I'm always intrigued to read the stories about people who get together with their high school boyfriends or girlfriends years after the breakup. Those happy tales of people in their 50's or 60's or 70's who reconnect at class reunions or on Facebook and rekindle old relationships tell me what I've suspected for a while. They should have married their prom dates.
There are nine cousins in my generation of our family. One never married. Four married the people they went to senior prom with. Four did not. All four couples who went to prom together stayed married. Only two of the other four of us did. The married prom daters defied the odds. The rest of us shored them up.
It's unscientific, I know. But still I wonder. Do we know ourselves better at age 18 than at 30? Are our chances of happiness best if we go with our first choice? No looking back and saying, "I wish I had ordered what you did."
I got out my old yearbooks and did a quick count of my high school graduating class. 31 people in the class married the person they went to prom with. All but six remained together. Out of a class of 126 kids, these are darn impressive figures. A nearly irrefutable argument for marrying your prom date.
Not later, when you're 60, but back then when you still have a fighting chance of making that golden anniversary. Disregard all those naysayers who say you're too young or that you need to experience life first. Avoid the angst of your 20's and 30's. No need to sit by a phone that doesn't ring.Those junior class prom planners would do well to get rid of the arch, or the swing, or the backdrop of crepe paper and bring in an altar. Fire the DJ and hire a Justice of the Peace. Marry those couples quick! While they're dressed for it. Before they move on to the bigger pond where bad choices are easier to make.
Sure, there may be other factors in play. But they all come back to the conclusion that that first choice is the best choice even though it's made out of a small pound of people. There's apparently something about the memories of making out on a country road in the back seat of your parents' sedan that keeps romance alive.
It all makes a certain kind of sense. After all, if you marry a person you went to school with from kindergarten to 12th grade, you're not likely to get many surprises. You already know the warts. Cheat at dodge ball, cheat at life.
If you marry a person from your hometown, those yearly arguments about which in-laws to visit during the holidays go right out the door. Just walk down the street. Because if you marry someone from your hometown, there's a good chance you still live there too.
It's almost a no brainer. If he thinks you're beautiful with acne, and you think he's a hunk at a weight of 121, it's pretty easy to see that you've got a headstart on happiness. A few extra pounds over the years won't even be noticed.
I found old prom pictures in with my yearbooks. More proof. Seven good friends together on the special night. Dressed up like grownups in dresses that adults would never wear. The one girl in the picture who married her prom date is still married and still smiling. The other six of us moved on to greener pastures. There are five divorces in those pastures.
I found a picture of me and my prom date too. I was tempted to post it, but it hardly seemed appropriate. He's been happily married for about 40 years. To a woman a few class grades behind us.
They went to her senior prom together.