When I was a freshman, I was nervous but excited to attend my first high school dance—I expected a grand ballroom, an elegant dress, and a romantic slow dance. The reality of Winter Ball is very different. Attendees are subject to obscure themes, the inescapable smell of the gym, and more jumping up and down than one may expect. That’s not to say you can’t have a good Winter Ball experience, or at least try! Here are some tips I’ve compiled to help you in this endeavor.
DO go with people you actually like.
If you are forced to be with people you cannot stand or do not know for hours–getting ready, taking pictures, and grabbing food–you will spend the entire time hoping hypothermia comes quickly. Better to keep your group small with actual friends than big with acquaintances.
DON’T stay the whole dance.
The only exception is if you are a junior tasked to be on the Clean-Up committee (why?), and even then, I would strongly discourage it. Get there late and leave early. The enjoyability of dance activities expires, at max, at two hours.
DO wear clothes and shoes you can move in.
I don’t mean PJs (although that’s…a choice), but whether you choose a suit, dress, heels, loafers, or something in between, make sure you can walk and dance. Spandex shorts are key! Save the pantless activities for after the dance.
DON’T make it messy.
You can interpret this however you like. Figuratively, don’t make a spreadsheet with people’s names to decide dates or something equally drama-inducing. Literally, remember that while you’re dreaming about the totally insane mosh pit, Lakeside janitors will be picking up.
DO have a back-up plan.
Party, sleepover, ride home from Mom, whatever. When you want to leave—and inevitably, you will—figure out a way to do so. If you followed my advice and went with friends, I’d recommend stopping by Jewel Box for some snacks and a debrief of the unlikely dates.
DON’T make asking complicated or stressful.
You don’t need to hire a skywriter, perform a song, or spend all of November planning. Ask a friend, a crush, or a random hot senior! The most important thing isn’t avoiding embarrassment (though that’s a consideration), but making sure you don’t pressure someone into saying yes.
DO what feels right to you.
Barring drinking a little too much “punch” or actually punching someone, just make choices that seem fun. Date or no date, corsage or no corsage, pregame or afterparty—the whole point of the night is to do something special with people that you enjoy spending time with!
DON’T make out with someone in the middle of the dance.
Seriously. Or at least find a bathroom or a tree or something.
That’s all! See you December 11th on the dance floor.