us dinner, and it was amazing! Italian food complete with tiramisu and homemade bread. It was so much fun because there was no stress. We just wanted to go and dance, and dance we did. I lost my shoes and we stayed out all night, and it was perfect!

–  Lindsey

All Night Long


My actual experiences at prom were fairly boring and typical, though my claim to fame-ish is that LoveRance performed “Up!” at my 2011 senior prom, unintelligibly and before the song made it to the radio or had 50 Cent on it. Anyway, the fun part is after prom: My group (comprised of my best friends and a tolerant boyfriend) had no plans, and thus went in search of an afterparty. We learned the hotel where basically everyone was staying, and just bounced from room to room, our formal attire rapidly deteriorating through (gasp) rounds of underage drinking. In fact, it was this night that I invented the Nickelodeon Screwdriver, which is a mix of vodka and Capri Sun. We stayed up literally all night; we all ran up to the roof in the darkness and watched the sun rise. This night is also where I became close with one of my current best friends. Here’s a picture of us looking haggard as hell (yes, my false eyelashes were in full effect)


At sunrise, I joined a few of my classmates (~the popular boyz~) and we went swimming in the pool, complete with tequila sunrises (appropriate). Little did I know that as I went swimming, the sapphire earrings I had borrowed from my mother and left on the edge of the pool, had gotten knocked in somehow. Luckily, a boy came to my rescue and retrieved them from the chlorine-y depths (sorry, Mom). Finally, we all gathered our things, checked out, and had a sleep-deprived, still-drunk breakfast at the House of Chicken and Waffles (see the mobb below). Eventually we went home; I briefly went to Quidditch practice, though I was so exhausted I left early to take a well-deserved nap. And that’s my high school legacy.

– Natalie



What are your best (or worst) prom memories? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @litdarling!

Scroll To Top