I remember going to the prom when I was in my junior year of high school. I was double-dating with a friend, and taking my current steady (yes, a woman).
I remember cleaning out my friend's car, spraying some tacky fragrance into it that was available at the car wash, and even making sure we had the right music. I made a last minute stop at K-Mart to buy a copy of the new Foreigner tape, which featured the current hit single, "I Want to Know What Love is." (Okay, I'm old. Sue me.)
I still remember that she wore a fragrance called "Rain," and was dressed in a light purple that night. She did look beautiful. And it was a nice, romantic night. Being a geek, me and my friends were amazed people would spend so much money to go to the prom and then leave early (to drink or have sex). We danced until the band quit, went out to eat, and then took our dates home.
Time prevents me from recalling if I made out with my date that night. I probably did. We used to make out at the end of each date, her lipstick adding an interesting sensation between our lips. She was quite attracted to me.
I'm not bragging, just being honest. She would have had to be attracted to put up with me. I would barely call her, barely go out with her and rarely went out of my way to see her at school. But, she persevered. When things looked like they were going to turn sexual, I broke up with her.
Now, it all makes sense. But back then, I just thought she wasn't the right person for me. I didn't come out for another six years after that prom.
And the thought of being openly gay in high school didn't even enter my mind. It would have been a whole different world. Well, I still might felt that same sensation of kissing someone wearing lipstick, but that's a whole different issue.
The times they are a-changing (although Bob Dylan was before my time, thank you very much). Now, queer teens exist in high school, and prom time brings up interesting options.
Some schools now allow same-sex couples, others oppose them. Larger cities have queer proms in addition to what the school may offer. If you're not out at school, you can go to the alternative prom and be yourself with other queer teens.
In May, Oasis hopes to add a special section, but we need your help. We want to hear about your prom experiences. If you went with a same-sex date to your traditional high school or an alternative prom, what was it like? Write a brief story about you and how your night was. Give as much detail as you want (although if anything happened after the dancing ended, you may want to become more vague at that point). Why did you want to go to a prom? How did your parents react? Did they know?
If you are in high school now, what does the whole prom event mean to you? Would you take a same-sex date? Either way, tell us about your lives and, specifically, this issue. Write a fantasy story about the best friend you wish you could take (leave their real name out, though).
If you have prom photos and access to a scanner, send us a picture of you and your date (if you get his/her permission).
Not only will it be fun to read each other's stories and celebrate our lives, but it will be a great thing for people in more rural areas to see what other queer youth are doing and how they are living, loving and laughing.
Many people shun the prom as some bourgeois heterosexual ritual, but it is also a societal rite of passage. You can choose to avoid it, or even hate it. But many queers are embracing it, and we think it will be great to share people's stories about their proms.
This project will live or die by the response we get. We can only throw the idea out there and hope you take some time to respond. But by taking an hour out of your day, can give hope to some 15-year-old boy in the Midwest.
If you have taken a same-sex date to a prom, or live somewhere that it's an option, it can be easy to forget that you are fortunate. Sharing this one part of your life can make other people feel better about their present life, and also give them hope for their future.
So, let me thank in advance the people who will make this project a success. Please send your stories, pictures or whatever to firstname.lastname@example.org or OasisMag@aol.com.