Monday, August 22, 2011


I get to kick off HONESTLY YA and the first round of posts with the topic TEENAGE RITES OF PASSAGE. Caps and gowns, bonfires, summer flings, first loves, and fancy dresses. Of all the quintessential high school experiences, what leaps to my mind is prom.
So, for most people prom falls into one of two categories: BEST or WORST night of your life. For me, definitely one of the worst. My mom was adamant. “You’ll regret it if you don’t go.” But I would’ve rather been home sneaking wine coolers and rereading Les Miserables or out piercing something on a whim.


If I’m being truly honest, at seventeen I never would’ve had the courage to pierce absolutely anything on impulse. Despite the five holes in my ears and my predilection for boys in colored mohawks (BTW-green is still my fav), I didn’t find the courage to pierce things on a whim until after college—well into adulthood. But I digress…

So prom…my mom and her guilt trip…blah, blah, blah. One problem, I was a total LOSER. No one asked me to prom and I didn’t have a boyfriend. Honestly, I’d never had a real boyfriend (random lip locking doesn’t count). I asked a junior to prom—no offense to the fantastic friend who deigned to be my date—I wasn’t into him like that. But still, It was PROM and I expected…magic.

Prom was dubbed “The Time of Our Lives” and held at the beautiful Sir Francis Drake hotel in San Francisco, about an hour from my hometown of Vacaville, California. Now, I don’t want to knock those who loved their prom and had the time of their life, but it wasn’t my experience. I remember seeing all these kids, dressed up and Wang Chung-ing it, or something—it was the late 80’s, after all—and the profound feeling of being an outsider. All I wanted to do was wander the darkened city streets in my dyed-to-match teal silk pumps and have a John Hughes-worthy angst fest.

The real tragedy of the night—and I blame this squarely on the adolescently attuned shoulders of Mr. Hughes—is that no boy stepped forward to rescue me.

Jake Ryan
Where was my Jake Ryan, leaning oh-so-casually against his sports car? Or the ever-gallant Duckie sporting his bolo tie and super stylish shoes just for me? For three years, I’d been crushing on a boy who didn’t know I was alive.

Shouldn’t the cosmos have aligned and whispered in his ear to enable the appropriate prom epiphany?

But the boy never came. My date danced the last dance of the night with another girl and then we made the long drive back home. The teal lace monstrosity of a gown and the matching shoes resided in my closet as gaudy reminders of disappointed hopes.

In my book, THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN, the main character, Alex, wouldn’t be caught dead at a dance. She and her Scooby gang skip homecoming for some big screen zombie mayhem. But when Gabriel, her first love, asks her to the spring dance, she agrees—against her better judgment. When she walks in, she has this completely foreign moment where she’d rather be anywhere else. Yep, you could say I channeled that from *ahem* personal experience.

So back to my prom…

Eventually I recovered, but Prom memories will forever be shrouded in darkness. In college, I did get asked out on dates. And as I matured, I learned to make my own magic…and pierce things.
Thanks to the Vaca High class of '88 who sent me pictures of Prom!
Author Lara Zielin's new book THE IMPLOSION OF AGGIE WINCHESTER has a promcentric theme. In a recent post, readers were invited to share their prom stories. Some are just plain hilarious! Read them here.

Visit my author page for more info
THE HALO CHRONICLES: THE GUARDIAN is the first young adult novel by Carey Corp.
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Your turn: PROM...BEST or WORST night of your life? And why?


Melissa Landers said...

"But the boy never came." This line broke my cold, black heart. ::sniffle, sniffle::

It's always cool to discover how an author's personal history affects her work. Thanks for sharing.

As for *my* prom experience, I can't wait to share that next week when I post. :-P

Tonya Kappes said...

I agree with Melissa. I love how some of my personal history does find it's way into my writing.
I had gone to two or three proms a year at different schools. I was a good friend, not girlfriend to guys. I was the one who they could hang out with and have a good time with no strings attached. So I was home pretty early after prom. BUT we always had big huge parties the weekend before called Pre-prom parties, those where the BOMB!!!

Lorie Langdon said...

Fabulous post Carey! Honestly I'm wondering if *anyone* had a dream prom experience? They've got to be out there right??? Otherwise, where have all the fabled stories come from? :)

CareyCorp said...

@ Melissa - I can't wait to hear the other side of the coin...

@ Tonya - You might not have been the girlfriend - but I bet you got to wear a lot of pretty dresses. :)

@ Lorie - I do believe some people had the enchanted experience.

Anyone care to share a fairytale prom story? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Shey said...

I was reading this thinking what a witty, talented writer. Only when I read I asked a junior did I realize who that witty talented writer was!

So funny, didn't know Mom guilt-tripped you. I had a blast at prom, but also went with a friend and wore a red monstrosity instead of teal!

Love you!

CareyCorp said...

@ Shey - Yes, Mom kept telling me I wanted to go. And probably some part of me did, but the prevalent part felt sickish about being a sad, public spectacle. In reality, nobody cared - I was bigger in my own mind. Of course, I also felt like people were talking about me any time I entered a room - and not in a Cinderella good way.

I remember your red rhumba dress. :)LOL!

Mandy Millett said...

I went to prom with the boyfriend that had broken up with me about a month before. I paid for everything then he wouldn't even dance with me. I ended up dancing with you Carey and Shannon. At the end I thanked him for going with me. He said "That's cause I love you." grrr Then why did you break up with me, jerk?

CareyCorp said...

@unknown LOL! Who are you? Is this R-?My memories of that night are somewhat hazy. :)

Kimberly said...

I attended two proms and had completely different experiences. One was like the fairy tale, and the other more like eating nails. Rusty nails. I kept praying the night would just end already. But I did have the other, too. I can't give it all away now though. You'll have to wait for my post. LOL.
Aren't you glad that your mom kinda made you go though? Otherwise you'd have to wonder if your night could have sucked more?! :-) This way, there's little doubt!
Thanks for sharing!

Jennifer McAndrews said...

oh, Carey! please tell us you found your very own Jake/Duckie and lived happily ever after -- and that you never wore teal again.

CareyCorp said...

@Kim - I can't wait to hear details of your experience. Yes, now I can, with unequivocal certainty, know that prom sucks. Otherwise, a part of me would've always wondered if I missed out on something wonderful. So thanks, Mom!

@Jennifer - Yes on both counts. My hubby and I are a modern day (somewhat urban) fairytale. But our relationship grows more enchanted each day.

Mandy Millett said...

Sorry it's Mandy. The darn thing put it up as Unknown! You were a better prom date then my actual date! LOL

Anonymous said...

What a terrific blog, ladies, and a fantastic blog, Carey!!! This is super fun. Congrats!

Jennette Marie Powell said...

My proms were just meh. Both times, I went with guys who were just friends (that part was fun), but that was it. And I drove both times, LOL!

Fun topic, though!

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Congrats on the new blog, Carey, Kim, Jen, Melissa, Lea and Lorie! What a great place to hang out.

Carey, I just cannot believe that Porsche-driving, woolen vest-wearing Jake Ryan didn't show for your prom. His loss, eh? You're right--you make your own magic.

My Year 12 formal... Yikes, I was reminded of it recently when an old school friend posted a pic on my FB page. In the lead-up to it, there was lots of angst about dates, but in the end, most of us all hung out in a big group anyway. And that's all I remember. :)

CareyCorp said...

@Mandy - Hey Mandy! It's all coming back to me now. :) So glad I could be your prom rescuer. :) Thanks for stopping by.

@Darynda - Thanks for stopping by. Did you have any prom memories you want to share?

@Jennette - Of course you drove. ;) That totally fits. Motorcycle or muscle car?

@Vanessa - I'm sure you looked fabulous back then as you do now. OMG - I love the new pic and the new hair!

Lea Nolan said...

Great post Carey! Ah, Prom. It still strikes fear in my heart!

Will anyone ask me? Will I have to ask a boy? What if he turns me down? How to I slither away and maintain a morsel of dignity? What if he tells his friends I asked and that he rejected me--will they all laugh behind my back? GAH!!!!

See? The drama and lead up to the stinking dance was killer! Twenty-mumble-mumble years later, anxiety is swelling in my chest just remembering it all! In the end I went to five proms, I think, and got asked sometimes, and survived asking (and being rejected by) a few guys. Thank goodness those days are behind me!

CareyCorp said...

@Lea LOL! Your comment cracked me up. Yay for surviving the rejection! That's why I asked a junior - lots less risk. :)

Stephanie said...

What a great blog this is going to be, I have to thank my friend Laura Kaye for pointing it out. YA is nearly all I read and also what I write.

Prom. My junior prom was pretty good. Asked a (younger) friend from another school to be my date. He turned into a short-term boyfriend. But we had a lot of fun.

Senior Prom. Meh. Again, asked a friend from another school. He danced more with my friend than with me. Plus it was cold and rainy and miserable. But I absolutely adored my dress. Long, form fitting, pink. I probably looked like a Barbie doll, but I loved that dress so much.

Micki Gibson said...

Junior prom...nice, not thrilling, but nice. He was a perfect gentleman, a great guy, but alas, no chemistry. He does however, go down in history as the only guy who actually asked me out in high school and had not been bribed by my dad. Which brings me to senior prom. Totally true. My dad set me up with a date so his little girl would have a date to her senior prom. (One of his friend's sons.) Best thing about it was a) he didn't go to my school and b) he was kind of cute in that '80's surfer dude way. After prom, my friends asked if my dad had any other friends' sons that they could be set up with.

Anyhow, congratulations and good luck with your blog, ladies. I'll be back often.

CareyCorp said...

@Stephanie -Welcome! Please thank Laura for blog love. LOL about the pink barbie doll. What's important is that you loved it. Although now all I can picture is Andie's dress from PinP. Was anyone else disappointed with her end creation? I remember watching the movie and thinking, "That's it?"

Sorry about your senior date. There should be some code or etiquette that stipulates your prom dates treat eachother like "the one" if only for the night. :)

@Micki - What a sweet dad to set you up with a cutie. :) According to the John Hughes Rules of the Adolescent Universe, you should have been set up with a geek or a freak. You lucked out. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you do come back! Melissa posts next Monday and I'm enthused to get a perspective from a former prom queen.

Jenny Sulpizio said...

I think you are my soul sister! LOL. The scene with Jake Ryan leaning against his Porsche? Priceless. Loved those movies and although Prom wasn't quite as eventful as a John Hughes movie, it was fun none-the-less.

CareyCorp said...

@Jenny - I often watch John Hughes when I need a girly fix. I also love Breakfast Club. Thanks for stopping by sould sister!

Jenny Sulpizio said...

TOTALLY! I'm off to go watch Weird Science now...:)