I wore a salmon-colored tuxedo with a cummerbund and tails to my senior prom. I was 6-foot-6 and 175 pounds. A beanpole.
At the time, I thought I was the bomb.
Looking back at photos from that prom, it’s clear that I was not the bomb. I was a bomb. With my blond afro, I looked like a human Q-tip wrapped in a clown outfit. My date, poor Sandy Phillips, has a half-stunned, half-mortified look on her face in those photos.
I’m sure when people see the photos, they think, “What’s that pretty girl doing at her high school prom with that walking punchline?”
Looking back, I wonder whether Sandy had some sort of visual impairment. Perhaps an olfactory impairment, as well.
Thirty years later, the girls are still radiant in their prom dresses. The boys, I think, look better than they did in my day. Or at least better than I did in my day.
Each spring, photographers from The Herald Bulletin document Madison County area high school proms with dozens of photos. We run a selection of them in print the Monday after the prom. Shenandoah’s prom is represented on this page today.
We also post photo galleries at heraldbulletin.smugmug.com on Monday. It’s easy to purchase photos there, as well.
It’s interesting to look at the photos and ruminate on the prom as a rite of passage. Some of the revelers look like they’re stuck in their early teens; a few appear to be well on the way to middle age.
Occasionally, I’ll see a tall, skinny kid in a colorful tuxedo, and I’ll think maybe I wasn’t so awkward after all at my senior prom. Then it occurs to me that no generation is immune from the epidemic of awkwardness.