By Raisa Bruner
November 13, 2018

Before meeting her date for prom, Malia Obama wanted only one thing from her parents President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama: for them to “just be cool please, okay?”

In her new book Becoming, Michelle reflects on her eldest daughter’s first prom experience, and the complicated — but extremely relatable — way that the family navigated the night. Obama recalls that it was spring of 2015. (Malia was 16 at the time, and a student at Washington, D.C.’s Sidwell Friends High School.)

“On the appointed evening, her date arrived in his car, clearing security at the southeast gate of the White House, following the path up and around the South Lawn by which heads of state and other visiting dignitaries normally arrived, and then gamely — bravely — walking into the Dip Room dressed in a black suit,” Obama writes. She notes that they made an exception for Malia to be driven by the date, since normally secret service would have that role.

Apparently, Malia was embarrassed even before the meeting took place as she rode the elevator down with her parents. “I was barefoot, and Barack was in flip-flops,” Michelle recalls.

Ultimately, Michelle says the date was “a bit excruciating,” according to Malia, but the Obamas did their best to “be cool” despite it all.

Malia is currently an undergraduate at Harvard University, so hopefully her life is now a little less encumbered by secret service protocols, White House standards and — of course — her parents’ presence.

Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com.

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