Prom Night – My Grand Entrance

The American tradition of a prom night bash for teens migrated to the UK some time ago and a conversation with some of the girls at our pub about their dresses sent me searching through my files for a photo of mine. I seem to remember floor length and sweet as being very in style in 1977 unlike what I think of as the “sexy too soon” look that has been the rage for a long time.

I’d be willing to bet none of the girls I talked with will be wearing anything as demure as my cream-colored Gunne Sax dress with all of its lace, and pearl buttons. I’m not saying sleek and glamorous should be ditched in favor of a dress that looks as if you’re practicing for a premature walk down the wedding aisle, but do girls have really to look so old, so soon?

In the photo above, I’m standing in front of my high school sweetheart’s house making some serious googly-eyes at him. Looking at it now you’d never believe the experience we’d shared less than an hour or so earlier when he’d arrived at my house to pick me up for the evening.

I’d spent all afternoon getting ready as I struggled to make my normally stick straight hair bend to my will. It took less time than I expected so I was ready before my date was due to arrive. My step-mom, Cullene saw his car (no limo for us) coming through the trees down the long gravel road that connected our home in the woods to the rest of the world. She suggested that I should go back upstairs so I could come down the curving staircase and make an entrance befitting my dress and the occasion.

Lifting the hem of my dress a few inches so as not to trip, I ran up the stairs and stood off to one side so I couldn’t be seen from below. I listened as my dad opened the door and greeted my boyfriend and then heard Cullene say, “Elizabeth, Scott’s here.” Pausing for a moment at the top of the stairs, I looked down over the railing smiling at my boyfriend who was wearing a dark suit that he could wear again instead renting a pastel tux, a look that was very popular that year.

It was the most dressed up I’d ever seen him as he lived in jeans and t-shirts no matter what the season, but I didn’t have time to think about how handsome he looked or what he might be thinking about my dress because as my eyes met his and I took the second step intending to glide down the stairs like a romantic figure in a Jane Austin novel, my new shoes slipped on the carpet causing my feet to go straight out in front of me as the heels of my shoes snapped off. I hit the stairs hard and slid on my backside, bumping down three or four steps before coming to a stop.

I was shocked out of my embarrassment when I heard Cullene say, ” Oh Elizabeth! Are you okay? ” Almost as soon as I said, ” Yes,” I heard my family begin to laugh nervously as if they were having trouble keeping it in but didn’t want to hurt my feelings. I was laughing too before long and poor Scott, who didn’t know what to make of us by now laughing like we were coming unglued, shook his head and walked towards the door doing his best to keep from losing it too.

After realizing my high-heeled opened toed sandals had suddenly become flats, I worried aloud about what to do for shoes until my dad grabbed a hammer and some small nails and pieced them back together so we could go on to the prom.

There are of course other parts of the evening that I remember, such as our expensive dinner with its tiny portions and the grandness the Fox Theatre’s Egyptian Ballroom, but the most memorable moment for me remains my dramatic entrance and how quickly I bounced back afterwards.

I’d love to hear your prom night stories if you have one or a most embarrassing moment if you’re feeling brave. 

16 thoughts on “Prom Night – My Grand Entrance

  1. I love your buttercup field pictures! Beautiful. This prom story is hilarious. From the wonderful idea that you make a grand entrance to the very human foiled attempt, it’s great that you were able to bounce back and view it as a funny memory rather than a humiliating one.

    My grandfather was visiting when prom happened. I’d borrowed a dress from a friend and my date and I posed on the front steps so Grandpa could take our picture. We found out to our dismay when we went to get the film developed that he’d loaded it wrong and we had nothing on film. So sad!

    • Glad you enjoyed the buttercups and the prom story. I was laughing out loud as I was rereading it for typos. I have a clear memory to this day of the way I literally bounced off each step and down to the next with my legs splayed out in front of me. Thank goodness it was a long dress or it might have been even more embarrassing.

      I hate it for you that you don’t have a photo memory of your prom night. Poor Grandpa, I bet he felt terrible too.

  2. Your story tops any that I can remember. I do recall wearing a similar Gunne Sax dress and thinking it was stunning 🙂

  3. As always your posts are a breath of fresh air! Alas, I have no awkward prom story to relate just a note to say keep up the good work my friend!

    • Thank you, Scott … you’re always so generous in your compliments and I’ve been missing seeing you here. I’m sure you’re super busy as you’re getting closer to completing nursing school. ( I should say here so people don’t get confused by your name that you are not the Scott in the photo above)

  4. Your photo looks like something out of an old movie – so romantic and sweet. But what a great story. I certainly can’t top that one. thanks for sharing.
    Hey, do you know if Cullene received her package? I think it should have been delivered Tuesday.

    • Thanks Leslye, I wish I could find more photos from that evening, but that one was my favorite anyway which must be why it was easy to find.

      Cullene did get her package and I can’t wait until Sunday to hear what she thinks when she opens it. Thanks so much for getting it to her in time.

  5. What an amazing, beautiful and heart-tugging picture. Young love…so hard, yet so fantastic at the same time. You are gorgeous!

    • Thanks Jayne, I’m afraid some of the Gunne Sax dresses had a tendency to look like wedding dresses. Can you imagine falling down the stairs looking like that … the only thing worse would have been to have taken my tumble at the prom in front of my classmates.

  6. That is an amazing prom story!
    I was pregnant at my senior prom. Six weeks from giving birth to my son, and no one knew. That cast the evening in a particular light.

  7. First day in junior high school, in science class, seated in one of those student chairs that you slide in sideways to sit in. I put my hand up to answer a question, the teacher nodded at me to answer. As we had done all through 6th grade in elementary school, I started to get to my feet to answer. No idea what caught with what as I was wearing flat shoes at the time but all of a sudden I found myself on the floor on my backside, and the class was roaring with laughter. I think I managed to answer and shoot back onto the chair, puce with embarrassment. The teacher said, “ don’t have to get up to answer a question in high school.” I could only nod that I’d heard – I didn’t trust myself not to make some further spectacle of myself. Know that feeling well, Elizabeth!

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