So, as anyone who lives in Howard Hall or has even a vague connection to someone who does is aware, the Howard formal is coming up in an entirely-too-short 19 days. This darned dance is pretty much the most stressful thing in my life since, I don't know...learning to speak. Judging from the amount of time up here on the fourth floor spent talking about the dance, I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one experiencing said stress. Here, I will describe two of the myriad ways in which dances - more specifically, this accursed Howard formal dance - induce mind-bending stress on those who plan to attend them.
First is the ever-important issue of attire. This issue can be a challenging one for themed, fun SYRs, but it is magnified hundredfold for formals. There is, of course, the question of long dress vs. short dress. Since long dresses are encouraged for this dance and I have four perfectly lovely long dresses sitting at home never to be worn again but on occasions like dorm formals, this decision was fairly easy for me. For those still pondering this choice, remember: if you wear a long dress, you can get away with not shaving your legs! ...Well, that was a strong motivating factor for me, anyway. Once you've decided whether or not to don a floor-length gown, millions (yes, millions) more questions materialize. For one, where should a gal go to get this dress? There are the dresses you wore for proms and whatnot, but, I mean, you've already WORN those. You could buy a new one, but you're in college, so you're probably too poor to drop several hundred dollars on what is essentially a few yards of fabric. You could borrow a dress from someone, but you'd better not spill booze on it at your pre-game if your dress is not only worth several hundred dollars but also not yours. Then there's color. It's winter, so bright colors would seem to make little sense. At the same time, though, the dance is Mardi Gras themed, so brights sort of work. You also might be concerned about clashing with the color of your besties' dresses, your "this-is-January-in-South-Bend" winter pallor, or, if you're my sister at prom, your date's obnoxious red hair. (Note to my sister's prom date, if you're reading this as I expect you are: JUST KIDDING YOUR HAIR IS WONDROUSLY GINGERY AND BEAUTIFUL.)
With that marvelous transition comes Dance Stressor #2: the date. This is, of course, the most difficult question of all. If you have a boyfriend, you can go with him and your life is awesome and everyone hates you so stop reading this. If you don't have a boyfriend, your date possibilities are both limitless (because you could technically take anyone in the world) and ridiculously limited (because Lord knows it's not that easy). Your group of friends could go with some guy's group of friends. This eliminates the base problem of being dateless, but it presents many more: you probably don't know the guy, he could very easily be ugly or weird or both, he will very probably end up ignoring you most of the night since he does not know you, etc. If you're looking for an individual date, it's even more complicated. For an off-campus, very formal dance like this one, it'd make sense to go with a close friend. But what if all your close guy friends have girlfriends? The sassy-gay-friend date is always a reliable choice (ask my junior prom), but this is Notre Dame, so you probably don't actually know any gay people. Among a host of other problems is the issue of compatibility in pre-game preferences. Is your potential date a raging alcoholic who will not attend a dance without first consuming enormous quantities of cheap vodka? Are YOU a raging alcoholic who will not attend a dance without first consuming enormous quantities of cheap vodka? First of all, if you answered yes to either of those, you should probably reevaluate at least a couple of priorities in your life. But if you answered yes to one and no to the other, your potential date is probably going to be awkward. There are dozens of other factors to consider, as well - what if your potential date has a girlfriend you don't know about because you've only really stalked him on Facebook and not spent time with him in real life? What if you ask your potential date and he's busy that night? (If you think that wouldn't be that awkward, I can tell you from three separate personal experiences that it is very, very awkward indeed.) Does your potential date know your besties and/or their dates? Does he care if he doesn't? The questions just don't stop!
Of course, there are other issues to deal with besides these. Some examples, for those of you who aren't yet stressed out enough, include: when to have your date come over, how on earth to do your hair, how to keep from drunkenly insisting on twelve pictures with your RA at the dance (friends, you know which of you I'm addressing), what 1998-era Backstreet Boys songs to covertly sneak onto the song-request list without making your whole dorm think you're a huge weirdo, which friends to include in your posse for the evening, and what to title the inevitable Howard formal Facebook album/what caption to put on your inevitable new Howard formal profile picture. Anyone who thinks that college students live carefree lives of effortless fun and partying has clearly never been to a dance. Ever.
Oh, and one more thing. In case you couldn't tell, I am, in fact, currently in the market for a date to this formal!! If you, reader, are an eligible bachelor with nothing going on on February 10, feel free to shoot me an email/Facebook message/text containing a 500-word essay on why you are worthy of going to the Howard formal with me!
Okay, just kidding about that last part. But I am looking for a date. And I'm not above using my blog to get it. On that note, other things I'm currently looking for include: my dignity. Hit me up boyz!!!