Taking the Unconventional Route at My Prom
“Just about every time we took the road less traveled, we benefited.”
–David Plouffe, The Audacity to Win
I recently read The Audacity to Win, the book by President Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe. What a great book. While it wasn’t juicy — and considering the nature of Obama’s campaign, I didn’t expect it to be — it enlightened me in so many ways. Going through a campaign, I know I’ll view it from a different perspective from now on. Polls, too.
Anyway, I read that quote and I loved it. That line, I think, epitomizes what it means to be an adventurer. Taking the unconventional route.
I know the first time I did that. It was for my senior prom. I already had a date, a friend and frequent project partner of mine, but I heard through the grapevine that he was saying not-so-nice things about me to other people. During a break in math class, I told him that I no longer wanted to go to the prom with him. Not that I cared.
I would go alone.
It was 2002. I eschewed that year’s popular beaded dresses in favor of a skintight velvet sheath. I got dramatic makeup because I’d always wanted to try it. I planned everything on my own terms. My best friend, Beth, also went solo.
It was the antithesis of what a senior prom should be. And you know what? I danced FAR more than my friends who had dates. I took goofy pictures with the male faculty. Our prom was at the multi-level Park Plaza — I was able to zip up and down the stairs at twice the rate of my classmates in heavy beaded dresses.
Welcome to Atlanta. Roll Out. Hot in Herre. Take your shirt off and spin it round your head, spin it like a helicopter. All the guys did. (They then performed elaborate routines to both It’s Raining Men and Hero.)
It sounds so inconsequential, but that was the first instance when I felt that I truly took the unconventional route, and I felt amazing for it. From then on, I wouldn’t let fear stand in my way.
I give my senior prom so much credit. Taking the unconventional route was my philosophy while studying abroad in Florence. It was how I had the confidence to go to Argentina alone on a whim. It was what gave me the final push to hop on stage with Vanilla Ice in Texas.
I jumped in.
And it all began here.