“So there I was, standing at Von Maur, trying to decide between the two perfect dresses, this red Tommy halter with the black beading that is just so totally cute or this baby blue strapless blah blah blah hummada hummada blah…” Claire was trying to tell me about her prom dress-shopping excursion, but somewhere between the “Gucci bag” and the “Chinese Laundry shoes,” the words started to blur together and all I heard was gibberish. She was so psyched about it that I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I not only had no clue what she was talking about, but, quite frankly, couldn’t care less about the whole prom thing in general. Her enthusiasm over prom got me thinking. What’s the point? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think that the whole “one glamorous night of fun, romance, and magic” is a decent idea, but when people start to get agitated and there’s a row because the ticket price doesn’t include champagne flutes, that’s when the line between a good time and insanity has been crossed.

Since prom planning is left up to the juniors, it came as little surprise to anyone when a certain gaggle of girls signed up right away. You know the type: sickeningly sweet, preps all, always doing their hair, commenting on how “cute” so-and-so’s shoes are, and signing their names in shimmering, metallic pens. For starters, there’s Elle, the adorable cheerleader who thinks life is one big giggle, and is fairly sweet, but at the risk of sounding crabby, I’d say is the biggest scatterbrain I’ve ever met. Like last week, she got called down to the office during first period for leaving her car running. (Mind you, this is the week after she left her keys at a neighboring high school and spent an hour on her hair for cheerleading pictures, only to discover that they weren’t taking place that day. Ouch.) Then there’s Kami, the twiggy, brunette fashion model who spent her entire elementary and middle school years as the roly-poly teacher’s pet, only to blossom into sultry beauty in high school; now she spends her days flaunting what she (thinks) she has. Next comes Mandy, the ‘dainty blossom’ who calls herself “Baby doll” and “Princess.” (Let it be known for the record that she gets involved to fit in, which never works, little resembles a baby, and whose only real parallel to anything dainty is a baby hippopotamus.) While I’m at it, there’s also Daphne, Roberta, Jasmín, Tiffany, Elaine, and Susan, the latter, who, like me, could care less about prom; I suspect she’s only there to keep the arguments to a dull roar and to add a sense of humor to the scene.

These nine young ladies each had the ‘perfect’ ideas about what would make or break the Lutheran High School Prom 2003. The basic theme was quickly decided upon: the ocean. The unanimity stopped there. As luck would have it, none of the ‘perfect prom’ scenarios were the same. Kami wanted the theme to be “Saints At Sea 2003.” Everyone else thought is was a terrible idea and shot it down immediately, complaining that it sounded like a “bad homecoming idea.” Mandy and Tiffany, ever the overly feminine romantics, wanted the theme to be, “My Heart Will Go On,” a love song from the hit movie Titanic. The general consensus was that yeah, while it did rather have an ocean feel to it, it had been done to death by other high schools. Realizing that a prom has to have a theme, the remaining prom committee girls decided to encompass all the ideas that had been brought up, and to add a little bit of workability to it. The result was “Swept Away: A Night At Sea.” It really wasn’t a half bad idea, and it was definitely much better than the previous two. Somehow, in spite of the obvious group majority, Kami pitched a fit, caused a class-wide ruckus, and goaded the administration into a student vote during homeroom. Somehow, despite the prom committee decision towards “Swept Away,” 60-something votes later, our prom theme was “Saints At Sea 2003.” Kami agreed, after death looks from the remaining prom committee members, to drop the “2003” from the title. This was, I suppose, a last ditch effort on the part of the group to salvage the theme and make it the least ridiculous as possible. While “Saints At Sea” is pretty hokey, “Saints At Sea 2003” would have been an absolute train wreck.

Somehow, the mishaps didn’t stop there. After the theme debate was pacified, and tempers had begin to cool down, a color scheme, decorations, and ‘trinkets’ had to be decided. The colors that ended up being chosen were black and blue, which I find rather disgusting; it looks like a bruise exploded in the ballroom. Heck, while we’re at it, why not pus yellow and booger green, too? Sheesh. As if the bad rhyming theme and the injury-colored scheme weren’t mortifying enough, Mandy decided that our prom needed a ‘focal point.’ A focal point? What, so the prom attendees’ attentions will be drawn away from the horrendous colors and bizarre props and onto a horrific specimen of tackiness? But of course. So, to compliment the maritime-contusion theme, we will be having a giant cardboard illuminated lighthouse smack-dab in the middle of the dance floor.

Things have been going from bad to worse lately. Elle’s sick of the whole disaster, and keeps threatening to quit. Somehow, though, she still ends up at every weekly prom meeting. I suspect that in her subconscious, she can’t bear to get her clutches off a social event. Mandy, once the super-prom enthusiast now sits clammed up, realizing for the first time, albeit too late, that our prom will suck. Kami and Daphne can’t stand each other, probably because Daphne said Kami’s ideas were stupid. (They are.) But I’m not about to get involved. So, thanks to the catty arguments, juvenile power struggles, and bad planning, you can thank these girls if you lose your prom date in a sea of buoys and hanging seaweed. But never fear. You can meet up at the lighthouse. You can see it easily from ten miles in any direction.

With this thought, my random contemplation is winding down. I realize that it’s not going to get any better and it can’t possibly get any worse, so what’s the point in even wasting time thinking about it? What will be will be. Claire looks at me like I’ve sprouted a third arm, which makes me think I have a blank look on my face, and to make it seem like I’ve been paying attention, I nod enthusiastically and smile. Oh well. If you can’t beat them, join them. “Hey Claire,” I say. “What color are your shoes again?”

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