Why Of Course I’ll Be Happy To Show You My Prom Picture

Seriously, I thought you’d never ask.

The picture itself is slightly distressed, a product of being a wallet-sized photo trapped in a wallet for a number of years, and then in box for all the years after that (it’s now being placed in another, smaller box). And I subtracted the color because let’s just say prom pictures are not known for being color stable. But, yup, that’s me, and my prom date Joy, whom I had a huge crush on all through high school in that “I’m a nerd and have no chance but will adore you anyway” manner that I suspect at least a few of you may remember. So naturally I was happy when she let me take her to the prom. We had a nice time, if I recall correctly. So if you are one of those people bitter about the prom, sorry, man. Not in your camp.

And now, back to clearing out the office.

48 Comments on “Why Of Course I’ll Be Happy To Show You My Prom Picture”

  1. I went to three proms, as a matter of fact. (Fallout from being the first girl to join the high school’s science fiction club. Eventually, some nerd guys figure out that there are also nerd girls who will be happy to go out with them.)

    But the one I had the most fun at was the one where a bunch of us who didn’t have dates all hung out and threw a party within a party.

  2. I went to the German equivalent of high school, and we didn’t have proms, or sporting teams.

    Having been subjected to a steady diet of John Hughes movies in the same time period, I feel kind of deprived, even though most of my American relatives now tell me they either a.) never went to their proms, or b.) hated proms, and the entire social experience of high school.

    I suspect that the John Hughes movies we watched didn’t paint a 100% accurate picture of American high school life.

  3. Hey, she went to the prom with you so you must of had some chance. Even if you didn’t realize it at the time.

  4. Rembrant:

    Really, no. But thanks for thinking so. She was a good friend then despite my unseemly crushing on her, and remains so today.

  5. @Marko: I spent my senior year of high school in Germany and was THRILLED by the absence of sports teams and prom.

    Largely because the activities my Gymnasium had were a zillion times better. Friday night “Disco in der Aule” was my favorite night of the week. No pressure to find a date and a dress and all that, just the whole gang showing up to boogie down for the evening. And at Abitur time? Abi-Fete rocked the house, and the champagne breakfast and parade through the StadtZentrum was way more fun than anything I could have had back home.

    I don’t know anyone who had the John Hughes high school experience.

  6. Did the photog pose you like that – your arms intertwined and your left leg forward?

    I always hated posing for school photographers. At the time you think to yourself, “My head feels like it’s really tilted stupid…but the dude is a professional.” And then when you get the picture, sure enough, you look stupid.

    Only a man with no Internet enemies can post their prom photo.

  7. I also went to three proms, had a date to my Junior Prom. Went with my girlfriend to her Senior Prom and we broke up the week after, so I went Stag to my own High School Senior Prom.

    No photos survive, thank (insert your favorite deity here)! This was 1976 and we all know what the fashion choices were then. The platform shoes are the least of the problem…

  8. “But, yup, that’s me”

    While you have aged, John, your face still has a lot of the same distinguishing characteristics. I think it’s mostly the eyes and mouth, especially with you smiling.

    This may sound odd, but you are one of those people whose face completely changes when you smile. When your not smiling you look very serious. But in the pictures I’ve seen of you smiling it’s like some one set off a happy bomb inside you.

  9. Not sure what you were worried about. I see nerdy hunk in that picture. But maybe it wasn’t as socially acceptable back in the day to be that? I don’t remember. I blocked out my youth for posterity.

  10. The contrast between your meaty paw and her slender wrist is–to use an 80s word–AWESEOME!

  11. Didn’t go to prom. I think I had a AD&D game that night my sophomore year. My senior year I almost went but my date dropped out on me. I didn’t cry about it. In fact, I can’t remember quite why I thought about going. None of my friends went, either. I can’t remember anyone who did go. (I went to a very large high school)

    Luckily, the John Hughes movies came out after I graduated, but not so long after that I didn’t know they were lying about high school.

  12. All I remember about my various prom experiances is that I only ever enjoyed the ones held by other schools, because mine all sucked.

  13. When I was a senior in high school, I started using a local computer chat line via 2400 baud dial-up. This was in 1990: I was a STONE AGE GEEK. Via the chatline, I connected with a college freshman who’d graduated from my HS the year before and who apparently spent three years with a huge, enormous, unrequited crush on me, all while I had no idea who he was.

    After connecting online, we dated for a few months, and we went to my prom together. It was fun. We went, had our picture taken, danced twice, and then ditched out and went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight. It was some big anniversary showing and you got in free if you were in costume, so we stripped down to our underwear at the door and went as Brad and Janet.

    It was pretty awesome, actually, but not exactly in a John Hughes Scripted This sort of way…

  14. I bet the suit is some kind of unholy dark purple color, hence the b&w cover-up. ;-)

  15. Dude, you are far far braver than I.

    At least, in my case, no photos from the Miami Vice phase my best friend and I went through survive.



  16. Prom pictures do look more distinguished when the color is removed. I made the unfortunate decision to match the color of my tie and cummerbund with my date’s dress. What’s wrong with that, you may ask?

    Her dress was pink, my tux…white.

    I blame Don Johnson.

  17. My dates boyfriend asked me to take his girlfriend to the prom. We were all friends, and she was dating a guy that was out of high school, and her parents didn’t know about him.

    Apparently I was the guy you could trust with your girlfriend. She ditched me for him immediately after the prom, but we are still friends 25 years later, so it’s all good.

  18. Naomi @ 21:

    When I was a senior in high school, I started using a local computer chat line via 2400 baud dial-up. This was in 1990: I was a STONE AGE GEEK.

    Don’t get me started, kid. We were the first class our chemistry/physics teacher didn’t teach how to use slide rules, because those newfangled electronic calculators had dropped in price to being only a little more expensive than a good slide rule.

    As for my prom, yes, I went. I had a nice time despite being a total geek and having gone with my 3rd choice. (Shh. Don’t tell her. Anyway, I probably hadn’t even been on her list.)

    Choice #2 was a friend I had a secret crush on but who had already been asked by someone else. Choice #1 was a friend I had been secretly crushed out on since first grade but who was “taken”. There was also one Not-A-Choice because this was decades before Gay/Straight Alliances and I was so far in the closet I was practically in Narnia.

  19. Bearpaw, @29, you are clearly older than me; calculators had taken over by the time I was in 4th grade. Slide rules were still available, but were rapidly becoming mere novelties.

  20. Naomi- I too went to Rocky Horror after my prom!

    I have to say, my senior prom (held at Sea World!) was awesome. I was an unpopular nerd, and I managed to take a Marine Corporal to my prom. All the popular girls were jealous. Take THAT, you bitches! Afterwards we skipped the After Prom at the bowling alley and instead headed off to the Fiesta Twin Theater on 5th Avenue for some Rocky Horror. Next came a couple of hours at Denny’s, because it was the only place open at 2am. We ended the night walking around the beach in Coronado, and finally got home around 8am. None of us were very much into drinking, and none of us had serious significant others, so it was a pretty sedate prom. It was loads of fun, even if was pretty G-rated.

    And VaHawkeye, I still say awesome, but that might be the Southern California upbringing.

    Great picture John. And thanks for taking me down my own memory lane. :)

  21. I remember my Senior prom very well. We had it at the newly opened Marriot Hotel at the foot of Canal St. at the edge of the French Quarter. I had a great date, the same girl I took to the Junior Prom (we almost got married). The theme of the prom was “Fire on the Bayou”.
    As for office cleaning John, I’ll be glad to look after your two HUGOS for you!!!
    I have to clean out my office sometime soon myself.
    I Hope everyone has a great day and remember that The Class of 1976 Rules!! :)

  22. I had a wonderful time in high school, though I wouldn’t do it again for love nor money and John Hughes might as well have been Stanley Kubrick for all the relevance his movies had to my experience. I had good friends, I fell in love, and nobody duct-taped me to anything. What more can you ask?

    I’m glad you’re still friends with your prom date (@#5) – you need people in life who remember your stories that far back.

  23. Charles @33

    Dude, I forgot that we rule for a while. Might be the fact that my daughters are in their 20’s now.

    Did you have to do Red White and Blue for your class colors? We were being pressured heavily for that since it was the Bicentennial, but rebelled and went with Blue and silver. The Superintendent was pissed and threatened to not let us have a graduation ceremony but we held firm, all 10 of us.
    Yes, 10, very small school in rural Nebraska. That may be why I live in Seattle now.

    I was going to apologize for the thread hijack but it is still mostly on topic, memory lane and all.

    Jeff S.
    Class of “76

    Now get off my lawn…

  24. Jeff S. @ 35.
    As a matter of fact I think the prom colors were red,white, and blue! Wow, you had 10 people in your class! I had 660. My high school (West Jefferson) was the largest in the State of Louisiana at the time. Our school colors are Scarlet and Grey Silver and we had Scarlet robes at graduation. We looked like the Spanish Inquisition!!! At the time, the high schools in Jefferson Parish were segreated by sex and we were a boys school. They did not put the girls back in until 1983. Now I teach at my old high school (and sponser the Science Fiction Club there.) As the song says “The times, they are a changing”. :)
    P.S. the class of 2010 has chosen to wear Black robes instead of the Scarlet ones. We faculty also wear robes. It looks really cool! Seniors only have 36 more school days (thank God!)

  25. I’m not bitter about not going to prom. I never even considered going. I don’t really do parties and I can’t think of anyone I would have gone with if they’d asked.

    It was the same thing with grad night at Disneyland. Never considered going, and was very happy I didn’t after I saw my classmates getting off the bus the next morning (I was at the school with my dad, playing tennis at the time). They all looked miserable. It couldn’t have been the long bus ride home. The high school I graduated from was all of 15 miles from Disneyland.

    Nice photo, though.

  26. Jesus. In the spirit of noble self-effacement and to make you all feel better about your age, I note that: (a) I could not go to ROCKY HORROR after my proms because the movie had not yet been filmed; (b) kids in my science classes were still using slide rules up through the end of my college years because calculators were not yet readily available (at least not in an affordable version).

    To save you from doing the historical research, high school graduation was 1970, college graduation was 1974, RH was 1975 and I think I saw my first calculator around 1976 when I was having lunch in a restaurant with a work colleague and he whipped his out to figure out the tip.

  27. Charles @ 36

    You’re right, we were pretty small. School population, K-12 was 147 when I graduated and my home town population was only 260 at the time.
    I think it’s great that you teach at your old school. In some ways it’s like my best friend from those days. We both headed off for college, he went back and is now the industrial arts teacher, women’s basketball coach and asst track coach.

    3 small towns consolidated to make a larger district so the class size is in the 50-60 range now but still plenty small.

    Lyle @ 38
    The time line looks like I remember it.
    I was still using a slide rule most of the way through High school for the same reason. My trig teacher pointed out that a slide rule never ran out of batteries or need a plug in. I still have mine and used it just a few months ago to prove to my college age daughters that it was almost as fast as they could punch keys. They were dubious but impressed when I showed them. (just glad I still remembered how to use the darn thing)

  28. I didn’t go to my prom but my daughter went to at least two proms (once as a junior) and had a good time and loved getting her hair done, etc. Looking back now, I realize lots of stuff about the way my life was back then contributed to this. I’m not bitter. College was a lot more fun due to the one important lesson that high school taught me: I’m responsible for my own happiness.

  29. I went to my prom! And was even on the prom court! I rarely mention this for fear of damaging my Geek Cred, so thanks for coming out of the prom closet, John.

    And oh, the dropped-waist formals of the 1980s have not aged well. I have some photos from my college dances featuring me and my friends wearing same, and it just wasn’t a good look for almost anyone. Even someone as completely adorable as your friend Joy.

  30. Jeff S. @ 40:

    Our teacher abandoned slide rules as part of the curriculum as of our year, but offered to show the basics outside of class to anyone sufficiently interested. Which of course the geekiest of us were, but after a little playing around, we went back to our shiny new electronic gizmos. My limited knowledge about how to use one died quickly from lack of use.

  31. Kelsey @ 11: As someone who has done extensive posing for prom, I have to say that pose sucks. And in fact, I think most prom poses suck UNLESS you have extensive training, which most franchises don’t bother to do.

    Tangential to this, it is very very hard to get a dip to look good, yet most students want it. I had a collection at one point of good and bad poses* and my conclusion was that we should never suggest a dip. In fact, I remember photographing one dance at which the couple wanted a dip and the pose the girl struck just before was so much better that I had her do it again and convinced them to take that shot instead. (In the last few years we’ve offered on-site photo selection— very popular at proms.)

    *I categorized them in terms of the pose so the posers could see what worked and what didn’t.

    There was one section I titled “Dear God.” Let us just say that those photos never made it out of the lab, and the photographers were asked what on earth they were thinking.

  32. John, if I had known you in HS I would have had a tremendous crush on YOU. What an attractive youth you were!

    Of course, you were in grade school when I was in HS, so it was not to be.

    I did not attend my prom. It was before I could go with a boy, and I was already militant enough not to take a girl.

    My physics teacher in 9th grade showed us that he could make sliderule calculations faster than the kids with calculators could do them. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t true by the time I graduated.

  33. Everyone talking about crushes reminds me of why I didn’t mind going to my Senior Prom stag. (I already mentioned my girlfriend and I broke up right before my prom, my fault, I was being an immature dick.)

    Anyway, I had a major crush on the Chorus/band teacher. It was her first job out of college, so she was what, 25-26 at the time. Single and gorgeous, at least I thought so. She knew of course and handled it very nicely. She did come over and actually asked me to dance. A slow dance even!
    We talked about the whole thing and why teachers should NOT get involved with students and why it wouldn’t be a good idea to pursue the idea after I graduated.
    I came away feeling even more impressed with this young lady and very good about myself.

    I think I’m still a little bit in love with her after all this time…

  34. B. Durbin #44: Hey! We did the “dip” for my wedding photos and they look GREAT! In fact, they are my favorite shots of the whole shebang!

  35. My best prom date was when we were fresh out of college and my wife was teaching at the high school. A friend of ours babysat, I took my wife to the prom, we had a blast.

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