The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 9, 2013

Prom: A night to remember, a night to forget

By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News & Eagle

— It’s prom season, when on any given spring weekend, patrons at local restaurants are likely to encounter young ladies sporting up-dos and wearing long, sparkly gowns and impossibly high heels, and young men rocking suits and/or tuxedos of varying levels of traditional formality.

Sequined gowns are in this year, according to various online sources, as are chiffon, strapless, one-shoulder and sweetheart gowns. This year’s hot color is coral, it seems.

For the guys, anything goes, it seems, from traditional black tuxes to bright colors and even “Duck Dynasty” camouflage numbers.

But face it, guys, nobody cares what you look like. On prom night, it’s all about the girls.

Getting to the prom is half the fun, so some promsters rent limousines, borrow smokin’ hot mid-life crisis sports cars from their grandpas or arrive on four-wheelers, choppers or even tractors.

You can’t skip the corsage, you’ve got to take her to dinner at someplace nice (forget McDonald’s), and make sure you pick her up on time.

The prom will be a magic evening, something neither of you will ever forget the rest of your life. There will be music, dancing and laughter galore.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must at this point reveal that I have no idea what I’m talking about, since I never went to prom.

I told myself it was because I didn’t care about such frivolous things, that prom was stupid, that I had better things to do with my Saturday evening, that I was too good for that silliness, blah, blah, blah.

The real reason was I couldn’t get anybody to go with me.

Of course, that was only because I never worked up the courage to ask anyone to the prom. It’s like the lottery. If you don’t buy a ticket you’ll never win the multi-million dollar jackpot. I didn’t have the guts to risk rejection.

As a high schooler, I had zero self-confidence, I was socially inept and painfully shy, and I had a terrible complexion. At least my skin has cleared up in the decades since.

Back in my day, shortly after the last ice age, going stag to a prom, or attending the festivities with a group of friends, simply wasn’t done. It was get a date or stay home, so I stayed home.

Now it is not unusual for boys to attend prom with their buddies or girls with their posse of BFFs.

And for those who do plan to take a date, the act of asking a girl to the prom has risen to high art, now referred to as the “promposal.” Guys are asking girls to the prom through the use of songs, posters, videos, even flash mobs.

Proms have come a long way since my high school days. But in one Georgia high school, little has changed, until this year.

At Wilcox County High School in Rochelle, Ga., students have banded together to organize the school’s first racially integrated prom. That’s right, nearly 60 years after Brown v. Board of Education, this school has annually had two proms — one for white students, the other for black. The dances were organized by parents and students, not the school district.

A group of students are working to change that. The cadre of black and white teens have banded together to organize the school’s first-ever integrated prom, scheduled for April 27.

They have set up a Facebook page that, to date, has garnered more than 20,000 “likes” and features a link where fans can donate to the cause.

They also are selling barbecue chicken dinners for $7 to raise funds. They have about $1,000 so far.

“We are all friends,” Stephanie Sinnot, one of the students organizing the prom, told WGXA-TV. “That’s just kind of not right that we can’t go to prom together.”

A biracial student attempting to attend last year’s “white” prom was actually turned away by local police.

Incidentally, there still will be separate but not equal proms this year at Wilcox County High.

“When people around here are set in their ways, they are not too adamant to change,” Mareshia Rucker, another of the students organizing the integrated prom, told WGXA.

This is 2013, when a black man can be president of the United States, but black and white students cannot dance together at a high school prom.

The mind boggles. Kudos to these intrepid kids for trying to abolish this surviving vestige of the bad old days of racial discrimination.



Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at jmullin@enidnews.com.