A night to remember

Prom then vs now

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As we all I’m sure know, and are tired of hearing about by now, Prom was last weekend. It was a night to get dressed up, spend time with your friends, and take those classic prom photos. Hopefully, everyone had a great time dancing and enjoying the night. 

Whether you liked the music or the dresses, prom always seems to carry strong memories. So, what about prom do you think you’ll remember most? What part of the night will stand out for you in the years to come? I sat down with English teacher and yearbook advisor Dr. Guertin who shared some fond memories, and great pieces of advice from her senior prom.

“It felt like a movie prom.” She said about her 1995 Forever Young themed prom, held at the Atrium at Montgomery Park in Northwest Portland (the theme– a reference of course to the 1984 hit by German synth-pop group Alphaville). The venue was kind of weird, but really cool, according to Guertin, who remembered entering through escalators and feeling like she’d been welcomed into the dance. “I really liked it.” She said about the prom venue and theme. Guertin also recalled the DJ was really good.

Guertin attended her senior prom with her high school sweetheart, breaking a promise she’d made to her friend Joe in the 6th grade. “My big prom regret is not going with my friend!” she explained, “My boyfriend was a year older and he was in college already. I had planned to go with my friend Joe, we made a pact in the 6th grade to go to prom together if we both didn’t have dates. As soon as my boyfriend heard he decided to go with me but hated it the whole time.”

Over the years prom has changed from the fashion trends to the hairstyles, but there were some other big differences that Guertin mentioned. “Nobody went in groups, and now everybody does.” She says that while she met up with her friends at the dance, they certainly didn’t plan and go as one big group. Something that goes with the smaller groups is that nobody had limo’s at her prom, “the guy just drove in whatever car they had, and that was that.” Commented Guertin who arrived at prom in style in a Toyota Celica. “It just feels special to have a date, then the night is all about you two.”  

Another difference now that she noticed, not just at prom but at most dances that we have, is the lack of slow songs, which is something she really misses. Guertin, who had a DJ at her prom, remembers seeing so many more people dancing to the slow songs because it’s easier and “Everybody can dance to a slow song.”

There are so many different prom trends every year and Dr. Guertin weighed in on the big one of 2019: proposals. Somewhat of a controversial opinion but Guertin is not a fan of this new trend. “I don’t like them,” she went on to explain “They take away from an actual wedding proposal.” She also said that they add an unnecessary level of pressure to asking someone to prom, “I think its limiting, fewer people go because its too much pressure.” A less high-stress and more personal way would just be to ask someone directly and sincerely, says Guertin, who sees the over-the-top proposal as a way to get more attention and show off on social media rather than a way to genuinely ask someone you like to prom.

Trends aside, prom has been a staple for high schoolers since as long as we can remember, but what is it about this one dance that is so important? “The one thing that will never change is the excitement, there’s something about it, prom has been developed in our psyche through music, movies, we have a vision of what it should be, Says Guertin who still feels excited for her seniors every year when prom rolls around. “It’s just such a beautiful part of youth, it’s one of the last really happy things you do in high school.”

“My advice would be at least go once.”