jlsathre

jlsathre
Location
Illinois,
Birthday
July 30
Bio
I'm a lawyer in my past life, who got the kids through college and decided to try something different and a little more fun. A used book store sounded like a good idea, so that's where I am for now. I just hadn't counted on a recession or E-readers and am a little afraid there's going to be a third act. In the meantime, I have plenty to read and a little time to write. Not a bad way to spend a day.

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Salon.com
JANUARY 18, 2013 9:19AM

They Should Have Married Their Prom Dates

Rate: 8 Flag

                        IMG_0876

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.

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senior prom, marriage

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Charming and fun piece. Makes sense too, but it wouldn't have helped me: I was too shy to ask anyone to the prom.
awww, jl! a sad and true post, i think. my only pair of friends who got married at 18 and 19, engaged on their THIRD date, married less than a year later and only waited that long bc their families made them - they had 20 years together, of LIKING each other, of being happy to get home to each other. the did break up in her mid-40s, bc she decided she was unhappy. she regrets it to this day, but salted the earth so severely that tho he was crushed and remains crushed, he cant take her back. it took at least a year for me to be able to think or talk about them breaking up without crying. now, that might sound like a failure, but i think 20 truly good and loving years is pretty successful.

greener pastures indeed.
Unscientific perhaps, but I know that I would have been miserable with my senior prom date. He came from an ultra conservative, far right wing extremist family and his dad was the local chapter head of the John Birch Society. My date was cute. Wrote poetry. Told me not to talk politics when I came over to his house.
toritto--I actually thought of you and that picture of you and your wife when I wrote this.

Gerald--It seems you did okay by waiting.

daisyjane--There's probably an interesting study to be done about people who regret divorcing.

nilesite--I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have been happy either, but the unscientific figures are interesting.
Interesting. I did (although we didn't have proms), and here we still are, in a relationship that began in 1976.

But so did many other people we went to school with, and what I've noticed is that those of us who got out of there tended to stay married, and those who stayed "home" are now on their third or fourth marriage from that same very small pool.
hmmm...didn't go to prom. Married the only man I ever loved and we've been together 40 years. But I did meet him when I was 18.
This is good news. A family member is about to marry the girl he took to prom 8 years ago.
Agree. Charming. I think I had to import a date for my senior prom. All the good ones were taken. Never had a HS sweetie pie. I was dating college 'men' during those years. I really think you could develop this into a best seller. PROM DATE. Drew me in immediately. Me? I'm twice at the alter. Met my first husband through his sister who was my college room mate. Second husband was a chance thing. Ten minutes one way or the other and it wouldn't have happened.
High--I would have predicted your thoughts about "staying home" would prove true, but my small sample seems to say otherwise. Congratulations to you and yours, though.

Mimetalker--Ah, I think first love counts. I'm adding you to the count.

sophieh--Start planning that golden anniversary party.

Ande--You were obviously too sophisticated for the rest of us. I'm going to have to take you out of the sample.
I suspect where "home" was makes a huge amount of difference. Some hometowns are healthy places to stay; some, not so much.
Can't believe the odds on this! It was a magical night for me & that's good enough for me. R
I loved the term "imported" a Prom date. I "imported" one from another school and then a boy from my school asked me. He was a dullard so I went with the boy I imported. Very very very glad I did not marry the import, and married my best friend from college. We met when we were twenty and it took us seven years to get to the altar. Thoughtprovoking piece, may have to pull out that yearbook.
Ah, sadly I would say that from what I've seen it is a bad idea to marry your prom date/high-school sweetheart. I didn't do that, but I know people who did and things didn't go well, and they decided if maybe they had kids it would help and... there you go.
High--I suspect you're right. A lot of people in my hometown never want to leave. I went back for a while and didn't want to stay.

Marilyn--A prom that met expectations. That's good too.

Amy--A best friend is a pretty good bet. You did good.

Tobbar--I think that's probably the general consensus. It just doesn't seem to be true for my old classmates. Although I completely agree that having kids is never a good way to solve a bad marriage.
I like the getting back together bit, but people who've been together since high school? They make me suspicious- what, there's just NOTHING wrong with each other?