April 18, 2007 Edition

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Prom check list and quiz

By Linda Lou Moore

Prom ~ a formal ball held for a school class toward the end of the academic year. The word prom is short for promenade. The word promenade is from the french "promener" which means to take a walk.

Planning for the prom can take weeks or months. Even though you've made plans far in advance, such as renting or buying your clothes, making your hair and nail appointments, making your reservations for dinner and other important decisions, a last minute checklist can help make the event go smoothly.

Whether you take a walk or dance the night away, don't forget to:

Plan ahead

If you decide to ask a date or go with a group, make sure the clothes you select fit and are appropriate for the occasion. Generally, clothes are selected well in advance for this important occasion.

For boys, it is important to try on the tuxedo before the night of the prom. Get used to how the tux feels since it is designed and constructed differently than casual clothes. If shoes come with the tuxedo make sure you are comfortable when you are wearing them.

For girls, practice wearing your dress before the big night. A dress may be beautiful on the hanger or when you are trying it on in the dressing room, but wearing a formal or semi-formal dress for several hours, trying to get in and out of the car, sitting and then trying to dance in it may be another story. A little practice wearing the dress can circumvent problems you may encounter the night of the prom. Don't forget about the shoes. Dancing the night away should be fun. However, wearing new, uncomfortable or ill-fitting shoes can make the night miserable.

Feel confident

Knowing what to do can help make you feel confident.

When picking up your date ~ go to the door, ring the doorbell and say hello to the parents. This shows respect for both your date and her parents. Just driving up and honking indicates that either you don't know what to do or that you don't care.

When arriving at your date's house, chances are that the parents will want to take pictures. Don't be camera shy. Taking prom pictures is part of the package ~ both at the parents' home and at the dance. Even if you don't like having your picture made, this is the time to stand straight and smile. Who knows, you may be the next top model and if not, pictures of the evening will bring back memories long after the event.

When escorting a young lady to the prom, opening doors and pulling out chairs show you know what to do in social situations. Whether or not you are with the love of your life or just a good friend, compliment your date. Knowing what to do in this type of situation makes you appear self-confident and self-assured, two very attractive traits.

Show respect for your date. Your date will appreciate it. Teens report that this is important. Whether you are with someone with whom you are romantically involved or with a friend, see to it that they have a good time and let them know that you are having a good time.

Be prepared

Don't forget to take a cell phone and extra money in case of an emergency.

Also, springtime storms and showers are not unusual. Check the weather before leaving for the prom. Take an umbrella if there is a possibility of a shower. Although this seems to be an obvious precaution, there are many horror stories of being caught in an unexpected spring shower and arriving at your destination drenched.

Be safe

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. According to the Department of Transportation, prom nights are the most dangerous times for young people. It has been reported that approximately 5,000 teenagers have been injured or killed in traffic accidents during a prom weekend.

Taking this short true or false quiz will help insure a safe evening.

1. Wearing your seat belt is not necessary on prom night because it will wrinkle your tuxedo and prom dress.

False. Wearing your seat belt can save your life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 70 percent of teens injured or killed on prom weekend are not wearing seat belts.

2. The number one killer of young people between the ages of 16 and 24 is traffic collisions.

True. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,500 young people are killed each year in traffic accidents. One-third of these accidents are alcohol related.

3. Driving while sleepy is as dangerous as driving drunk.

True. In a study by Stanford University, it was found that sleepy drivers are as dangerous on the roads as drunk drivers. Sleep deprivation can affect driving performance and reflexes just as alcohol can.

4. A designated driver is one who likes to drive.

False. A designated driver is one who is unimpaired by alcohol or drugs. A designated driver will not drink or take drugs, therefore driving people home safely.

5. The greater number of teen passengers in a car driven by a teen, the more likely the car will be involved in an accident.

True. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the presence of teen passengers increase accident risk for the unsupervised teen driver and the risk goes up with the number of passengers.

Plan ahead, feel confident, be prepared and be safe. After reviewing this check list ~ it's time to party. Have a great prom!

Linda Lou Moore of Paragould is trained and certified by The Protocol School of Washington, Washington, D.C. She offers customized individual and group etiquette programs for children, teens and adults. She may be reached at Post Office Box 145, Paragould, AR 72451 or at manners@grnco.net.

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