Prom 2K6

What do seniors really do on prom night? The Houston Press investigates

No sane beach-house owner would ever rent to a group of kids for their prom party. To secure a beach house in April or May, the kids need a cool parent. Tonight, that duty has fallen to "Bob." Bob and his wife are taking off on a cruise tomorrow from Galveston, so they have agreed to rent the house and take over the master bedroom. The thing about Bob, though, he is completely wasted. When we show up to the party -- about six couples total -- Bob can barely speak. He does want to wear this kid Dave's top hat and carry his cane.

Bob is the highlight of the party. He's more than capable of playing the buffoon, and even his daughter is having fun toying with him.

In order to gain access to the after-party, I agreed to leave some of the details vague, just enough to give anyone who needs it deniability. To make up for this journalistic sin, I offer up my own prom's alcohol planning and high jinks, much to the disappointment of my own mother.

It took Dana only two days and nine stores to find a dress.
Higgins' Photography
It took Dana only two days and nine stores to find a dress.
It took Dana only two days and nine stores to find a dress.
Daniel Kramer
It took Dana only two days and nine stores to find a dress.

In getting ready for Prom 2K1, discussions of booze made up about 50 percent of the planning. There were five couples, and so we agreed that a healthy alcohol budget would be $200. We debated some more and decided we should focus on only hard liquor. Beer would just be a waste of space. An older co-worker from my part-time job at Starbucks agreed to pick up the stuff, and one of the guys went with him. Two hundred bucks buys a lot of booze. We ended up with eight liter bottles of various spirits, from Skyy to Jack Daniel's. More than eight liters of booze for ten people. We even got grenadine. I was in charge of figuring out what shots we could do and made sure we had stuff for buttery nipples. I also found a drink called a duck fart that was a big hit.

"We have so much alcohol!" was everybody's favorite refrain. I could probably count the number of times I'd drunk previously on my fingers, but here we were with a fully stocked bar. After our prom ended, we got back to the hotel suites and found some other kids from school at the same complex. They had only a handful of beers and Smirnoffs. Losers. But we invited them over, and they helped us go to work.

It was a highlight for sure. These were some of the school's smartest kids; fall plans included Harvard, Stanford and UT Plan II, and they were getting smashed with us. One girl, Stephanie, weighed barely a hundred pounds and was forcing everyone to do Sprite slammers with her. At graduation she was commended for 12 years of perfect attendance.

We drank and got drunk, but nobody got sick. Or maybe they did and I can't remember. Maybe I got sick. There was some drama -- over the couple that briefly commandeered a suite -- but nothing too serious. It was a good time. We woke in the morning with hangovers and gathered up what was left of the alcohol. We had barely made a dent. Our prom stash lasted well into summer.

At the beach house, I'm completely jealous of these kids. Their stash is nowhere near as impressive as ours was, but I can see the excitement on their faces. Partying with your friends is still novel. It hasn't been dulled by years of bad keg parties in college. The house has a picnic table in the living room, and the back deck has a hot tub. Everybody changes into more comfortable clothes and the party gets going.

One group of us sits around a mess of cards, playing Kings. Bob keeps interrupting the drinking game to ask us, "Y'all wanna play Hold 'Em?" We give him blank stares.

"What? Y'all ain't seen ESPN?" he asks. We're cracking up now. "I'm serious," he yells and inexplicably pulls out a wad of $100 bills for the cruise's casino. He's so drunk he actually gives away one of the C-notes. Now we all want to play Bob's game, but he wises up and puts away his roll.

At 3 a.m. we head to the beach for some skim-boarding. Casey and Dave take the lead, teaching some of the girls how to skim. The air is warm, and there's smiles all around. It's my favorite part of the night.

The night's first drama comes about 4 a.m. when we get back to the house and another prom group has come by to crash the party. Bob, ever the dutiful chaperone, won't let them in the house. They leave, but Casey goes with them. A little bit later, while doing a head count, Bob realizes he's missing one of his charges.

"We gotta find Casey!" he yells. "I'm in charge of yous kids." Watching Bob try to marshal a search party is hilarious, especially when he comes up with the brilliant strategy of taking all the women to the front deck. "If there are a bunch of attractive ladies out there, he's bound to find his way back," explains Bob.

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