Is senior prom more fun the second time around?

Xania Woodman

Monday, September 5, 2 p.m. I roll up to Green Valley Ranch Station Casino with my wagon train of luggage and check into my room. The bathroom is larger than my living room, which means it's almost big enough. I carefully lay out tonight's game-plan ensemble: short, black, satin-sheath dress; gold heels; gold purse; funky jewelry. Positively vibrating with anticipation and the satisfaction of having done it right this time, I'm off to the pool for a self-congratulatory margarita.

Normally on a holiday weekend, the Pond would be jamming, filled to the brim with beautiful bodies, important people and ambient music. The daiquiris flowing, we would while away the hot hours watching the half-naked parade. But this Labor Day, the crowd is thinner than a hungry swimsuit model; they must have found a new lily pad on which to perch. The Pond is pleasantly serene, though the 70-degree water is prompting all the men to apologize to their testicles before diving in.

After dinner, the Whiskey Beach outdoor patio is transformed. A red carpet dribbles down the sweeping staircase, at the base of which are jugglers and acrobats. Couples and groups carefully make their way down (only a few high-heeled ladies will make a stumbling, carnivalesque entrance). At the bottom, photographers and videographers are present to capture the magic and folly of the first-ever Las Vegas Industry Prom: A White Dream.

This may be the most self-indulgent thing I do all year but I'm not the only one taking it seriously. Heavy ball gowns in black or white drag past and diaphanous, pastel chiffon flutters by. Opera-length gloves, tiaras, mile-high hair, fresh flowers and gobs of jewelry. The same trappings as proms long past but now that our bodies have finally caught up with our fashion sense, we no longer look like children playing dress-up. We look like ... gulp! ... adults.

With a flippant nod to the prom committee, some have chosen to express themselves as they were not allowed to in their high-school days. Body paint, for example, and men wearing dresses do a great job of driving home the idea that this is not your mother's prom. Unless of course, there were exposed nipples at hers, in which case she would feel right at home.

We take our photos early and are rewarded with a great shot, eyes still bright, my makeup still fresh. We drink champagne under the stars while an endless list of DJs has a go at the turntables. DJ Hollywood spins just before the king and queen are announced and I realize I can't remember if my high school even had a king and queen. The nominees are 50 well-known characters in the nightlife scene and when the votes are tallied, Ice's Zee Zandi and Ghostbar's Marko Greisen are crowned and caped in scepter-waving glory. Somewhere, their parents are smirking but proud. We toast to reclaimed youth and dance the night away on a Saturday Night Fever type of dance floor inside the Whiskey, while KC the Drummer bangs away.

"Why is this night different from all others," I ask for the second time this year (the first being Passover). In the nine years since my senior prom, I find the answer has changed almost as much as my hairstyle.

I was freshly 18 at my senior prom, still learning what it meant to be a girl, let alone a woman. Plus, I was wearing a green-velvet column dress best suited to a Merchant Ivory film starring Gwyneth Paltrow. I had no idea what I was doing. We gathered in a back yard, wearing our dates as proudly as our ridiculous, heavy corsages, and relished every detail. The to-do list still lurks somewhere in the margins of my old history notebook: No. 1. Dress—check. No. 2. Date nice Jewish boy—check. No. 3. Shoes—go to Bronx with Dad. No. 4. Purse—see above. No. 5. Hair—up? down? both?! No. 6. Jewelry—Claire's.

At 18, it was a rite of passage, something to both look forward to and dread just before heading off to college, the next big thing to both look forward to and dread. At 27, it's a chance to re-create and relive the good stuff without the painful and embarrassing details like braces, acne, peer pressure and the sheer frustration of almost-but-not-quite being an adult. This time, I can have my prom and my champagne, too. And that's one more thing this prom gave me that the last one did not—a hangover.

Xania Woodman thinks globally and parties locally. And frequently. E-mail her at
[email protected].

Xania's Hot Spots for September 15 - 21

Thursday, September 15

Hogs n' Heifers: Grand opening Denim Carpet Celebration

Voodoo Lounge: The Main Event, with DJs Haul and Mason

Simon at the Hard Rock: Katrina Benefit with Bankie Banx

Friday, September 16

Vivid: DJs Franzen, Dre' Dea' and Aurajin

Light: Mexican Independence Day party

Ice: Thank Glaude It's Friday with DJs Scooter and Lavelle

Saturday, September 17

Ice: Weekly's Readers' Choice for Best Club DJ Michael Fuller

Sunday, September 18

Light: Scoop Fall Fashion Showcase

Monday, September 19

Rainbow Bar & Grill: Rock Mondays with DJ Scotty Boy

Foundation Room: Godspeed

Tuesday, September 20

Ra Sushi: House of Geisha with DJs Royce Ramirez, Carlos Sanches, Kris Nilsson and KC Ray

Wednesday, September 21

Scores: Grand opening

Ice: First anniversary of the Godskitchen takeover, as seen on The Club

For more Hot Spots and weekly parties visit and sign up for Xania's free weekly newsletter.

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