Adult Prom Is the Saddest Prom

Here is a rarely discussed fact: Put the word "adult" in front of most nouns, and they become sadder, a bit desperate, somehow clinging to a semblance of youth while at the same time inherently denying it. Rarely does the word "adult" help a noun, because if "child" or "teen" or "underaged" is not specified, the default age group is already adult. It is with these feelings that we confront the New York Times latest "trend" piece, about "adult proms" -- rather the same way we tackle "adult diapers," "adult conversations," "adult drinks," and "adult dating." Embarrassing. But on to the prom part: Prom! Are adults really stuck on the idea that they didn't do their prom right in the first place, and that they need prom do-overs? Is this where therapy has gotten us? Full disclosure: We skipped our prom senior year because prom sucked. And we've never looked back.

Here, then, is the key problem with adult prom. If prom -- something you do when you are 17 or 18 years old -- is really THE BEST NIGHT OF YOUR LIFE, your life kind of ... blows. And if you're a grown adult desperate to redo that best night ever, may we suggest a beach vacation, perhaps?

Nonetheless, the Times digs into the idea of adult proms with all the aplomb one might find in a fresh-faced girl weighed down by a hideous Jessica McClintock gown and a giant corsage. Adult proms are happening, in cities as far-flung as Green Bay, Wisconsin; Decatur, Georgia; and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Adult proms are allowing adult people to relive their teenage proms -- except with drinking, and not having your parents wait up to smell your boozy breath, and not worrying about curfew, and having already lost your virginity years ago (God bless). "Prom the way you always wanted it" -- you know, as This relies on the belief that prom is actually something good in the first place. But is it? (See: Carrie. See: high school.) Reports the Times,

The adult version, as evidenced here in Green Bay, featured much of the same awkwardness as the high school prom, made only more tolerable with the addition of alcohol. Inside a ballroom, there was the woman wondering aloud all night about where her date had disappeared to. At another table sat the cluster who came for a fun girls' night out but looked rather forlorn. In a corner of the dance floor, a woman had her arms draped around her date's neck, while his hands wandered down her waist in a way that would surely make a chaperone blush.

Really, nobody seemed to mind. This was their do-over, another shot at perfection. Or perhaps for some the first chance at an American rite of passage. And for a precious few, a night to re-create one of the best times of their lives.

And so adult women go to adult hair salons and spend money on adult up-dos and to adult malls where they can find adult dresses, and then to the adult salon for an adult spray-tan and an adult mani-pedi...and so on, and so on, until a nice adult dinner at the adult Red Lobster and an adult after-party at the adult Marriott, complete with adult trashing-the-room and adult sleeping-on-the-floor.

Don't get us wrong: Getting dressed up and going out is enjoyable as an adult, as it was as a high-schooler. But add the word "prom" and all we want to do is vomit in the parking lot -- something we have, thankfully, largely outgrown in adulthood. You can't go to prom again, nor, really, should you even want to. Do yourself a favor and just call it a gala; we'll kindly forget we ever heard the words "adult prom."

A Second Shot to Have the Best Night of Their Lives [NYT]


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I am the organizer of this event in Wisconsin and welcome any and all comments and criticism.  A lot of you have touched on some very valid points.  All of the participants were WILLING and WANTED to attend.  This event was also held at an establishment that is a member of the Tavern League of Wisconsin and offers the 'Safe Ride Program' (for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it allows intoxicated patrons to get a FREE ride home from a local taxi service with a coupon given to them from an employee at the establishment they are drinking at ensuring there is NO drunk driving.  A local limousine service also offered a huge discount to any of our attendees should they want to rent a limo to enhance the feeling of 'Adult Prom'.  Some people quite enjoy this event, and others would rather stay at home.  Either is fine with us, we were looking to host a different type of event in the area to raise money for charity.

Dinaataute 1 Like

bitterness times ten...creativity in a theme party is SUPER fun. Don't judge because you're jaded ;)

PS- i'm planning a theme party with my friends at my house...the theme-- Ole folks Prom. We're in our late twenties...and its gonna be awesome!

Bsorg 1 Like

Who cares what you call it, It sounds fun. Don't be so negative, No one is making you go.  I met my husband when I was 25 so we didn't get to go to prom together.  I'd probably do it.


Guest, I can't understand why anyone who had been bullied in school would want to attend an adult prom, or anything else having to do with grade school, but if that's what you want to do, it's your choice.

However, I can see where Jen Doll is coming from.

I was not popular in school either. No one ever asked me to any dances; let alone proms. But you won't find me attending any adult proms. I'm just so happy and grateful to be an adult and leave all that high school crap behind.

And if anyone still wants to pick on me, or try to prank me, I encourage you to do it as much as you want, but I will laugh in your face.


I would like to say this civilly, without the "fuck you!"s, but (I say this without ever having been to a prom, high school or adult) it doesn't seem all that horrible, especially if the people involved are *willing* participants. This is how some people have fun. Frankly, as long as they're not driving drunk, killing people, or doing other illegal/immoral things I see no problem here.

Actually to be quite honest I've kind of considered going to an adult prom myself. I was horribly bullied throughout high school, including the biggest reason I never went to prom - an elaborate prank where I was voted to be a finalist for prom queen, similar to how Kurt was in Glee with the exception that finalists at my high school were voted for before the actual night. Of course, I found out about the prank, and filled with rage and pain did not go to prom, lest I be subject to more torture. The popular boys back then were pretty much dead set on lowering my self-esteem to a non-existent level. The hope is at an adult prom, there would be less cattiness and evil pranking than in our high-school years, and people could just let other people have their own good (or bad) time WITHOUT interfering for the worse. Gay folks could be allowed to go with their partners dressed as they want, fat girls or guys who would never have gotten dates could go with any loves they've found now. Seems like a win-win to me, you'd only go if you were really interested anyway.


Jen your a fucking cunt, was it that time of the month when you wrote this blog. If people want to do an adult prom then why the fuck do care. This is one of the stupidest blogs I have ever read. You are a retard.


Did you make this same argument against prom as a high schooler?  I sense some bitterness and long held apathy.  It's okay.  Adult Prom wouldn't be prom without adult haters like you!


just like your average night out by the b & t'ers, on a weeknight, in the city esp. in the ev, les, and meatpacking district

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