Friday, May 25, 2012

The UnProm: Ditch Prom for Cancun? Why Not?

by Monica Lopez

Now that Prom Season is well underway, I’m reminded of my own high school soirée, which like many things high school, I ditched. Okay, so I’m not going to make some feeble attempt at pretending I was just this cool rebel type chick who didn’t care about prom. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Like a lot of girls, going to prom revolved around finding a date, and for me, it had to be the right date. Now, by senior year all of my crushes had either graduated, were all wifed up, or were somewhat freaked out by my disastrous attempts at getting their attention which included varying degrees of stalking. Needless to say, I had to look outside of school for my prom date.

And this made sense since the majority of my senior year's extracurricular activities revolved around a boy named Jason. Unlike the others, he was not just the boy of the moment. He was THE boy. The one I loved in my head. The one my days, nights, outfits, plans and chillin spots revolved around. I would hang out in his neighborhood directly after school day in and day out scoping streets for his signature orange Mecca t-shirt (orange was his favorite color). And on the best days of my teenage life, I would find him and his beautiful head of long dark hair bopping to Fat Joe/Big Pun songs with his boys. Now, I don’t want to make this seem like it was all one sided. Although I probably never ran through his mind as the girl who always had the fresh airbrushed nails, the best platform shoes, and who smelled like summer gardenias, he was definitely into the goods. So, we dated. Well, sorta.
There’s one part of the story I’m leaving out. He had a ...GIRLFRIEND! And, I HATED her. Her name was Angie. And I kinda knew her. Hold on, before ya’ll judge me, please understand that we can’t help who we fall in love with, and… SIKE. I was totally a boyfriend stealer. But I was also 17, so get over it. Back to Angie - she went to the same nail salon and that’s how I knew her. We were friendly but not friends. See, I wasn’t a complete slutbag. She was like kinda cute, but I was cuter and I chose way better nail designs, so I didn’t understand why Jason didn’t just like leave her and love me. This tortured my teenage heart and for months I would compare myself to her. Now, I knew Jason was really into me. I mean, he said it and showed it. We began hanging out a lot. I was friends with his friends, he was friends with mine but I never got what I wanted. They never really broke up and we could never really be together. That meant he could never come with me to prom. I could never deal with his rejection, so I just didn’t ask.

There were a few other prom date likelies – like the friend of a friend or my BFF’s ugly reject cousin. But my heart wasn’t into asking them. Either I was going to have the perfect boy for the perfect prom or just act like I didn’t care and skip it altogether.

Now, my BFF was dealing with her own boy drama and had recently split from her dude. This, combined with my battered heart, made us so anti-dude and anti-prom. So we came up with a brilliant idea – let’s skip prom and head to Cancun!

When we told our other gal pals, they just didn’t get it. Like, how could you miss the dress/limo/princess moment? Easy. Replace it with a tan/beach/tequila filled vacation.

As soon as we landed, we began club-hopping and I had the best curly-haired-girl-fall-down-the- stairs-in-a-club moment, a la Tai in Clueless. I have to say, we held it down in Cancun. We bought weed from a taxi driver, formed alliances with fellow young vacationers including a Chinese dude with a southern accent, danced on bar tables, and got fake arrested and threatened by local police for smoking weed on the beach. Don’t worry, we were able to get out of the situation by bribing the cops with the only cash we had on us, $15 flat. I don't mean to make light of the situation. We were totally all snot and tears and praying to God when the creepster cops took us into their creepy side street station to threaten us with jail time. Plus, it was 1999, the year the movie Brokedown Palace was released. For you non-90s aficionados – first, I feel sorry for you and second, this movie was about two teen besties that went to jail in Thailand for smuggling drugs. The film starred Claire Danes when she was Claire Danes and Kate Beckinsale before she was Kate Beckinsale.

Horror cop story aside, Cancun was really an amazing, authentic experience. Mostly, we spent our days relaxed and care-free with our feet coated in smooth, powder-like sand and our nights stomping those feet on the dance floor like we ran that mother. It didn't take us long until we were likeprom who, prom what? And that began the beginning of an era, it was one of the first times I realized that I controlled my own destiny and didn’t have to submit to tradition. This thought was then enforced by all the props I got coming back to NY with the most amazing beach-side corn rows $20 could buy (this price included the bright beads at the tips – quite a bargain, no?). For those of you wondering what color the beads were, well, they were orange. 


  1. I like the pic of you and Glori! =)Great story Monica, I felt like I was reading a great girl book.

  2. This is well written and quite amusing to read. A great share!


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