Cummerbunds and chicken McNuggets

May 26, 2004, midnight | By Dan Greene | 17 years ago

A prom guide for the truly desperate

There will probably be two reactions to this advice from the teenage crowd. On the one hand, there will be the calm, collected girls who will read it and say, "Oh gee whiz, guys are dumb; I've had my dress for a month, I'm so calm and collected."

Then there will be the guys who, in shock, wipe the Chee-to crumbs from their mouths and croak from the couch, "Prom is in two days. I should probably think about that after lunch."

Prom is one of those moments that many high schoolers remember for the rest of their lives, right up there with that time you finally figured out what's in the cafeteria burgers (note to underclassmen; think small; think antennae). But unfortunately, teenage guys can barely plan out the tying of their shoelaces—I wear sandals—much less an event that requires more planning than the Apollo landing.

So, for all you hapless or just oblivious gentlemen out there who wake up the morning of prom wondering if perhaps your ketchup-stained sweat pants don't fit the dress code or if five days really is too long to be wearing the same pair of socks—I'm here to help.

No shirt, no shoes, no problem

I'm sure many stand-up guys are well prepared and primped for prom in advance; good for them. But pay special attention here all you other guys; despite what you've been thinking for a while, you probably do not have a tuxedo laying "somewhere in your closet." Maybe a suit, maybe some shoes, maybe even tie-dyed underwear—but not a tux.

Go ahead, try to scramble desperately for suitable clothes. But when you're done scrambling, let's calm down and think this one out. You're a guy; you adapt, you use your environment to suit your needs! At this desperate point in the prom continuum, take whatever you can get. Borrowing is key in last-ditch efforts like these, you lazy, lazy oaf.

Let's assume you've got pants—any pants will do. That old tweed jacket you wore to your friend's bar mitzvah in 7th grade is also in. Don't worry about a belt; if the pants stay on by themselves, you're fine. If not, to keep them from falling off try not to breathe in so often.

And as to your shirt: just keep your jacket buttoned tight enough, no one will be able to see your Transformers shirt that you've slept in since the fourth grade.

Also, don't try to match—it's a battle that you can't win. If anybody asks, take the snobby, high-fashion route: "Anybody who's anybody in Paris has a jacket with rips in the elbows and a clip-on tie with salsa stains" or something like that.

All dressed up and no place to go

With last minute prom preparations, such as your ride or your meal, you have to be in a different mindset: think fast, easy, cheap. Especially cheap. Write that down somewhere.

Just as we learned with your new jacket, high-fashion and uber-sophistication are great excuses that can easily confound your average friend. When the subject of where you ate for the prom dinner comes up, spouting phrases like "Fancy dinners are so trite and passé; we ate at McDonald's for the sheer irony" will be sure to make you the life of the party. It also helps that, as teenagers, it's really anyone's guess when we're being sarcastic. For all you know, I might be doing it right now.

As for your ride to that party of the year, don't worry about ridiculously over-priced stretch limos. We've all been in one vehicle that's stretchier than anything else: that's right, the Metro! The subway could be the cheap, slightly dirty, silver chariot for the night of your life. If that's not up your alley, you can always walk. Just tell your date that you're out to enjoy the stars or some sensitive garbage like that.

There it is—the contingency plan for every guy who will wake up on prom Saturday and go, "Hmm, I know I had something to do tonight, but what?" Sure sounds like a magical evening to me. I'm sorry I can't help you come up with a date though fellas, I really am. Maybe you should've thought ahead.

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Dan Greene. Dan, alright fine, VJ, is proud to be a senior at Blair and a member of the best paper. Ever. He's really funny, trust him. As managing sports editor and ombudsman he enjoys sports and ombudsing. Dan also enjoys literature, soccer and crude humor. One … More »

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