2/14/2011
Prom season

I've never been to a prom. No, really.

The closest thing to a prom I had was the so-called "turnover ceremony" back in elementary school. The graduating batch turns the baton over to the ones immediately after them. It was sterile and it taught me the wrong lyrics to the Eraserheads' With A Smile, but on the upside, it led to me being given some sort of "Star of the Night" award, on the only time I attended; the previous year I either fell sick or didn't feel like it.

I didn't survive regular high school long enough. I did go through high school, but there was an unspoken policy of living your own life - it's just my classmates being stubborn - and our class (of ten) only had three girls. One was taken (hello, Aie), one was a bit distant (hello, Robyn) and one was just, well... hello, Chiaki.

And college, well, it did not look feasible. High school is the last time a school can organize an event and compel, or perhaps force, everyone to come. College, on the other hand, is when you're supposed to be independent. And you had lots of choice, too: every organization, especially those with wads of money (hello, Cobs) always staged a "must-go" party at one of the city's hottest nightspots. It crammed everything in: a fashion show, a couple of performances, and a lot of drinks, all to appease the sponsors, the organization, and the school, who'd somehow find a way to direct the profits to some pet cause.

I remember my time at the batch assembly, when Reena, who was then batch president, had the idea of organizing a ball for the batch. I never really knew how it happened: the next thing I knew the event, which was branded as a final get-together for the batch before we graduated, was to be held at some fancy hotel, and cost a thousand bucks to enter. Now, the intentions were noble, but a thousand bucks to enter? Never went down our throats well, especially since we had to go since we'll be organizing the thing. I disagreed, along with a few others, and the higher-ups sort of buckled and ended up redirecting the money to the One La Salle scholarship fund, because it was too late to back out. I don't know what happened after.

I never really despaired over the fact that I didn't get to experience going to the prom. Before I graduated from high school I was starting to feel a little disillusioned by love, or at least mustering the courage to ask someone to go to the prom with you. (The blog's early readers will know where I'm going. No, I won't go there.) By the time the silent revolution rolled in, I was already jaded. By the time I graduated, I'm a hopeless case.

It's safe to say that this is the first time my family's going through the experience of preparing for the prom. Sure, my sister has been there, but my mom's a pretty stylish woman, so she had outfits to pass down. My brother, on the other hand, has to go shopping, partly because my dad's neckties and suits - the ones I borrowed when I had to go to something formal - don't fit him, and partly because he doesn't have anything formal in his wardrobe. Can't blame him: he's a believe in the "dress to impress" adage.

To make things more interesting, he has a girlfriend. I would say "I don't know how he did it" but I shouldn't be surprised, really. I'm painfully insecure, and he's more or less popular in high school. I may disagree with how he does things, but he made it work. That makes the experience easier for him: he doesn't have to ask someone to go with him to the prom, because it's very much a given.

We never really talk about her. Ideally I'm the older brother with words of advice, but I'm painfully insecure, and he's more or less popular in high school. I'll think of asking someone out, and back off anyway - a fact that is true up to this day. He's done it. Often. So I can't possible give him any advice. That, and he's a bit of an asshole, who doesn't want anyone from his family interfering with him. I doubt he'll ever introduce the girl to the family. Or that's me being a bit traditional. I can only hope he wooed her the traditional way, too.

We started looking for suits last week. I noticed that there was this kid, a boy the same age as my brother, who was doing the same thing. I presumed he was also going to the prom. He picked out one suit, fitted it, and chose another. That, or his dad was doing all the picking, because he was the one holding all the suits. Maybe it's just me and my jaded tendencies, but I saw a sad glimmer in the boy's eyes. Either he's sleepy, but I interpret things differently. Has he asked someone out to the prom? Does he have to ask someone out to the prom? Will he ask someone out to the prom? Oh, a high schooler and his romantic problems. They were big back then, big enough to spur me to write love notes on tissue paper during retreats. (I'm not going there.) They grow bigger when it stops being about your hormones and more about your emotions - and, at the same time, when you realize that you have to do something about it, else you fudge your chances forever.

I'm still jaded, but I'm pretty thankful I haven't been to a prom. It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience, you say, but so what? It's just booze and cheesy love songs, or so the American template says. If I had that template I probably would've committed suicide by now, languishing at the thought that I haven't asked, say, Jill out. You see everyone with someone, and you're very much alone, and people will tell you not to gloat one bit, because it's your fault you're painfully insecure. I'll say, in a presumed noogie-like fashion, such are the vagaries of love.

That said, I somehow wish my brother gets it right. He's more or less popular, but it doesn't mean he'll get it right. Sooner or later he'll have to ask my advice about something. But that'd entail him ceasing to think that I'm a social loser, which means I still have a long way to go. But whatever. it's just one day out of three hundred and sixty-five. And a fourth.

And your responses...

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