The Mittle-man on Campus: A Review of Prom


Illustrated by Sydney Fener

Lying on her bed, the Mittle-Man advises a student on their love life through the phone.

Sarah Mittleman, Opinion Editor

Hello, devoted readers! After a brief hiatus, I have decided to resume my role as romance guru and dedicated advice-giver for the last weeks of the year. For those of you curious as to what I was doing during my absence, I was participating in a romantic research immersion experience that required my constant focus on date-planning, kiss-perfecting and third wheel-navigating. I’m still trying to work out that last category. Anyway, with my newfound romantic knowledge, I am no longer blindly following cliches—now I know firsthand what love is like. You can expect my advice to be much more logic-based and realistic now that my head has come down from the clouds.

Prom is the most important event of everybody’s lifetime. We all know that. With the event’s announcement, the entire senior class felt a flurry of excitement. After all, it’s not every year that we are able to host a super spreader event in the middle of a (seemingly endless) pandemic. I was thrilled to participate in classic prom activities like loud coughing and hacking, sharing food and drink and spending time in close proximity to others who have recently tested positive for COVID-19. And since I was the guest of honor for this year’s prom, “Dancing in the Moonlight,” The Chronicle asked me to provide a comprehensive review of the night’s events. I’m happy to do so, especially because I’m being heavily compensated with praise from the editors. That’s why, as I strapped my miniature camera onto my corsage, hid the microphone in my earrings and inserted my infrared contact lenses, I was prepared to collect enough evidence to expose prom for what it was. This is a responsibility I did not take lightly. As an investigative journalist, I often have to make difficult choices. Remaining neutral would protect my relationships, but I have a duty to spread knowledge and preserve my integrity, and that comes first. So at the risk of damaging my reputation among Prefect Council, I must express my sincerest disappointment with this year’s promenade.

First of all, Prefect Council did not take the time to provide amenities like planned transportation. Partygoers were expected to rent their own limousines for the night. Considering the high volume of proms happening over the weekend, demand for luxury vehicles skyrocketed, putting an undue strain on guests to secure their own rides. Even if purchasing expensive cars for all seniors was too costly, although I can’t imagine there’s a better use for our excessive tuition (no, we don’t need another cafeteria), Prefect Council could have at least opted to grace me, the unofficial guest of honor, with transportation. At the very least, President Rick Commons could have chauffered me himself. The hectic party bus I ended up taking shook me up like a carbonated soda for the entire drive. Adding insult to injury, the driver didn’t even provide hors d’oeuvres.

Prom was off to a rocky start, but I kept an open mind as I arrived at the Skirball Cultural Center. To my chagrin, I had to walk for over two minutes from the car to the venue in my five-inch diamond-encrusted heels. The school should have had the foresight to provide some type of slide that could take guests directly from their cars to the dance. Worst case, one of the security guards could have carried me.

Inside, my date and I were welcomed with large banquet tables, a drink station and a spacious dance floor. It was a little awkward for me to have to make small talk with the seven boys whose prom-posals I had to reject. They were really sweet gestures—especially the helicopter and the personalized video call from Michelle Obama—which made it all the more embarrassing having to walk past them to the dance floor.

Prom ended up being pretty draining. Fans kept on dragging me to the photo booth, eager to capture a snapshot of a celebrity’s life. At one point there was even a line stretching out the door. I tried to accommodate all of the requests because that’s the kind of considerate person I am, but at a certain point, I had to put my foot down. I hate disappointing my fans—you all—but I need to maintain healthy boundaries between work and my private life.

I appreciated the addition of air hockey and foosball tables at the event to keep the dateless busy. However, my admirers kept on waving me over to play with them, and it was beyond taxing. I already had to contend with the needs of my close friends and my date, not to mention appeasing the hungry crowd with my dance moves. It was too much. I decided to stay far away from the games when I realized the school had not bothered to hire an on-site nail technician in case my acrylics popped off. I was not going to risk my post-prom Instagram pictures.

When my date left me at my table for a bathroom break, I tried to appear melancholic and thoughtful, but despite my mysterious expression and sparkling ball gown, only twelve people came to check up on me. No wisened teacher offered me love advice; no old friend from middle school sat across from me to reminisce about our past and rekindle our closeness; no arch nemesis snickered at me for being alone. I was bored out of my mind! Prefect Council could have done a much better job in the drama department. Not sure why they didn’t talk to Performing Arts Teacher Michele Spears in advance.

I’m a sucker for clichés, so I couldn’t wait to find out who the prom court would be (although I already anticipated a unanimous win). I was saddened to discover that it was rigged. Why pretend to uphold democracy at all when the election fraud is so blatant? I had a feeling that the Political Machine wouldn’t want me to take the crown: unlike more complacent students, I do not stand for the administration’s wrongdoings. The System despises investigative journalists who uncover and expose the truth. Prefect Council clearly decided to award the runner-up instead. Message received, Dean of Students Jordan Church.

I was disappointed by the DJ’s clear bias in choosing from students’ music suggestions. I submitted my entire playlist, but the DJ only played one of my songs. Suspiciously, several “classic” school dance songs like “Cha Cha Slide” were played, but I didn’t hear a single “Red: Taylor’s Version” rerecorded piece. The Political Machine strikes again!

As prom came to an end, the partygoers returned to the floor for two slow dances. For some reason, the crowd did not part to let me and my date take center stage. In fact, nobody even stopped to observe us during our romantic moments. The spotlight only highlighted my perfectly-tailored dress about four times. Nobody even gave a speech thanking me for a full year of Advice Giving.

Overall, did I enjoy my night? Yes. I received hundreds of compliments from fans about my dress, and my date was a perfect gentleman. Plus, as a love guru, I was thrilled to be a part of a night dedicated to romance. But will I be returning next year? No way—that is, unless any juniors think I’m cute and want to take me.