The awfulness of "nerd prom"

There is a certain appeal to “Nerd Prom” as a name: it’s short, it has basic meter, it seems harmless, it’s easier to say than “Dinner with People Who Sleep and Socialize Together At All Hours And Then Pretend to Cover One Another Objectively,” less alarming than “The Ruling Class And Its Propagandists,” and certainly less gauche than “Thronesniffers Unite!” It fits into Twitter (the Official Social Network™ of “Nerd Prom”) in a compact, hashtaggy fashion in ways that “Careerist Forced Bonhomie” or “Abandoning My Middle-American Values” does not. These cats know how to live by the promise of hashtag.

But its real appeal is what it conveys about the mindset of the clique in the room — the “nerds” of “prom.”

That mindset is this: It’s all a big joke, guys. You rubes out there in the sticks west of Fairfax, north of Bethesda, and south of Springfield may think the nation’s capital is a place of serious people doing serious things, and it sure can look that way. But we few, we happy few, we band of brothers who live in the town your confiscated cash built (wealthiest metropolitan area in the country, guys, and be sure to file on time please), we know that the metaphor for Washington, D.C., is less imperial Rome, and more middling public high school. High school wasn’t conflict free! Far from it!…

But at the end of it all, high school culminates in one great, affirming event that brings us all together, reminds us that we are all on one team, and gives us an evening of memories that will last a lifetime: prom. Some of us will even get laid, and these days, the choices attendant to that are the bedrock of human identity itself. “Nerd Prom,” then, reminds us of who we are, and who you’re not.