Earlier this week The Guns and I went to prom. It was formal night as we sailed away from Ketchikan and toward Victoria. If you’ve ever cruised you know that many cruises designate dress codes for different nights. We are either in “smart casual” (which means a variety of things depending on who you talk to, but mainly no jeans) or “formal” dress code (which also prompts a range of clothing from tuxes to khakis and polos, from evening gowns to sequined mini-dresses). I think some people are bothered by the dress code, but the fact is, sometimes it’s nice to look nice. And if you’re going to have lobster for dinner you should at least look like you deserve the effort put into the meal.
The Guns worked with the teens this week, which meant that he was planning a prom for their final formal night.
The Guns has been trying to take me to prom for years. That’s not entirely accurate. Basically, we started dating, and less than a week later I was out of town. The school he was teaching at had a prom that he was chaperoning about 2 weeks after I left. If I could have gone back to go with him, I would have. Apparently the kids had asked if I was coming. It must have sucked to have a girlfriend and before anyone (friends, co-workers, etc.) could meet her she leaves. “She can’t come to prom, she’s out of town right now.” “when will she be back?” “In August” It was May. I’m sure they everyone was wondering if I actually existed. The next time The Guns saw me he gave me a poem and a photo from him at prom. He’s standing in his suit in front of one of those distinctly prom backdrops looking stoic with his hands clasped and low in front of him. It’s adorable, but a little sad. I felt awful that I didn’t go to prom with him.
The next year we were engaged during prom. But I was in Georgia visiting family and having a bridal shower. He didn’t end up going. Again I’ve ruined a prom, not his prom, but hey prom’s not a bad thing to relive right? And I ruined another chance.
In a recent visit to The Guns’ parents’ he went through an old drawer. In it lay his wallet from high school. In the wallet were photos. Him with old girlfriends and photos of old girlfriends and friends that were almost girlfriends but not quite. There was a wallet-sized prom portrait of him and his girlfriend from senior year. She was wearing one of those two piece prom dresses from 2001. The kind that was a long satin skirt with a matching crop top, so that when your date put his arm around your waist he was touching your bare skin, which is very obvious in the standard pose for prom pictures (guy behind girl, her arms at her waist, his arms on her hands/stomach) So much for leaving room for Jesus. I’m kidding, I’m pretty sure they did leave room for Jesus, but still, who came up with that look? And why didn’t they know that it was ugly? I give The Guns a hard time about this periodically.
“those crop top dresses are so slutty. I can’t believe your girlfriend wore that.”
“It wasn’t slutty! Every girl wore them.”
“who cares, it’s still slutty. But I bet you liked it…”
“It wasn’t bad.”
So this prom needed to be different. He’s not going with some girl in a slut-tastic bathing suit dress. And this time his girlfriend, nay, his wife is actually in town. Better yet, she’s on the ship.
So we finished out our workdays and then ran down to our cabins. He put on a suit, and I grabbed an LBD and we ran up to the movie theater to watch Date Night and act like we were just a normal, non-ship living couple for an hour or so. Then we ate dinner together and split apart for a few more working hours before I ran up to join the prom in progress. The 7 or so teens that were on the ship had dressed up and were dancing in a circle to some ridiculous pop music and The Guns and I watched as the disco ball and deejay lights flashed over them in their best dresses and suits. It didn’t seem like anyone was having the prom night that you see in the movies, but hey, it’s still prom. It’s still dresses and sparkle and anticipation and doing your hair and trying to look nice and dancing even though you feel and look stupid and crowns for a king and queen that mean everything and nothing all at once.