I Went To Dog Prom, And All Of The Dogs Were Dressed Better Than I Was
I never went to my actual prom — I was too busy that night listening to Nine Inch Nails and trying to find a good rhyme for "infinite sorrow" in my poetry notebook, probably — but I can now say that I've been to a puppy prom, which is way more important, right? Last night, I was lucky enough to attend the first annual Bark Post Puppy Prom, a fund-raiser for New York City animal shelter Animal Haven, hosted by fashion designer Rachel Antonoff. The prom featured drinks, dancing, a DJ, raffles, and all sorts of other prom-ish things — but most importantly, it gave me a chance to indulge in my greatest passion: freaking out over dogs wearing tiny bow ties.
Dog proms have become a national trend over the past few years, because life is hard and the prospect of looking at some dogs in party dresses makes it easier to face yet another day. I had wanted to attend a dog prom from the moment I first heard about them, but as I prepared to enter the Puppy Prom, I was nervous. Though I love dogs, dogs don't always love me back (possibly because I am too loud and my personal scent is a combination of pad Thai, sadness, and Justin Bieber's Girlfriend). In both my dating and dog-petting life, I had scared off a number of potential companions with my unbridled enthusiasm.
Would the dogs of Puppy Prom accept me? Or would they turn their precious little backs on me? Would one of the dogs pretend to like me, but then it would turn out that it he was hanging out with me just to win a bet, but then it would turn out that said dog had come to genuinely love me? These thoughts ran through my head as I approached the Puppy Prom venue in Brooklyn's DUMBO neighborhood. As a last-second tactical measure, I bought a slice of pizza and then wiped my hands on my dress instead of a napkin. If the dogs didn't like me for my personality, perhaps I could buy their love via liberal application of food grease to my person.
As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about: Dogs are way more chill than human teenagers. The pups of Puppy Prom were relaxed, friendly, and did not seem even mildly interested in stealing my poetry notebook and reading it out loud in front of my entire English class. None of the dogs had a public argument about whether they were going to break up after graduation or got disciplined by a teacher for starting a "freak train" either, which probably made it the most successful prom of all time.
So what did I learn by finally living my dream of attending a puppy prom?
1. Photographing A Dog Is Very, Very Hard
I mean, not photographing little Kimba here. Kimba was a total pro — the Karlie Kloss of Puppy Prom, if you will. But in general, dogs are not that interested in being photographed. They are more interested in sensible things, like sniffing stuff, licking stuff, or turning around in a semicircle. Frankly, we could probably learn a lot from their example.
2. But Most Dogs Do Have Instagram Accounts These Days
And given what I now know about photographing dogs, I must tip my hat to each and every one of those owners. Maintaining a feed of adorable pictures of a dog romping, relaxing, and otherwise looking Pinterest-worthy is hard work. The next time you see a dog on Instagram with 100,000 followers and say, "I don't get what the big deal is, that's just a picture of a dog in a hat," really think about it. Ponder how much time it took to get that dog to sit still, wear the hat, not eat the hat, not get distracted by someone else's hat, and not run off to see if someone was eating food in the next room. Photographing a dog is a difficult endeavor, and the dogs of the Internet and their owners — like little Holly over here, with her owner Mary — deserve all our respect (and also all of our beef-flavored treats).
3. We Should Encourage Dogs To Dress Up In Outfits
Maybe we could develop some kind of tax incentive plan related to it? Hillary, are you listening?
4. Dogs Are Friendly (Duh)
I was a little worried that going stag to a Puppy Prom might make me feel like the nerd at a high school party — you know, the one who helps make the punch while all the cool kids are making out. But everyone (like the adorable Gizmo here) was super cool about my going to the Puppy Prom without a pup of my own. There's just something about having a bunch of dogs in a room that makes everyone feel relaxed. Would high school have been better if we'd all been allowed to bring dogs with us? That's not for me to say (but also, yes).
5. New York City Dogs Dress Better Than I Do
I mean, especially when they belong to Rachel Antonoff, who is pictured here with her dog Lafitte. But look at these guys:
6. Everyone Played Nice
In a two-hour prom, there were no fights, only light growling and minimal poop and pee accidents (so, again, nothing like a real prom).
Did these dogs all go to their dad's lake house to make out and play Quarters afterwards? We'll never know. But they did raise money for a good cause, give their owners a chance to meet, and, most importantly, filled a yawning void in my soul by prancing around in little ball gowns. So all in all, it was a pretty great night.
After I left, I got lost for 15 minutes, and learned that not only is DUMBO the most confusingly laid-out neighborhood in Brooklyn, but also that it has a weird, pervasive wet paste smell, like a high school art classroom. But not even that, or the way my GPS kept trying to get me to run across a highway, could dampen my enthusiasm for Puppy Prom. I think we should turn all the rituals of American teenagers over to dogs now, honestly. I think they should be given their own tiny malls and cars and lacrosse teams and emo albums. Can you imagine how adorable that would be, a dog lacrosse team? Oh, you'll come around.
If you'd like to donate to Animal Haven or adopt one of their many precious pups, you can check them out here. And if you want to know more about the Puppy Prom, you can just ask me, because I am literally never going to shut up about it for the rest of my life.