Letters from the dorm: Smile and prepare for the prom

Talise Tsai
Talise Tsai |

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It's 3pm and while taking a leisurely stroll in the park you see in the distance several beautiful young women in long, elegant dresses and young men in tuxedos and colourful ties.

As you turn the corner, a street full of sleek, polished limousines appears. You approach the eager crowd, feeling quite underdressed, and peer closer to take in the small flowers attached to the women's wrists and the matching arrangements on the men's lapels.

At the sight of all the beaming faces, and proud parents scurrying about as they capture the moment on camera, you cannot help but smile and eagerly await your turn at the "classic high school experience" - the prom.

School may be drawing to a close, and senior students saying goodbye all across Hong Kong, but in most parts of Canada and the United States, it's prom season.

Countless teenage boys and girls have been enthusiastically planning for the night of their lives from as early as December.

There are so many things to plan before the big night - arranging dates, corsages, pre-prom preparation details, after-prom parties, limos, tables, voting for the Prom King and Queen, and not to mention getting a dress (or a tuxedo)!

Early in December, a keen young woman will almost certainly start a "dress forum" via social media, collecting photos and descriptions of dresses from teenage girls, ensuring nobody appears wearing the same dress on the night!

Between February and May comes the trail of elaborately and creatively planned "promposals". This is a recent fad in the US and Canada that usually involves a team of dedicated planners and helpers, lots of balloons, chocolate, flowers, and a poem, song or dance, and - if fortunate - a prom date for the teenage boy.

It's an endearing experience for the girls (usually), an anxious month of waiting and hoping for the guys, and a season of oohs and aahs, a million Facebook notifications and cute videos.

As the school year comes to an end, social media is flooded once again, this time with the real deal and the classic prom photos: the prom couple photo, and the hand-on-hip ladies' photo, among others.

Prom is a night to remember and the experience is different for everyone, but hopefully elements common to all will be an elegant ballroom, slow dances, great food, lots and lots of photos, friends, and smiles!