A Mankler's Guide To Prom: Slaying the Mid-Prom Beast
When we last left off, you were taught how to successfully pick up your date for prom while smelling fresh and delicious. With a fresh bottle of OldSpice in hand, you may feel that the crusade is over, but I assure you it's not, for you are about to enter the dangerous lair of the mythologized Mid-Prom awkwardness beast. Many couples have tried to conquer the beast only to find themselves burned to a crisp standing in front of the trellis photo-op. But you and your date will fare better, because awkwardness is our middle name and we're see you come out of the dark reaches of mid-prom looking like a knight in shining armor.
If your prom doesn't involve a plated dinner, you will likely book dinner with a group of friends, but you may also choose to do it just the two of you.
Picking the place can be half the fun! It's also an opportunity to impress your date with your good taste and/or ability to cater to her palate. Medieval Times is no way to cater to her palate.
Pay for your date. As a man taking a woman out on a date it’s your legal obligation to cover the expenses of the meal. Pay for the food, even if your date puts up a fight. She may hoot and she may holler my friends, but stay strong. Most girls appreciate a guy who is selfless and caring enough to dish out a little dough for her.
NOTE: The above advice is all well-and-good unless your date pulls out a gun. If this is the case, let her pay for the meal; it’s not worth dying over. Also, you may want to reconsider your dating options.
Know how much money you have available. Sneaking out of a restaurant due to lack of the means to pay is not ideal, and it will likely put you in the slammer. So, memorize the amount of cash you have at your disposal and stay within your budget.
DO NOT, in an attempt to save a couple of bucks, try to convince your date to buy the cheapest item on the menu. Keep your wallet as open as your heart. Most girls will understand that you’re not made out of money and will try to stick to the cheaper items on the menu. But do not assume that this will happen, girls get hungry just like every other human, and if she orders the $35 ribeye then pay for the $35 ribeye; even if it means your meal consists entirely of the ice cubes in your water.
Show some manners. Don’t feel like you have to eat like the Queen of England, but at the same time, pulling a caveman isn’t suggested. In other words, keep your mouth closed while you’re eating, don’t spit water across the table and try to keep your meal in the rough vicinity of your plate.
Don't forget to tip the waiter, for one day you will be a server. For those of you who don't know how to tip, please refer to the “Tips on Tipping Guide” guide below:
Tips on Tipping
How Much? The average tip should fall somewhere between 15-20% in addition to the total cost of the meal. You can choose what you want your percentage to be depending on the quality of service, cost of the meal and the depth of your math skills—15% is usually the customary amount and 20% should be saved for exceptional service.
When? A tip should be your last order of business before getting up and leaving the table. It’s easier, for both the waiter and yourself, to pay in cash, if you do then just slap the green on the table and walk away. But, if you don’t have the dough on hand, most restaurants will give you the option of adding the tip to the total cost of the meal and charge it to your credit card. If this is the case then, when the waiter hands you the bill, find the gratuity section usually located at the bottom of the receipt and add the tip amount. READ THE RECEIPT, some restaurants will add the gratuity fee automatically for parties eight or larger, if this is the case then no tip is required.
What’s the Math? Ugh, math. Occasionally, tip math can be pretty complicated, but it can also make you look incredibly smart if you’re prepared for it. So, if you’re an exact math person, then use the calculator app on your phone and multiply your gratuity onto your total meal. For example, if the meal cost $34.73 and you want to add a 15% gratuity then just type 34.73 x .15 onto your calculator and the resulting number, in this case $5.21 (rounded up), will be your tip. NOTE: If you don’t have exact change, then it's polite to round up to the nearest dollar.
That’s how you handle a tip!
Finally, brush your teeth afterwards. You've got photos to take!
DO practice your prom poses. There are hundreds, if not thousands of different prom poses that have been invented over the years, and your photographer could summon any of them. Fortunately, there are only a few that are still in common practice today, which we have taken the liberty of listing below:
The Stomach Snatcher
Ah yes, the most classic of the classic prom poses. This one has been in circulation ever since Queen Anne invented prom, (before she was beheaded of course) and is still one of the most popular today. Needless to say, it’s absolutely crucial that you learn and memorize this stance before doing anything else. Here's how to do it:
Step 1: Stand behind your date.
Step 2: Press your chest against her back. That’s it, chest to back.
Step 3: As non-creeper-ishly as possible, slip your hands around your date’s waist and clasp them right around her belly button/stomach area.
Step 4: Pull her close.
Step 5: Wait for her to place her hands over yours.
If your date doesn’t run off screaming, then congratulations! You have successfully completed the stomach snatcher position!
The Love Handle
This sweet move is also another very popular option and great for people who aren’t interested in the whole “slipping hands around the waist” thing.
Step 1: Stand shoulder to shoulder with your beloved.
Step 2: Throw your arm over her head and allow it land on her side, close to where the love handles should be located.
NOTE: The placement of your hands (see below for more info).
Step 3: Casually squeeze your date’s side to try to make her laugh. If she’s not ticklish pack up your bags and go home, you’ve suffered enough shame for the night.
Step 4: Allow your date to place her hands upon yours. This step isn’t really required, so don’t freak out and bitterly reprimand her if she doesn’t do it.
This position is a little bit more rare in today’s society, though historians say it was incredibly popular during the gold rush.
Step 1: Crouch down on the ground with your date.
Step 2: Pick up a small rock or stick.
Step 3: Look smart.
Step 4: Pretend that you’re studying it closely. You can even go so far as to make it look like you’re instructing your date in the minor details of the object in your hand.
This final position should only be attempted by couples who have a solid trust foundation. We would suggest giving the relationship a two-month minimum before attempting this complicated pose. Many couples have tried, and most have landed themselves in the ICU. But if you can pull it off, you’ll be the awe of the photo-shoot, and the world for that matter.
Step 1: Place hands upon date’s sides.
Step 2: Allow her to prepare.
Step 3: In perfect synchronization lift while your date jumps into the air.
Step 4: Balance date upon your shoulders.
Step 5: Hold onto date’s legs and smile for the camera.
If you are comfortable enough to preform at least two of these poses you are in good shape for prom night.
Note the universal rules of photo-posing:
DO know where you’re going to place your hands. This can honestly be the hardest part of taking pictures because, unless you're on Dancing with the Stars, placing your hands on your date’s side, stomach, neck and earlobes isn’t something that happens everyday life. That’s why it’s crucial that you practice your hand placement before the night of prom. We suggest going to a retail store and performing a few test runs on one of their handy-dandy mannequins. Just keep in mind that there’s a high possibility that you’ll be escorted out by mall security and be forever banished from ever visiting the store again, so we suggest going somewhere you don’t shop incredibly often. Once you find a plastic practice partner (PPP for short), here are some basic principles to remember when trying to figure out your hand placement:
1. Keep hands open. So many men, when faced with the awkwardness of holding their date, choose to avoid any palm contact entirely and clench their hands into fists. This is not a good option for a prom picture because, unless you’re a thug who wants to look tough, it makes you look super uptight and uncomfortable. So, keep those hands open and let your sweaty palms breathe! But, in the rare case that you are a thug trying to look tough... here’s my wallet.
2. DO NOT go too low. Again, I repeat, keep your hands ABOVE the equator. There are few things more awkward in this world than accidentally reaching into your date’s no-fly-zone and making uncomfortable contact. Some dates, knowing it was a mistake, will ignore your unauthorized entry into her airspace and carry on with her life. But others, thinking you’re a total creeper, will open anti-aircraft fire upon you and squirt you in the eyeballs with pepper-spray. If you thought taking pictures was hard before, try doing it with capsicin in your eyes.
3. Don’t aim too high. Arms around the head really don’t make for the best pictures.
4. The target area for your hands should be somewhere in-between the shoulders and upper hip. Do be aware though, hand placement has symbolic meaning in a relationship—the lower your hands on your date, the more serious the relationship. So if you’re just looking to be friends, keep that clapper up in the shoulder vicinity; if you guys have been dating for two and a half years, it’s probably safe to place it on the upper hip. If you’re not really sure where to put your hand, just aim for somewhere on the lower ribs. You want to be confident and go a little lower than the friendly shoulder but you don’t want to be presumptuous and aim for the hip just yet.
Speak up if you think a picture turned out poorly. Your prom pictures will follow you for the entirety of your life. They’ll appear at your high school graduation, they’ll appear at your college graduation, they’ll appear at your wedding, they’ll appear in your parent’s “Precious Memories” cabinet, they’ll appear in your family photo album, heck, they’ll probably even appear on your gravestone. That’s why it’s absolutely critical that you take a picture that you’re proud to be haunted by for the rest of your days. So, if you think that the photographer just took a bad picture of you, speak up! Did you blink? Tell the photographer. Did you forget to smile? Tell the photographer. Did an unruly strand of saliva find its way out of your mouth? Tell the photographer. He’s there to make sure you get the pictures you want, so don’t you dare let him leave until you do.
Finally, be ready to laugh off the awkwardness. Let’s face it, taking weird prom pictures in crazy positions can be pretty uncomfortable, but it can also be a lot of fun if you let it. If you go into the photo shoot feeling unsure of yourself and your photogenicness, you’re not going to have a good time and your pictures will likely turn out looking forced and awkward. So why not go into the night prepared to laugh off the weirdness? Just accept the fact that poses you’re making are awkward and don’t let it affect you. Be confident in who you are, and not only will you have a great time, but your pictures will likely turn out incredibly as well.
Arriving at Prom
You will already have planned to arrive to your prom venue in style (see previous post). But once you’ve caught everyone’s attention with your majestic eagle, two-wheeled unicycle or helicopter, the rest is up to you; so don’t drop the ball. Below are a few ways to make sure your prom entrance is absolute perfection:
Exiting the Vehicle
1. Allow vehicle to stop and sit for a few seconds before exiting. This will give all the people the chance to turn all their focus upon you. Alternately, roll out the door while the car is still moving for a bit of X factor.
2. Start blasting some incredibly awesome music. If possible, get a live band to play your life theme song while you get out.
3. Open the door slowly and stick one leg out at a time. Wait for the people to start screaming, then pull yourself out of the vehicle.
4. Pose and allow the paparazzi to snap a few pictures, then move over to your date’s door.
5. Open it, grab her hand, and help her out.
Be prepared to mitigate an awkward fall while trying to exit the vehicle: Don't lean again the door of the limousine, lest the driver opens it from the outside and you fall out like a poorly placed box of Wheat Thins in a crowded pantry. If this happens, stand yourself back up, brush off your clothes and with as much dignity as possible step back into the vehicle and spend the rest of your night/life there.
Help your date out and hold her close. Depending on the fashion of the year, she could be wearing a skin-tight column dress and unable to walk, or mermaid dress and unable to walk, or a gigantic princess dress and unable to walk. As you’re walking into the party feel free to link arms with your date or, if you’re feeling a little crazy, even grab her around the waist.
This is a good time to overplay your coolness. Let’s face it, there probably won’t be a bunch of screaming fans anxiously awaiting your arrival to the prom. But does this matter? No, no it doesn’t. Get out and play it off to the fullest. Wave to the random people standing around, pause for a few imaginary pictures and, right before you walk into the building, stop turn around and mouth the words “Thank You” to all your imaginary, adoring fans.
With that, let the party begin...