Emma S.

My school didn’t have a real prom—we had a party, with the entire faculty, on a boozeless “booze cruise” around Manhattan. So I spent my junior year scrambling to go to a REAL prom, the kind with corsages and limousines. The first one I went to was with a friend from summer camp. His school was even smaller than mine, and I didn’t really understand that I was going to his prom (when he called to ask, he said “go dancing with some friends”) until a few days prior. I wore a see-through dress from Bebe with a black slip underneath. The prom was held in the basement of an Indian restaurant; I spent most of the time in the ladies’ bathroom drinking vodka with some girls I didn’t know. They played a lot of Jackson 5. Prom Experience Grade: C+

My second prom, a few weeks later, was the real deal—in a giant ballroom in the Puck Building in Soho. My date was 6'4", which unfortunately is the only thing I liked about him. We were friendly acquaintances, and the only reason I accepted was that I had a lot of friends in his grade and really just wanted to hang out with them, plus it looked like this was my one shot at the All-American Prom Experience (or at least as close as you can get in New York City). (Note: I was an asshole. I know, you don’t have to tell me.) I wore the same see-through dress from before, only with a taupe-colored slip, which made me look completely naked. I had Courtney Love post-Larry Flynt hair, and felt super good about the whole thing. I ditched the date as soon as we got there, though we did leave together. There was no kissing whatsoever, and I started going out with his best friend shortly thereafter. (Like I said: I know.) Prom Experience Grade: B

My third and fourth proms were the aforementioned boat parties, which my school tried really hard to make seem cool. They weren’t. Both years I went with friends instead of real “dates,” though I did have a crush on the friend I brought my senior year. The only thing I remember about the first one was getting a back massage from a very pretty teacher who had also taken me dress shopping on the back of her motorcycle (pre-Prom Experience Grade: A+). The second was nice because my friends and I drank many, many frozen margaritas beforehand. I wore pants. Prom Experience Grade: N/A, because I still don’t think this counts as a prom. ♦