The Five Stages of Prom


Prom season is truly one of a kind. Promposals, dresses, tuxedos, dates, and stress. Nothing says “Please be my date because your friends told me to ask you” like a massive sign, $20 worth of food, and random-themed trinkets that you’ll never use again. In order to emotionally prepare for a night of uncomfortable clothing, a million pictures, and subpar dance music, you must know the stages of prom season.

The Five Stages of Prom


The first emotion of prom season is always denial. Denial about how much time you have (it always goes faster than it seems), what you’re going to wear (not a white tux), or who you’re going to go with (you’re going to settle 9 times out of 10). The first stage comes without surprise because everyone is a procrastinator at heart, and denying that you need to aggressively prepare for prom is easy. Often, you’ll tell yourself that you’re not going to stress out about one stupid dance, and then all of the sudden your prom drama becomes TLC-worthy. Once the denial stage ends, however, you wake up from your ignorance and realize you have a daunting amount of planning to do.


The second stage hits you harder than you’d ever expect. After denying that you will be “that girl” or “that guy” (you know, the one who freaks out about every detail), you can’t help but feel angry when your carefully planned prom hits a few bumps in the road. Someone else may ask the person you were planning on asking, or you may hear that you’re getting asked by someone who you totally don’t want to go with (because you’re the perfect date, right?) When this begins to happen, the stress of prom begins to settle in and you will inevitably start to snap at your friends for not following the game plan.


Prom is two weeks away and you don’t have a date, a group, or an outfit, so you begin a series of compromises. You begin to lower your standards for dates, and suddenly that sophomore doesn’t seem too young to take to prom anymore. You realize that, although your dream prom outfit is perfect, it’s sold out because you waited too long. Now you have to scramble to find anything that will fit and doesn’t cost the same amount as the 24K Lounge. Next, you have to accept that you can’t sit at dinner with all of your friends, so how about four? No? Two? None of your friends? That’s more like it. Welcome to prom.


Nothing says “I have my priorities sorted out” like seasonal prom depression. There is no doubt that this night will be the most memorable night of your life, so when you finally have your plan settled, you will start to notice all of the tiny details that don’t conform to your perfect idea of prom. You may not sit with your best friend, you and your date may have communication issues about attire, or, even worse, you may not even get asked. Since you will undoubtedly remember this event for the rest of your life, the emotional trauma will stay with you forever. Prom depression will sink in, you’ll start debating if you even want to go, and suddenly you’re listening to sad Spotify playlists alone in your room.


The prama (prom drama) is over. Everything is set in stone. There’s no going back, even if you do regret buying a tiara to wear on prom day. You accept attending this “magical night” with the same amount of emotional stability you had during AP week: pretending you’re okay but on the inside there’s just a lot of screaming. Your clothes don’t fit correctly, your feet hurt, and there’s a 90% chance your eyes were closed in every picture you took before the dance. The greatest night of your short life has come, and there’s a lot more satin and Axe than previously expected. You imagine that you’ll look back on tonight and remember something majestic, like a crazy afterparty where for whatever reason Bill Murray shows up, but in reality you know you’ll be asleep before one after binge-eating fries from McDonald’s.