x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Teen life: proms spur teenagers into action

Proms provide an opportunity for teenage girls to slip into flowing evening gowns and smirk at the boys, forlornly resembling stuffed frogs in their bow ties.

As our school lives draw to a close, we are busy worrying about the graduation parties and senior proms that will mark the end of the jolly and carefree days of youth. Finally, an opportunity for the girls to slip into flowing evening gowns, be princesses for the night and smirk at the boys forlornly resembling stuffed frogs in their bow ties. It’s an excuse to ask out dates for arm candy, compare notes on corsages and have a posh dinner.

UAE schools seem to excel in providing opulent send-offs for their precious students. Nevertheless, we poor teenagers will be forced to exercise all our wit and make all sorts of difficult decisions to ensure the day goes off smoothly. Is the Versace number more flattering than the Diane von Furstenberg? Dare we ask someone out and risk the unbearable humiliation of rejection? Or shall we hope, against all hopes, that we will be asked by someone tolerably non-revolting?

Perhaps our crushes have no inkling of our easily injured feelings, or for that matter our existence. Maybe we’re destined to suffer in silence and let concealment, like a worm i’ the bud, feed on our damask cheeks, as Shakespeare put it so neatly when Viola from Twelfth Night pined away mutely for Orsino. Or must we declare our love for the world to mock? The weeks leading up to it are bound to be fraught with bouts of giggling every time a member of the opposite gender passes by, everyone nudging each other hissing: “I bet he’d look so good with Tina for grad!”

My friend Simran was asked by Aman to go to senior prom with him; the effort behind the charade was stupendous. The two were at Kite Beach one day with friends when Aman traced out a gigantic “Will you go to prom with me?” on the sand, leading Simran up to the masterpiece. Paramore’s The Only Exception played softly in the background. That wasn’t all; there was a heart made of Kit Kats, three bouquets and a chain with a red pendant: “Just ’cuz you’re such a gem of a person.”

“That was slightly cheesy,” Simran conceded; oh yup, only the faintest whiff of Stilton in the background. Cute, though. We’re green with envy.

Tim bought a huge batch of macaroons from Paul’s, arranging them to spell “Will you go to prom with me?” on the tables in the cafeteria. Cue Caroline walking in and gasping a “Yes!” Predictably, the rest of the year group cheered lustily, then forged an attack on the macaroons.

Chloe, meanwhile, came up with a novel birthday present for Tom, meticulously leaving clues for him in 17 different places around Dubai, each one directing him to a new place. The 18th destination was – wait for it – Chloe herself, with a placard that read “Prom?” It would have been a bit of a tragedy if he’d refused. It’s all reminiscent of scenes from that Disney movie titled, eh, Prom. Who knew that among the cobwebs and fluff between a typical teenager’s ears lay such ingenuity, creativity and will to make things happen?

The writer is a 17-year-old student in Dubai

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