Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

Was your prom dress ugly and embarrassing? Judging from Seventeen Prom, girls today have it even worse. Maybe teens don't mind wearing grotesque gowns anyhow — judging from the advertising, prom is really about what happens when the dress comes off.

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

Spider-web tights aren't the first thing that springs to mind when you hear "prom," but Seventeen Prom deserves some credit for thinking outside the poofy princess-gown box. Plus, this look becomes much more appealing when you see the other options...

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

Apparently the big trend in prom dresses this year is blindingly ugly floral prints. Alternately, pleats, sequins, and animal prints make you look more classy and grown-up, so try to work those in wherever possible.

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

If the traditional pageant-style gown isn't your thing, why not go short? If you keep your hands glued to your hem all evening, it's almost like you're playing hard to get — and boys will think that's hot!

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

If short skirts aren't your thing, why not let your torso get some attention with cut-outs? They let you expose all the skin you want without worrying about flashing your thong. Possible downside: You may spend most of the night arguing with the chaperones about whether or not your gown qualifies as "appropriate."

(Also, who knew metallics look so great against that 3rd grade school photo background?)

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

Just imagine what the Project Runway judges would have to say about this.

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

It's okay to be scared! Or maybe this Xcite Prom model is trying to make a SexyFace. This is the problem with telling high school girls they should look like Maxim models — they haven't really nailed that artificial brand of sexiness yet.

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

Seventeen Prom is like a virgin/whore dichotomy flip book. In the few pages of actual content shoved between the ads, the editors advocate having "pretty" makeup and taking your best friend to the prom because "she won't get grope-y at the end of the night." Except for a few references to having "hot" hair, it's pretty wholesome. But turn the page, and there's a girl posing in nothing but trashy heels.

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

At least the guys are forced to strip down too. Nothing about my prom night resembled a Harlequin romance novel, but it seems that brooding 17-year-old boys with six-pack abs and throbbing manhoods are the must-have accessory this prom season.

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

At least skinny rocker boys are allowed to keep their shirts on.

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

One good thing about this issue: It's okay to be curvy, plus-size, "apple"-shaped, or whatever else they're calling it.

The more important issue: Is "Ally, 17" Real Housewife Jill Zarin's daughter?

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

Of course, if you do have any extraneous lumps, you'll have to tame them in this shapewear bodysuit, which is basically an overprotective parent's dream: If boys have trouble unhooking bras, they'll never figure out how to free a girl from a Lycra tube. Plus, after one attempt to hike up layers of tulle and shimmy out of this thing to pee, your daughter will stop drinking for the rest of the night.

Hideous Dresses & Possible Deflowering: Seventeen Goes To The Prom

Finally, the worst development in prom wear since I squeezed into a sparkly magenta gown before the advent of Spanx: PROM GARTERS. As explained on eHow:

Much like a bride's garter, a prom garter is worn around the leg of a girl attending prom. The garter is traditionally worn on the right leg just above the knee. The girl may choose to give her garter to her date, removing it herself, as a souvenir of the night. Some schools hold a "garter dance" in which a girl removes her garter, throws it to an awaiting group of guys and dances with the one who catches the garter.

eHow also notes:

One prominent and traditional place for the guy to display the garter is on his car's rear-view mirror.

Nope, nothing tacky about that! Moreover, it's just one more way in which prom is morphing into a bad march down the aisle: You wait for a boy to ask you, hunt for the dress (that you'll wear once), hire a limo, make salon appointments, and wear a decorative garter on your leg.

The idea that prom night is a the night for virginity-losing is nothing new — but it seems the dress ads are becoming more blatantly sexual. If weddings end with a trip to the Honeymoon Penthouse, how long until motels start advertising Prom Night Junior Suites?

What Are Prom Garters? [eHow]
Prom Garter Etiquette [eHow]