A Very Texan Senior Prom

Happy Prom season! Whether good, bad, or weird, few events create so many memories as prom.  Today’s post, from Lindsay G., recounts her weirdly, wonderfully Texan time at senior prom.  

I went to high school in Cave Creek, Arizona. I never considered myself popular in any way, but I went to prom my sophomore, junior, and senior year – twice! In my senior year, in addition to my own school’s prom, I was invited to the prom of a family friend I’d known since I was three years old in Houston, Texas. Now, I was born in Texas. I was familiar with the many stereotypes of Texans, and I knew that many of these  were not true. No, people do not ride  horses to school. No, cowboy hats are not required in school uniforms. And no, people don’t say “y’all” as much as one would think. I was willing to accompany my friend to his senior prom, without concern of any unusual or unfamiliar traditions.

I was wrong.

Before the event, my date’s best friend met us at the house. I emerged from the back room of the house – in a long, flowing, royal blue dress, my hair and make-up perfect – to see a young man I had never met in a Texas flag tuxedo vest, cowboy boots, and a ten gallon hat. “Howdy!” he proclaimed. All I could manage was a handshake as I tried to pick my jaw up off the floor! Is this how people in Texas go to prom?

After finally getting over the ridiculous, I was looking forward to blending into a crowd of high-schoolers. I walked into the conference room, escorted by my date, and I felt like I was in a scene from a bad 90s sitcom. I swear, the room went silent, all eyes turned to me, and the music screeched to a stop. Every single person knew I was an outsider. “Who is she?” “What school does she go to?” “Does anyone know her?”  My date attended a private, Christian high school. The graduating class was less than fifty; everyone knew each other, and I stuck out like a sore thumb. There was no “blending in,” as every single person approached my date asking “where he found this one,” as if I weren’t right by his side. If only I had worn red, then my cheeks and ears, blushing from embarrassment, would have matched!

We managed to escape the swarm of people staring at the “strange girl,” and I saw a food spread unlike anything I had seen before. Prom, in Texas, included dinner! Sweet, I was starving! I would never admit it to my date; I wanted to appear ladylike, but, when he headed toward the buffet line and picked up a plate before sitting down, I was grateful. I was so anxious to see what was in store! As I stood at the start of the buffet line, I saw that the food had been provided by a restaurant called Pappadeaux. “Interesting,” I thought. The selections included fried alligator fingers, shrimp jambalaya, crawfish étoufée, and other dishes that were extremely foreign to me. I reached the end of the buffet line without a single morsel of food on my plate. What was this food?

Finally, we sat at a table in the corner, away from the crowd. I had found some strawberries to munch on from the dessert table, and I was finally comfortable. The music had started, and people were slowly making their way to the dance floor. At last, I was about to partake in a prom activity I was familiar with!

As my date and I began to get up and make our way to the floor, a twangy, banjo-infused tune came over the sound system and everyone screamed. The song? “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” Again, as an outsider, I had never heard this song before. The ENTIRE group went up to the dance floor, lined up, and danced as one across the whole of the conference room. I stared in awe as people seemingly ran in perfect unison from one end of the floor to the other. I imagine that the look on my face was just as it was when I met Mr. Ten Gallon Hat. When the song ended, I was relieved. At least it was out of the way, and only “regular” music would remain. Again, I was wrong. The DJ shouted something about how true Texans could do better than that, and started it over. With more energy than I thought possible, the entire group did the whole song-and-dance (literally) once more.

I never thought I could feel so culture shocked by a prom, but I was wrong. And, while I left that night thoroughly confused, in awe, and shocked by what I had seen, I must admit, it was the most entertaining prom I ever attended!

By Lindsay G.

Epilogue: Lindsay and her prom date, Cory, became an “official” couple shortly after prom, and, six years later, just got engaged!  May your wedding be as wonderful as this first “date” all those years ago. Congratulations, Lindsay and Cory!