By Kat Kinsman, CNN
Editor's note: In 1990, Eatocracy's Kat Kinsman didn't have a date to her senior prom. Only opposite-sex couples were allowed to buy tickets, so she couldn't just pair up with a friend. She was terrified to go without a date, but decided she'd take a leap of faith. Here's the pep talk she wishes she could have given herself more than 20 years ago.
(CNN) - Dear 17-year-old self considering staying home on prom night because you don't have a date,
Oh, you poor, stressed-out, self-hating misfit girl, just suck it up and go.
It won't be the night of your life, as all those '80s movies and special TV episodes would lead you to believe. The boy you've had a crush on since junior high won't suddenly declare his hidden love for you as he twirls you across the dance floor (as it turns out, he'd rather ask someone in a tux to dance).
There won't have been a secret addendum to the ballot electing you prom queen. No one is packing pig's blood. Your "virtue" will remain thoroughly intact.
You'll dance badly and happily to "Funky Cold Medina" while listening to your girlfriends whine about how their dates are ignoring them in favor of the lively card tournament at the corner table. You'll drink terrible schnapps in someone's cousin's hot tub afterward and comfort your tipsy pals as teenage romantic drama unfolds around you.
You'll also learn something pretty fundamental about yourself that night: You don't need anyone's permission to experience life or like yourself.