A night at Prom with Kevin and Emi

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A night at Prom with Kevin and Emi

Kevin and Emi take a break from dancing at Prom.

Kevin and Emi take a break from dancing at Prom.

Kelly Colanto.

Kevin and Emi take a break from dancing at Prom.

Kelly Colanto.

Kelly Colanto.

Kevin and Emi take a break from dancing at Prom.

Liam H. Flake

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Kevin knows he needs to ask Emi to prom before he leaves for Coachella.

His day is busy, so he has planned it out to the half hour—midterm in the morning, volunteering in the afternoon, and a flight to California in the evening. Kevin has spent a lot of time preparing for this, buying flowers and making a sign. Eventually, the time arrives: with a few friends, Kevin meets Emi at a park and asks her to prom.

Emi knows that Kevin might ask her to prom. They have talked about going together in the same group, and they have gone on a couple dates. She is nervous each passing day, because she is unsure whether he will ask her or not. Now she knows he is going to California, and frankly, she doesn’t want to wait a week for him to ask. But when she sees Kevin with his sign, she says yes and hugs him before even reading the sign.

Kevin and Emi have been in the same history class for the whole school year, but they really hit it off when they both went on a Science National Honor Society field trip to the Denver Museum of Science and Nature; they completed a scavenger hunt, and one of Emi’s friends teased her for flirting with Kevin (though up until that moment, she did not realize that she had been, and Kevin himself had been completely oblivious). Emi likes Kevin due to how motivated and hardworking he is—he is either volunteering, taking classes at Colorado State University, or working. Kevin is drawn to Emi’s consistent optimism, endless patience, and reliability.

For their first date, Kevin and Emi drove down to Greeley to watch a movie, Five Feet Apart, followed by a stop at Chick-Fil-A for a bite and a coffee. While creating his sign, Kevin works to incorporate as many puns into his promposal as possible, while also keeping it sentimental; his sign reads “Since we don’t have to be Five Feet Apart, I’d love it a latte if you’d be my chick at prom.”

The planning that ensues is what could best be described as a mess. There is a disarray as they try to arrange plans for the day of prom—where to go for dinner and pictures, and obtaining guest passes for friends. There are no issues in planning between Kevin and Emi, but organizing with others can get a little problematic. For one thing, they have three guests from other schools who need passes and tickets: one from Liberty Common High School and two from Colorado Early Colleges. Additionally, they want to try to figure out group plans while preserving the occasion as a date. The solution is to set up plans with friends before prom—pictures and dinner—and after to watch a movie as a couple.

They arrange dinner plans; Kevin is willing to go down to Denver for the meal, but he’s alone in this. They call Bonefish Grill, but the first available reservation is at 8:00, so they turn to Rock Bottom instead, as it is still fairly close to the Budweiser Event Center. Everything is in place, except for a few small details, such as the location of pictures.

Meanwhile, Kevin and Emi search out their outfits for the night.

Kevin is searching for a suit, and leaning towards something more traditional. He visits various stores, looking for one that both fits and looks classy. He already has a black suit jacket, so he’s looking to switch it up, but not wanting to deviate too far. With this in mind, he searches mostly for neutral colors (Emi vetoed a bright red suit earlier). Turning down gray and black suits, he eventually settles on a navy blue.

Emi was not originally planning to buy a new prom dress, but decides to anyway. Looking on a dress site, Lulu’s, she chooses a dress in ”dusty pink”. She sends Kevin a picture of the color, but waits to show him the rest—it’ll be a surprise for the night of.

Kevin Wong
Emi, right, takes pictures before prom with her friends

Leading up to prom, the pair and their group had been trying to persuade a particular friend to dress in drag for the event. They do not know if he is on board with the idea, or even aware of it, for a while, but it is unimportant. They are determined. The group promises to buy him a tiara; Emi is entirely ready to spend money to see him wear one. He protests, explaining how he doesn’t even have a prom dress. In the end, they compromise and he is convinced to wear a flower crown.

The night of the dance approaches. Emi excitedly anticipates going; she went to prom last year with some friends, but this year she has a date. Prom often takes a whole day—one of the reasons why Emi loves the event.

Kevin, however, is more reserved. As the dance nears, he is concerned about plans not working out (Emi is as well, but will be less so after getting the guest passes); when it comes to arrangements coming to fruition, Kevin has faith in Emi, as she is known to follow through on plans, but less so in his friends. His outlook on the situation is pessimistic: he figures that if you expect the worst, you’re either right or pleasantly surprised.

Finally, the big day arrives.

Emi’s preparation starts when her friends arrive at 11:00. They all get their nails done, then go back to Emi’s place for the rest. Everyone in the group has a designated job in the process: Jane does hair, Rujuta applies makeup, and Emi handles nails. When they finish, Emi and her friends will take pictures together before rendezvousing with the guys for the rest of the photos.

Kevin’s day is just as hectic. His morning consists of driving down to Greeley at 7:00 in the morning for an SAT Subject Test before rushing back to catch the end of an AP US History review session.

When the time comes for everyone to meet up for pictures, Kevin is scrambling to get there on time (“as per usual,” he figures). At around 4:30, he rushes over to Palmer Flowers to pick up his corsage. While there, he receives a text from Emi asking if he can show up about fifteen minutes early—about 5:00-5:15. As it turns out, Kevin remembered the meeting time an hour early. Relieved, he heads back home until pictures.

Emi Gorges
Emi pins a boutonniere to Kevins jacket

 

At 5:30, everybody gathers at Arapahoe Bend Natural Area for photos. They get a few, though one member of the party is running about half an hour late. By the time he arrives, they need to leave for their dinner reservation, which is in thirty minutes. In total, they get about two pictures as a whole group before driving down.

Following pictures, the group hops in their cars and drives to Rock Bottom. Kevin orders steak tacos, but is a little disappointed with them—they are good, but he doubts whether they were worth it due to their small size. Emi decides to go with the chicken-fried chicken. This confuses Kevin: how do you chicken fry something? Emi explains that chicken fried is a frying process, and can be applied to various foods.

After dinner, they go to Paciugo Gelato Cafe for dessert. They know they will be late to prom, but it is something they accept, so they stay and enjoy the gelato.

The group arrives at the Budweiser Event center around 8:30—fashionably late. After all, no one ever shows up to prom on time. But as they get to the front doors, they encounter a myriad of issues getting in. As it turns out, one of Kevin’s friends lost both his guest pass and ticket at dinner. They explain the situation to the administrators at the door; and fortunately, they are let in. Emi is surprised at this, though she is herself encountering some difficulties. She filled out a guest pass, but in line she stands with Kevin, confusing the teachers at the gate. Eventually, everyone is let in.

Once inside, Kevin and Emi get right into the activities of prom. Throughout the night, Emi dances, though Kevin tends more to just stand around with his friends (though he is not incapable of dancing; his winning act in Fossil’s Got Talent was primarily a dance routine). When the music slows down, the pair slow dances to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”—Kevin sings along to the song, which Emi finds cute. Once Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” came on, the two have a rap battle, and the winner is disputed, though Emi begrudgingly concedes victory to Kevin. Later on, they slow dance again, this time to James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go.” Kevin and Emi visit the photo booth throughout the night; it is a favorite for both of them. They leave around 10:30.

Liam H. Flake
The theme of this year’s prom was “Wander the Galaxy.”

Both are less than impressed with the DJ. Kevin’s friend, who DJ’s all of his own school’s dances at Liberty, rants to Kevin about the DJ’s mistakes: poorly-executed transitions, trying to “emcee at a dance”, and “adding his own tag to a song.” Emi simply points out that the DJ did not play a lot of well-known songs.

After prom, Kevin stops home to change. Meanwhile, Emi goes to IHOP and gets a coffee; it is not even that good, but she needs it to stay awake. Emi did not bring any shoes besides her heels, so she calls Kevin to grab her a pair of Crocs. Kevin does not have any coffee, and instead “just suffers”; he stays awake until about 3:00 a.m. on a nightly basis anyway.

They meet at the Summit for after-prom, with Kevin arriving a bit before Emi. There, they part for a bit. Kevin bowls with his friends, and by the end, digresses into messing around— spinning or doing it blindfolded. Emi spends much of the time doing laser tag. She is upset when she is beat by her friend Amy at the punching game; Emi vows to eventually defeat her. Kevin and Emi eventually leave sometime between 12:30 and 1:00.

Kevin Wong
One of Kevin and Emi’s favorite parts of prom was the photobooth.

After after-prom, the couple goes back to Emi’s house for a movie. They decide to watch The Greatest Showman—one of Kevin’s favorites. Towards the end, Emi begins to doze off, though she claims that she saw more of it than Kevin thinks she did (Kevin gets a little sleepy as well, but he has seen it two or three times). After a long and exciting night, Kevin returns to his own home around 3:00 a.m.

Reflecting on the experience a couple weeks after, Kevin is asked to write an essay regarding what he thinks is overrated. As he brainstorms, prom crosses his mind. After all, for him, it is less about the dance itself as much as it is about hanging out with friends before and after—the dance itself is less than interesting. Emi is more sentimental, though she admits that the experience is what you make it. In the end, the two concede that the dance in and of itself may be overrated, but real memories are made with friends and the experiences had before and after.