School formals, who needs them? My partner wouldn’t dance with me, I had food stains and my bra kept falling down, writes Mel Buttle.
School formals, who needs them? My partner wouldn’t dance with me, I had food stains and my bra kept falling down, writes Mel Buttle.

‘Year 12s, you’re not missing anything’

HUMOUR

Hear me young people, when I say the cancellation or minimisation of your school formal is a blessing in disguise. My high-school formal was an expensive night of awkwardness I could've lived without. Finding a partner was a major challenge for me, surprise! I eventually found a boy on the train called George who agreed, reluctantly, to come to my formal.

The partner isn't nearly as important as the dress though. I wore a canary yellow floor-length gown with a beaded choker, and way too much makeup. It was 1999, and the following things were fashionable: Lisa McCune, plum eyeshadow and material with a high sheen. I, of course, embodied all of this for my formal. I asked for my hair to be done as closely as possible to how Lisa wore hers at the Logies that year.

When I look back, it wasn't like those American high school films: the nerd doesn't get the quarterback at the Brisbane Sheraton in 1999. Instead of being swept off my feet, George was a non-dancer so I danced with my friends to S Club 7, while George sat at the table with the other boys. I could've danced with my mates for free, any night without the overpriced yellow dress that now had a Thai beef salad stain on the front. Thai beef salad was all the rage in the 90s; nothing like a good Thai beef salad on Blue Heelers night.

The Year 12 formal was the first time I wore a strapless bra and one of the last. I didn't picture on the night of my dreams going into the toilets every 10 minutes to hike my bra back up. Also, the teachers were there - how can this be your night of nights when Mr Dean and Mrs Moody are hip bumping on the dancefloor?

2020 seniors, you've dodged a bullet.

Mel Buttle is a Brisbane comedian

Originally published as Mel Buttle: 'Year 12s, you're not missing anything from cancelled formals'


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