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Formal Etiquette

It’s that time of year again; the weather is changing, the library is standing room only, and your to-do list is overflowing with more assignments than you ever thought possible.  Yet, for some, one of the most stressful aspects of finals week has nothing to do with exams – rather, this stress is brought on by the (notorious) sorority and fraternity formals.  AKA, it’s time to awkwardly ask the guy you’ve spent that past few weeks “hooking-up” with if he will accept the honor of being your date.

You feel vulnerable, you fear rejection, and most of all: you worry that this guy will take your invitation the wrong way.  We all know that guys are quick to assume that a girl is looking for a boyfriend, but – in the case of formals – what we’re actually looking for is a nice guy to have a fun night with…and to look cute standing next to us in our pictures. I do not mean this in a shallow way; but let’s face it – half the reason that girls care so much about their formal dates is for the sake of Facebook…we want the entire cyber-stalking world to know that we ‘found love in a hopeless place.’ (And by ‘love’ I mean a date).

But for many, the nerve-wracking part of formal comes after he’s said yes. Suddenly, it hits you that you’ll be spending an entire night, (from pre-game pictures to post-game festivities), with the guy you like.  You’re excited, but you also feel butterflies because you realize that most of the time you’ve spent with this guy has been out at a bar or  “watching movies” together.  Now you have the pressure of getting all dolled up, devising a pre-pregame plan, and hoping he doesn’t get annoyed when your friends make you pose together for 20million prom-like pictures.   
Once the awkwardness has subsided, what can you do to ensure that you have a great night together? Be a good date. And here’s how:
1.      Thank him for coming with you.  Make him feel like you truly want him there and that you appreciate what a great date he’s been. (Unless he’s making an idiot of himself by dancing shirtless on the bar, in which case the only thing you should thank him for is not pulling you up there with him). 
2.      Do not run off with your girlfriends the second you get there.  Remember that he is a date at your formal, so he may be feeling slightly uncomfortable himself.  Show him that you brought him because you want to spend time with him; don’t leave him alone in a corner to be with your friends.
3.      Dress with classex. (Remember that term I made up in last week’s article?) Classex is a mixture of CLASSY and sexy.  Of course you want to look your best, but this does not mean showing off every inch of your body.  No guy wants to be on a date with “the girl in the slutty dress.”  So don’t be that girl; dress with elegance and leave something to the imagination.
4.      Do not get wasted.Formals are usually open bar, so it’s easy to have one drink too many.  But try to refrain yourself from getting to the point where you’re using your date’s tie to clean up your vomit.  It’s a huge turn-off, and you’ll wind up spending the night above your toilet bowl rather than in his arms. 
5.      Let loose and HAVE FUN.This is your chance to shine and show your date a good time! (Didn’t mean for this to rhyme).  So don’t be afraid to get your groove on, crack some jokes, and let him see the real you. He’ll end up wanting to spend more nights with you in the future. 
So there you have it! I will ‘formally’ conclude this article by saying: good luck! Have fun! And don’t forget to pick up your dress from the dry-cleaner before it closes.

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