Prom will probably the highlight of your entire high school career (with the exception of that time you wore that awesome shirt and Gorgeous Claire in AP Lit said you looked "cute," and that other time you caught that third-out pop-up during baseball week in gym class and temporarily became the hero of the world). To ensure that you ace this critical event, run through this pre-prom checklist at least twice—lest you screw the big night up and regret it for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
This should go without saying, but chivalry definitely isn't dead. Really, we should all be holding doors open and laying our jackets over puddles every day, but this goes double for prom night. Pull out her chair at the restaurant, offer her your arm while she walks down the stairs in her 4-inch heels, give her your coat if she's cold, laugh at her jokes, cater to her needs in a manly, charming way—basically, be Ryan Gosling in The Notebook, but also be Ryan Gosling, period.
The Pre-Prom Plans
You don't want to be stuck at home, stressing out and twiddling your thumbs as you imagine all the ways the night could go horribly wrong ("What if I accidentally touch her butt in front of her dad?! What if I choke on my own spit?! Do I smell too much like masculine sandalwood, or not enough?!" Instead, during the hours that the girls are using to get gussied up for you, hang out with your friends, listen to your favorite music, and maybe even practice some dance moves. If you and your best bud look like this, you're doing something right.
Arguably the most important part of getting ready if you're a guy. Make sure your tie and vest match your date's dress. Don't worry about the brand, worry about the fit. The Guys in Suits Tumblr exists for a reason. Read it. Study it. Become it. Channel your inner Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Like the prophets Big Boi and Andre 3000 once decreed, ain't nobody dope as you when you just so fresh and so clean, clean. Ladies aren't the only ones who should get their hair did (though a good friend, a pair of clippers, and someone's deck might do the trick for the dudes). Deordordize. Brush them teeth. The cleaner you feel, the cleaner you'll look.
Again, make sure it matches your date's dress. Some places offer upgrades like pearl or rhinestone bracelets instead of the typical ribbon. It's a relatively inexpensive way to have your date's corsage stand out when all the girls compare later, which is definitely a thing that's going to happen.
Two words: Otis. Redding. For realz, though, back in ye olde times, you'd have to dedicate an entire week of your life to slicing up the perfect mixtape for prom night. Now you can just drag and drop any song you'd like. Have a playlist for every situation; you don't want to go in for your first kiss while listening to LMFAO. I promise.
As a rule of thumb, if you're wearing fancy shoes, you should be wearing fancy socks. You didn't spend all of that time getting fitted for the perfect tux just so that you can look like a slob when your pant leg comes up. We all know that there's nothing better than a brand new pair of NBA logo socks, but guys, they're not appropriate for this occasion. Go with something more adult, even if it's just this once.
The Change of Clothes
Planning on going out after prom? Then you're going to want a change of clothes, because chances are that your prom is not going to be adequately ventilated. By the end, you'll be a sweaty mess. Kind of like this.
THIS IS NOT WHAT CHEWING GUM IS LIKE! The gum is a ruse. It's tacky. Plus, where do you put it when you're done? Go with mints. They reek of class (and minty-ness).
Your date is going to look good. She's been working on her hair and dress and shoes and bag and makeup and accessories forever. When that movie moment happens and she walks down the stairs, you're going to want to compliment her. "You look nice," isn't going to cut it on prom night. Here's a thesaurus. It has 50 synonyms for the word "beautiful." Learn one.
This is the most important thing you need to do before prom. (Except for the tux.) But, seriously, prom can be stressful. You're worried about pictures and food and the limo and shouldyouholdherhandbecauseyouthinkshemightwantyoutoholdherhand and getting there on time and coordinating plans for after and everything else that's got your palms sweaty. Just relax. Be yourself, have fun, and things will work out fine.
Alright dudes, think you can handle all of that? OF COURSE YOU CAN. Now go Gosling the hell out of your prom.