Ebone and Anastasia in vintage tux and gown from Meeps Vintage Fashionette. Michael wears a vintage tux shirt and sport coat from the Remix. Boutonierres and corsage from Company Flowers.
The flowers. The limo. The tux. The gown. The after-party. The trappings of the prom certainly beat other rites of passage, whether it's getting grounded as punishment or getting bullied as convention. For GLBT kids, however, the whole satiny affair could often stand some tweaking.
''It was very straight,'' remembers Ebone Bell, of her Sherwood High School Class of 1999 prom. ''It was nice because I was with my friends, but it wasn't me. I went with a guy. I was very uncomfortable, because I was in a dress, done up from head to toe. I'd even gotten extensions.''
While Bell doesn't have a time machine to go back and do prom right -- in a tux with the homecoming queen on her arm -- she and her business partner, Brianne Croteau of B.O.I. Productions, are doing the next best thing: the Capital Queer Prom.
Following a successful women's prom on the Spirit of Washington in 2006, this second event has been expanded to include not only every letter in the GLBT rainbow, but allies as well. The Queer Prom kicks off at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 8, at Almas Temple, 1315 K St. NW. But, as this is the prom, there's a little more to it than buying a ticket and showing up.
What about a fly ride? Chariots for Hire is offering a 15 percent discount to anyone who mentions the Queer Prom when making a reservation. And their chariots run the gamut. Classic mobility comes in the form of six-passenger Lincoln. At the other end of the spectrum is the ozone-busting, 20-passenger Hummer with flat-screen TVs, bars, fiber-optic lighting and bling for miles.
''I would recommend reserving sooner rather than later,'' says Courtney West, owner of Chariots. ''We're already starting to get booked up.''
Then there are the clothes, which might be vintage fabulous, rental traditional, or just about anything that brings out the prom queen in you. Meeps Vintage Fashionette and The Remix have the funky side of it covered, with offerings ranging from retro sport coats and tuxedos that scream Dean Martin to Jean Harlow-esque gowns. Contemporary tuxedo help -- for men or women -- comes from Masters Tuxedo in Arlington, or After Hours at the Westfield Wheaton, where Bell had her own tux pants fitted.
Don't forget the foliage. Company Flowers in Arlington is standing by with a wide variety of roses, orchids and ribbons to top off that prom-tastic look with either boutonnieres or corsages. While you may have some favored flower in mind, Company's Brittany McGarrah warns that some concession must be made to practicality: ''There's a little bit of limitation. You have to have something that won't wilt out of water.'' On the other hand, Company Flowers offers a great selection of ribbons to make sure your flowers are tied in a color matching that gown or cummerbund.
But don't tell the chauffeur to hit the prom just yet. Flash your prom tickets at Grillfish, 1200 New Hampshire Ave. NW, for 15 percent off pre-prom dinner.
Then, after the prom pictures have been snapped, that dances danced, it's time for the ultimate in prom redux -- the coolest prom after-party ever.
''I was a little bit of a nerd,'' Bell confesses. ''I didn't go to the cool after-party, but the cheesy one the school sponsored at the rec center.''
Not so this time around, as Town Danceboutique, at 2009 8th St. NW, is offering free admission to the prom parade.
The 2nd Annual Capital Queer Prom is Saturday, March 8, at 8 p.m., at Almas Temple, 1315 K Street NW. Age 21 and up. Tickets are $50. Proceeds benefit The Wanda's Will Project. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.eventboi.com/prom2008.html.