A group of friends with their dates on their arms stood in front of family and posed for photos outside of the Civic Center on Saturday evening before the prom began.
The group of Gainesville High School students smiled and laughed as they complimented each other on their fine clothes and fashion sense.
“I get here and I’m like ‘Oh my gosh. We look so good together,’” senior Triston Cantrell said. “Everybody does just look so good.”
“... Especially us,” his date, junior Tahira Ricks, added, smoothing the front of her blue gown.
The young girls explained to their dates how they toiled over their appearance for hours before the event.
Eyes, lips, cheeks and nails had to be colored perfectly to match the dress. Each person’s hair had to be curled and pinned into sophisticated up-dos. And of course, there are the shoes, uncomfortable but stylish.
While no one would argue the girls have a lot to do to prepare for the big event, the young men said they don’t exactly have it easy.
Gainesville High School senior Triston Wimpye said the morning of the prom he jumped out of bed and got to work making himself look his best.
“First of all when I wake up, I get this sense of urgency to look as good as I can,” Wimpye said. “I go in the mirror and I look at my hair and I say ‘Man, is that me or my daddy?’ Then I get everything out of the way.”
Wimpye said he set out his suit, shaved his face and paid a visit to his barber for a hair cut and a pep talk.
“I talk to my barber,” he said. “What guys really like to do is talk to other guys like ‘Am I manly material?’ They’ll tell you in their own little way.”
Cantrell said his prom preparations involved picking up his dry cleaning and texting his date throughout the day to make sure everything was on schedule.
Senior Chris Kelley said he didn’t start working on his personal appearance until about an hour before he was supposed to meet his date.
“It’s pretty easy for guys,” Kelley said. “Take a shower, shave, make sure your hair looks decent. That’s about it. We’re more worried about the girls.”
Kelley’s date, Savannah Cain, on the other hand, said she started getting ready that morning. Her friend drove in from out of town to help her get ready.
“It was a two-and-a-half hour process,” Cain said. “We make it like it is its own event and eat and stuff.”
Kelley said there are really only two questions a guy needs to ask himself: Does his suit match her dress? And is his car spotless?
“I washed my car because that’s probably the biggest thing,” Kelley said. “One of my friends tweeted ‘Happy wash your car day guys.’ So I thought that was pretty appropriate.”
Cain joked, saying it’s a good thing Kelley’s car was so clean, otherwise she might have to find another date.
“Honestly, it wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t,” she said smiling.
A few seniors shared a little more advice for young men who have not attended a prom yet.
* Save more money than you think you need for dinner and gas.
* Purchase everything needed the day before the event.
* Match your clothes to the color of her dress.
“The main two rules are to always have fun,” Wimpye said. “Number two is to make the women feel like they’re in control.”