May 19, 2012

Old Contrarian remembers the Prom

My social network page and my Real Life Grapevine are full of news of Proms. The girls’ dresses are stunning, and I suspect the price supports the shimmer, glimmer and glamour of these special once-in-a-lifetime evenings.
In our semi-suburban community prom night is just as it was for the last century, filled with anticipation and unrequited and fulfilled lust. I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck; I remember, holding close to "Colour My World" and the AOR version of "Stairway to Heaven." Can't dance to that no way no shape no how.
My potential Night of Passion was a night of riding around in a ’73 Malibu with five other people and ending the evening at IHOP at six a.m. for pancakes.
That’s the old news and probably won’t change ever.
What has changed are the accoutrements.
And now for the requisite “contrarian” “In my day….”
IN MY DAY, my Prom dress was handmade and the material was polyester and probably cost about eight dollars. The style of the day was an empire waist with two tie-backs that were looped to make a bow in the back. I swear on all that is holy that my dress matched the draperies of the eighth floor ballroom at the Downtown Holiday Inn.
My date gave me a wrist corsage which was lovely but weighed about ten pounds, multiple yellow roses and babies breath.
My date wore the style of the day, a light blue tuxedo with a white ruffled shirt. The shirt was outlined in the same shade of blue, yes, turquoise blue. He had the pseudo-Donny Osmond haircut and shiny rented shoes that came with his $60 tux. My hair was cut in something chic from "Seventeen" called the "shag" haircut. Looked like hell something out of a popular magazine.
Horror of horrors, he was a Boy from Another School. In the dark ages, attending your senior prom with a Boy from Another School was just a little lower on the pathetic list to going with your brother or a group of girls.
I met The Boy from Another School the previous summer on a 4-H trip. The day after I asked him to the Prom, a boy from my class asked me. I was very happy to have the date I did; I had gone to another dance with the boy from my school the year before. He was an hour late and didn't say one word to me during the entire evening. (When I saw The Dud years later at a class reunion, he had no clue who I was and still didn't speak to me.  And he had a hot wife.  She saw something in him that I did not!)
TODAY things are so different. Many young people think the Prom is a drag (oops, use of lame seventies word) sucks big time and don’t go. Many have parents who think it is the bomb the thing to do, and spend thousands of dollars on limo, flowers, parties, designer clothes.
The year I had a senior in high school, two different sets of parents rented party buses for a formal dance and provided alcohol on the bus shots of tequila and all the top drawer booze the kids wanted. The vehicles were Greyhound-size with a driver and bar.
What's the point? I don't know. I had a good time at my Senior Prom and I'm glad I went. I cannot under any circumstances imagine paying for certain items that some parents do today. The best thing my parents did for me for my Prom (as they were teachers) was not to chaperon.