Everything that happened at your tragic secondary school prom
Someone always ended up getting with someone else’s date
Humans have devised some bizarre rituals over the millennia we have been on this planet. Did you know in Bangkok there’s an annual festival where they set up a fruit buffet weighing over 3,000 kgs for monkeys to eat? Or that on New Year’s day in Wales people cure their hangovers by sprinting into the freezing January sea? Well strange as these might seem they pale in comparison to the unholy debauchery of the humble British secondary school prom.
i am convinced no one actually enjoyed their prom
— livvie guild (@dep0pprincess) June 29, 2020
Whether you called it prom or leavers’ ball, this horrifying gathering of you and your entire year group in suits and dresses was a tragic rite of passage talked up as the event of the year, nay your lives, but no one remembers prom fondly. If you do it’s probably just a form of self-deception you’ve adopted as a coping mechanism. It was as though someone distilled the very essence of teenage awkwardness and used it to write a play, with you and your mates playing all the main parts. Prom was embarrassing, hormonal, and though you probably don’t want to remember the specifics of what happened, in reading this article you have no choice. Gaze into the murky pool of the worst years of your life and despair. This is everything that happened at your secondary school prom:
FOR GIRLS, PROM STARTED THE DAY BEFORE WITH A MEGA SPRAY TAN
And then on the day, you were up at 8am for a busy schedule of spray tan layer one scrubbing, hair done, make-up done, an hour to get the dress on and another hour to get all your accessories together. This is practice for the wedding day.
PAYING LOADS OF MONEY TO GET YOUR HAIR AND MAKE UP DONE THEN HATING IT AND DOING IT ALL AGAIN YOURSELF
Getting your mum’s best mate who dabbles in hair and make-up to do your prom look is never a good idea. You’ll sit for three hours while you watch the horror unravel in front of you but you’re still an awkward 16-year-old so you can’t say anything to stop it. She’ll give you an updo, way too much blusher and a questionable red lip. Holding back the tears, you say thanks so much and run to your bedroom to try and fix it in the ten minutes you have before you need to leave.
THERE WAS A BORDERLINE CIVIL WAR OVER WHO GOT TO ORGANISE THE PROM AND THE GIRLS WERE UNQUESTIONABLY THE VICTORS
The girls wanted beautiful tablecloths, a photo booth, and flowers everywhere. They boys, meanwhile, were content with plastic chairs and student DJs, provided they might get a bit of free booze. Compromise would eventually be reached, on the girls’ terms of course.
THE PHOTOSHOOT AT HOME TAKEN BY YOUR MUM WAS THE BEST BIT
On entry, you were gifted with one (1) glass of Buck’s Fizz and immediately whisked away for photo opportunities. Naturally, several mums were in attendance. We got the shots with the boyz, shots with the laydeez, the couples’ shots, the couples’ shots where the boy and the girl had never met before, the friendship group shots where certain people were awkwardly left out. You know that scene in Mean Girls where Regina George’s mum is doing a full photoshoot with Regina George in her bunny costume? It was kind of like that, but less bunny outfit and more awkwardly standing in a line doing the teapot arm and Barbie feet pose.
ALSO, WHY DID ALL THE MUMS WANT TO COME ROUND TO THE PRE-DRINKS HOUSE AND SEE YOU ALL TOGETHER
Don’t think anyone’s parents have given this much of a shit about anything else.
SOMEONE ALWAYS TOOK SOMEONE AS A DATE THEY DIDN’T EVEN KNOW
It’s a cruel and lonely world, and sometimes you have to take a total stranger to your prom so you have a reason to go at all. It was a collaborative effort to get Grace and Harry to go together, one that involved mutual friends assuring Grace that Harry “was really nice” only for Harry to turn out to be really spotty and shy. Grace immediately ditches him the moment she’s through the door and Harry is fine with that.
THE GIRLS LOOKED ABOUT 10 YEARS OLDER THAN THE WEEDY BOYS
Thanks to a fusion of fake tan, make-up, and gigantic heels, the girls at your school morphed into adult women before your very eyes. Meanwhile, the poor little boys were left in oversized suits their mums had bought for them to grow into, their hair thick with far too much gel.
SOMEONE GOT A WAY-TOO-DARK FAKE TAN AND TWO LAYERS OF FOUNDATION PUT ON
They inevitably looked like a Wotsit and spent their entire evening trying to avoid all cameras.
THE CLOSET GAYS AND LESBIANS ALWAYS WENT TOGETHER AND LOOKED BANGING
Before we even knew what the term beard was, these were the OG beards. Safer than a gay or lesbian actually asking a straight out to prom and ending up in that tangled web, the gays sought each other out for safety and agreed to be each other’s dates. Because of gays’ natural superiority to straights in black suits and sequin bust dresses (put those Primark heels in. the. bin.), they always looked way better than the other couples even if they’d rather die than actually touch each others’ bare skin. All that time in the closet has to be good for something.
SOMEONE BROUGHT THE ‘BAD BOY’ FROM ANOTHER SCHOOL AND HE HAD A HIP FLASK 😲
His name was Josh or Callum and he was probably in the year above. You desperately tried to rub shoulders with him in an attempt to make yourself look cool. Unfortunately, he did not want to be there for any other reason than to get off with his girlfriend of four days.
ONE PERSON IN THE FRIENDSHIP GROUP HAD TO GO WITHOUT A DATE
All your mates either had boyfriends or male best friends they could take and then there was you. All the spare single guys had been dibs and you still hadn’t had your first boyfriend so alone was your only option. Your dad bought you a bunch of flowers to make you feel better but it actually just made you feel like even more of a loser. Jokes on everyone else though because at least you didn’t have to spend the evening looking after an annoying awkward teenage boy all night.
YOU GOT A HUGE STRETCHED LIMO TO THE VENUE AND THOUGHT YOU WERE THE BOLLOCKS
Hanging out the window, tunes blasting, nobody can hold you back.
THERE WAS ALWAYS ONE GROUP OF FRIENDS WHO GOT A CAMPERVAN OR DOUBLE DECKER BUS
These people wanted to look alternative and better than everyone else. But in reality, it always looked a bit sad when five girls trailed off a double-decker bus expecting a celebrity level welcome.
NOBODY ATE THE FANCY FOOD BECAUSE THIS WAS A CLEAR WAY OF GETTING MORE DRUNK AT THE WILD AFTER PROM PARTY
Beef wellington? No thank you.
YOU PAID A STUPID AMOUNT FOR PROFESSIONAL PICTURES WHICH YOU’VE NEVER LOOKED AT SINCE
Surprisingly I don’t want to look back at the horrific, fake tanned or spiky-haired mess I was five years ago, but thanks anyway.
THERE WAS ALWAYS HEARTBREAK AND TEARS SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY AND SOMEONE ALWAYS ARRIVED IN THEIR MUM’S BEATEN UP VOLKSWAGEN SHARAN
Leavers prom: Our travel plans fell through last minute so we turned up to prom in my mates mum’s 10yo people carrier, which considering it was held at a grandiose old building and people were arriving in Bentleys and stuff, just screamed Inbetweeners. My girlfriend of three years had broken up with me approximately a week before because we were due to go off to uni, but we agreed to be civil and even got a photo together which was sweet. After the function, we then all went back to a local club to get #litty and have some drinks, and I turn around to see her grinding against my best friend at the time. Cried, asked my friend who wasn’t in sixth form to pick me up and take me home. Freshly heartbroken, I decided I’d come to uni and become a gigachad after that.
SOMEONE CRIED AND THEIR FAKE TAN WAS A MESS
Girls at prom always get their first-ever spray tan, and there’s no controlling it when the tears of leaving the girlies start flowing. Two white strips down the face, lovely.
NONE OF THE GIRLS REALLY KNEW HOW TO WALK IN HEELS AND IT SHOWED
16-year-old girls at prom move much like a hen party of drunk 30-year-old’s stumbling around Newcastle. They roll their ankles, they take off their heels on unsafe terrain, they complain and sit down a lot. Let’s be honest – when were 16 we had no fucking clue how to walk in heels. If you were lucky your mum or sister gave you a little demonstration in front of the mirror and maybe you wore your prom heels around the house for an hour or two, but that’s about all the practice you got. Then you had to wear them for upwards of SIX HOURS, taking photos, smiling, walking and talking and then eventually doing some excruciatingly bad 16-year-old dance moves. No wonder all of the pics from that night look more like a grimace than a smile, I was in pure pain.
BY THE END OF THE NIGHT THE ROOM WAS FULL OF GIRLS CARRYING THEIR SHOES
THE LOOSE STUDENTS TRIED TO FLIRT WITH THE TEACHERS
Just because you’re in a dress and heels and have eight layers of spray tan on doesn’t mean your Science teacher is gonna wanna shag you, take that from me. Also boys: wearing a tux doesn’t make you look older, in fact, it makes you look like a small butler boy or three children in a trenchcoat but this time they’re wearing a bowtie, so Miss Evans isn’t going to suddenly fall in love with you either.
INEVITABLY ONE OF THE CLOSET GAYS BETRAYED THE OTHER TO HOOK UP IN THE MIDDLE OF PROM
Okay storytime: I was one of those gays who went with the school equivalent of a beard to prom and it was great fun up until the point she ditched me to go hang out with a lady friend, leaving sat at the table like a little gay simp until she’d had her fun. You’d think it wasn’t possible to feel this cucked when you’re in the polar opposite of a romantic relationship with someone but you would be surprised!!!! Does the story end with me also hooking up to even the balance? Nooooooo. It ends with me in Maccies as it should.
EVERYONE PRETENDING TO BE DRUNK, DESPITE NOT HAVING ONE SINGLE SIP OF ALCOHOL
Omg I’m sooooooo wasted.
BUT THERE WAS STILL ONE PERSON WHO STILL MANAGED RIDICULOUSLY DRUNK
It was probably someone who was in the “popular” group and everyone at the time thought they were quite cool but now it’s just awful to look back on.
THERE WAS ALWAYS ONE REBEL PAL WHO HAD BEEN BANNED FROM PROM BUT SHOWED UP ANYWAY
Aayyyyy here we are lads prom 2k12!!!!! He’d say as he strolled in through the doors in his suit, despite being banned because he threw a chair once in Maths.
ONE GIRL ENDED UP IN TEARS BECAUSE SHE WASN’T PROM QUEEN
Poor old Ellie was told by everyone she was the prettiest in the year for five years straight, this was her time to shine and she’s been SHAFTED.
SOME OF THE REALLY COOL BOYS HAD CIGARS (???)
Genuinely very unsure how a bunch of 16-year-old weedy lookin’ boys got their hands on six Cuban cigars for their prom night but I recall going outside and seeing the head of our languages department Mr [Redacted] lighting up a fat doobie with Tom, Benedict, Jack, Alex and Ben. Cool beans.
SOMEONE ENDED UP GETTING WITH SOMEONE ELSE’S DATE
It’s bound to happen. If you’re not with an actual boyfriend or girlfriend, your prom date was a last-minute choice and always a regret. Everyone’s dressed all fancy, the cheap prosecco is flowing and for the first time you’re surrounded by a load of “good looking” people you’ve never seen before who you want to snog!!! Inhibitions go out the window and the next thing you know you’re lipsing Jake (the date of your mate Amy) behind the gazebo. You know this is all going to kick off in Monday’s registration but for right now, you feel like a WOMAN.
THE WEIRD AWARDS
It’s a bit weird that Michaela was awarded best arse of the year, right in front of 75-year-old Mr Harp.
WHOEVER AGREED TO HOST AFTER-PROM IMMEDIATELY REGRETTED IT
Let me make this clear: I hosted our year 11 after prom and I can tell you it was one of the biggest regrets of my life. It was two gazebos tied together with string in a field, and everyone camped (this is Somerset if it isn’t already clear). Another kids’ mum came to drop off a tent early that day and likened the set up to Glastonbury, which was very generous. I made everyone pay three pounds each for entry to pay for my elaborate gazebo extravaganza and then the music broke halfway through. A bunch of 24-year-old men showed up and tried to get involved, saying they knew “Ruth”. Weird. I went to bed by 1am because I had a headache. Someone body-slammed a girl called Bonita into a garden bench and broke my bench. Do. Not. Host. After Prom.
THE POWER COUPLE AT YOUR SCHOOL HAD SEX FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME AND EVERYONE KNEW ABOUT IT
Prom was invented for couples like these, to flaunt their coupleness in front of the entire school. For them, prom was basically their wedding, and group chats up and down the corridors were alive with gossip the next day at the news they had consummated. In hindsight, it was a little gross.
SOMEONE AT THE AFTERS BROUGHT THE MARAJUANAS AND YOU PASSED A SINGLE SPLIFF AROUND ABOUT 30 PEOPLE
Eventually, you all ended up at a party at someone’s house in your suits and dresses, while those poor sods who hadn’t been invited sulked about in jeans and hoodies. At one point someone brought out the weed and given you were on the cusp of adulthood you thought “why not” and spleeeeffed away. You couldn’t hack it, however, and ended up spluttering phlegm all over everyone like the little virgin you were.
OR EVERYONE CAMPED IN SOMEONE’S FIELD AFTERWARDS WHERE THE EXCLUDED BAD BOYS WOULD ALWAYS SHOW UP
Year 11 prom: All of the bad boys who either got thrown out of the school or were told they weren’t allowed to attend for bad behaviour showed up anyway and smoked CIGARETTES outside of the building. Teachers had to shoo them away, but they wouldn’t budge! This was a consistent source of discussion for years to come (not a lot happened at my school). Everyone went to camp in a field afterwards and I got a secret handy under the sleeping bag from my gf while our mates were in the tent. Year 11 was a weird time.
EVERY GIRL IN YOUR YEAR GROUP UPLOADING THE SAME 215 PHOTOS EACH TO FACEBOOK
Oh look, I’ve been tagged in 78 photos which ALL LOOK THE SAME.
AND NOW IT’S AN UNWRITTEN RULE THAT NOBODY TALKS ABOUT PROM EVER AGAIN
You just don’t, ever. It didn’t happen.
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