Reflections on Becoming a Prom Queen in Your Mid-Thirties

A few weekends ago I went to Baltimore for the BlogU conference that I’ve NEVER EVER talked to you about.  I won’t recap the entire thing, but suffice it to say that it was incredible and you’re a fool not to consider attending next year.

However, I will tell you about how I became prom queen at age thirty-four.

Our Saturday night party was sponsored by NickMom, and had a retro prom theme.  Now, I am a contributor to NickMom, but they’re not paying me a goddamn thing to say the nice things I’m about to say in regards to the party.  Because, guys?  When NickMom decides to throw a party, they do not fuck around. 

Nicole Leigh Shaw and Kim Bongiorno

Nicole and Kim

Now, my original plan was to wear my friend’s Halloween costume.  She made a replica of the hideous prom dress Andi created from the completely adorable vintage dress Iona gave her in Pretty in Pink.  However, I failed to realize that my sweet friend’s boobs are about three times bigger than mine, meaning the lace front hung past the bottom of my bra.  Since I’m pretty sure “retro” wasn’t code for “show us your non-existent titties”, I decided that I should probably find a backup dress.

After spending $4 on the most unflattering dress I’ve ever had the privilege of shoving my fat ass into and then modeling for my cell phone in the handicap stall of a mall bathroom, I decided to see if I could find my original prom dress.  After searching my mom’s house, I finally found it in a storage tub in my basement, buried under a spare quilt with my senior class t-shirt (CLASS OF ’98, BITCHES!).  I tried it on and oh my sweet Jesus, this dress is truly magical.  I’ve decided that from now on, every dress I purchase is going to have an empire waist and be made out of jersey knit fabric.  This dangerous combination of loose and stretchy will ensure that the dress fits you for the rest of your life, even if you decide to gain about ten pounds after high school and then not even bother to try to lose the other thirty pounds you packed on after the last kid, because you know what? Fuck it.  I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs so I need something in my life to keep me from assaulting my coworkers and emotionally scarring my children so YES I’LL HAVE THE CORNER PIECE OF THAT CAKE PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

So I packed my pink polyester treasure and flew to Baltimore.  I didn’t really think anyone would remember that it was The Dress, but I guess I seriously underestimated the effect that this dress and that picture has on people.  I am well aware of the effect it has on my mom, because I get to hear the story of that picture at nearly every family function forever and ever, amen.  But when I showed up at the NickMom Retro Prom wearing this crazy-ass dress and that awful sneer, people kind of noticed.


But it gets better: as I looked around the gymnasium, I remembered that NickMom asked everyone to submit their awesome prom pictures, so of course I sent The Picture.  And wouldn’t you know it? It turned out that each person’s picture was hanging up around the room, AND they were numbered so everyone could vote on their favorite picture.  I didn’t think about anything past getting a picture of myself with myself, because it’s basically all about me and my fucking attitude problem.


After the fourth person that told me they voted for me, I started to reeeeeeally want to win.  I may or may not have directly asked a few people to vote for me, and did I tacitly approve of and subtly encourage a few people to campaign on my behalf?  I don’t know.  The night was kind of a blur after my fourth Coke.  All I know is at some point, I found myself on the dance floor, sweating like a me in church, waiting to find out if I would been crowned prom queen.


I’m not exactly sure when or why I became convinced that the crown and my kingdom was at stake.  But I do know that this happened shortly afterward:



That’s the travel wine tumbler that I won.  I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the prize for prom queen at the dance my high school hosted at the Crowne Plaza by the airport back in the day.  I’m also fairly confident that the fact that I didn’t receive an actual crown is just an oversight on NickMom’s part, and that it should be arriving in the mail any day now.

I know I just wrote an entire blog post about the NickMom Retro Prom, but believe me, there was much, much more to BlogU than that one epic, bass-filled party.  It’s just that there’s still something magical about getting all your close friends together, putting on fancy dresses made from synthetic materials, and shaking your asses until you just can’t anymore.  There’s a reason why each generation continues to carry on the tradition of prom, and it’s not just for the fancy dress.

Or for the pictures.


It’s for the stories you share together.

(And maybe partly for the crown.)

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8 Responses to Reflections on Becoming a Prom Queen in Your Mid-Thirties

  1. You deserved that W. I know you’ll be a fair and gentle ruler. Also, I will gladly trade you a tiara for that wine sippy.

  2. So far, my reign has been pretty uneventful. Haven’t used the wine sippy yet, since I don’t drink, but I’m thinking about making it my permanent travel cup, just to make people wonder.

  3. I was one of the many who voted for your sassy pic. I loved it. Then when I found out you were wearing the same dress to the NickMom Prom, I wanted to vote 50 times more!! Loved it!

  4. Best prom EVER, with the hottest prom queen around. You’re welcome for my vote, btw.

  5. You deserve it! You are my queen. 4EVA.

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