Timmy Mowafi's never been to a prom so he jumped at the chance to relive the joy and reckless abandon of his teenage years for one more night. What he got was a stark reminder of just how messed up young (and old) minds can be...
Ahh, prom! The most magical night of any teenager’s life, glorified in countless Hollywood movies; the night everyone looks forward to for four years of high school; when a boy finally becomes a man. I wouldn’t know, though. I was only ever in British schools, where they don’t really have proms. When I graduated from secondary school (high school) in Egypt, we had a big Fifa tournament and ordered loads of Hardee’s. So when my friend's younger brother asked me if I wanted to go to his high school prom, I jumped at the chance. Finally, I’m going to become a man! Plus, I’m sure it beats the usual drug-fuelled khabataya I somehow end up at whenever I leave my house. This’ll be some good, clean fun.
The prom was the next night, and I realised I didn’t have a date. “Hey, do you want to go to the prom with me?” only sounds ridiculous, as a 23-year-old man (read: boy) with a beard, after it comes out of your mouth. It gets more ridiculous when the answer is “Sorry, Timmy. I have my university thesis due, I can’t go to the prom with you.” I didn’t let that get me down, though. I went around the party I was at and asked a couple more girls. The response usually involved laughing and walking off. I was starting to feel like the high school geek, hopelessly asking the most popular girls in school out. They would walk off into s jock's (read: shab) arms, I would urinate myself, and they would point and laugh. The next day, I was close to calling the whole thing off, locking my door and playing Fifa all night. Who cares about the stupid prom, anyways? Then I realised I’m not a 16-year-old girl, this isn’t actually my prom, and I still have one more option.
“Waleed, do you want to go to the prom with me?” I ask my brother
“I thought you’d never ask!” He replies sarcastically before continuing with: “Kossomak.”
“I don’t want to be a combars in your prom story, Timmy.”
He complained I didn’t get him a corsage. I complained he didn’t at least take his glasses off like the girl in She’s All That. Expecting the customary white limo to pull up outside, my date started to get pissy when I hailed a cab. I brought a miniature bottle of Absolut with me to spike the punch. I don’t know what punch is, but from all the prom films I’ve seen, that’s what the cool kids are always talking about. When I arrived, I realised there’s no drinking age in Egypt and everyone seemed wasted already. I downed the miniature vodka and watched on as the Prom King and Queen were announced. I narrowly missed out and got quite upset about it. Then they announced Prom Cutest. I’d never heard of this category before. I looked towards the stage as people clapped in the winner but I couldn’t see anyone. I tiptoed around the crowd to try and catch a glimpse. No! Oh, no! What the...
I look back at the mini Absolut to make sure it wasn’t some kind of moonshine. I look back at the stage.
Yep. The school just announced a 17-year-old dwarf as Prom Cutest. They put a sashay on him which said ‘Cutest’ and everything. High school kids are so cruel! How demeaning, how emasculating!
I rush through the crowd as the announcement comes to an end, to console the young man and tell him that everything gets better after high school, not to worry about these jerks and that I’d help him try to get him laid that night.
“Hey, man! What’s your name? Come hang out with us…” I muttered, possibly somewhat condescendingly.
He looks at me up and down with an awkward smile that said: What are you doing here, you pervert? He walks off with two hot girls on his arms, while I stood sullenly, as my brother rested his head against my back, slow dancing…
I then went and sat down next to a barely post-pubescent kid who looked lonely. Maybe I could at least pass on some advice while I’m here? He told me he was going to go to a university in London. I told him that universities are designed to spit kids out as pre-programmed cogs of the next generation. They are no-go areas for creativity and free thought, aimed at just getting graduates to amount increasing anxiety and debt so they can be part of The System, just to end up at a desk every morning, in a monkey suit, trying to pay them off while you watch your life fly by. He said he’s going to a university in London so he can party and get white bitches. He doesn’t need a job, his dad owns the university.
Kids these days…
As the prom was coming to an end, a group of youngsters invited me up to a hotel room for an after-party. Finally, I was in with the cool kids! I imagined a room full of bright, young things, reminiscing about their high school days, drinking beers and dreaming about their futures. I get up to the room, look around and realise I know every single one of these people. They’re not high school kids. They’re grown men I’ve seen at every single afteraya I’ve been at for the last two years. The kids that took me up settle down in a corner and start unpacking some narcotics. I turn to a DJ friend of mine.
“What the fuck is this shit?”
“Timmeeeeehhhh. Yalla, hane3mel khabataya!”