Oh it’s that time of year again! I managed to attend three proms, my girlfriend’s Senior Prom, and my Junior and Senior Proms. The Prom was the major social event of the year, girls planned for weeks ahead getting just the right gown and making sure their boyfriend coordinated his tux and flowers with the gown. It was a formal event, in fact some places called the event “The Formal”.
Not the best picture, but this was my Junior Prom. That’s me on the left, I have always preferred my hair long. My first experience of gowns and tuxedos. I thought my father might pass out by the third tuxedo store, but Katy had to have me match her gown perfectly, while Dad thought “Blue is Blue”. As you can see, it wasn’t strictly black tie, in that we wore tuxedos of various shades. It was a relationship barometer, you didn’t take just anyone to the prom, it was something special. There was a professional photographer, because it was a night you would never forget. Katy kept the professional pictures, so I’m left with these, which are more meaningful anyway. The next day we dressed in the same outfits, went for a drive through the countryside and visited a graveyard. We bought marzipan candies at a market and had dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant, where long pants was usually considered “well dressed”.
Here we are a few weeks later at her Senior Prom. Yes, hats have always been a staple in my wardrobe. We went to an “after party” at a friend’s house, hosted by her parents. Katy and I drove down to Seaside Heights to watch the Sun rise over the ocean. It was cold and a little foggy, we were alone save a few fishermen in the surf. We came home and slept all day, in our respective homes. That is not to say we were virginal, but spending the night (day) together would have detracted from the event.
This is my Senior Prom. Katy had gone off to college, so I took my friend Helene. We had a wonderful evening, my best friends were a couple so we all sat together. It was an extravaganza, twelve piece band and loads of dance music. The appetizers looked like swans, with necks and heads made of bread. We used a variety of intoxicants, and we all got home safe.
That’s not the way it works anymore, at least not around here. Kids of all ages are admitted, gowns are short, and ties are rare (and God forbid you expect anyone to know how to make a proper knot). Dates are people you met last week. Girls still spend exorbitant amounts on dresses, and couples take limos. After parties are at hotels, or undisclosed locations at the shore.
I believe this is a result of the increasing blandness we teach children. Our over protective zero tolerance society has resulted in a generation of jaded posers. Games with no winner to protect the feelings of the loser remove the drive to succeed. Getting whatever is asked for because “everyone else has one” encourages both envy and a need to conform. When nothing is denied, nothing is special.
Without it being special, the prom is just another dance. It costs more, and you can dress nice if you want, but it’s nothing like the proms I attended. I am sorry for the kids who will never get the experience, sorry they cannot appreciate a special evening, and sorry they think this is a prom.
I am so very happy for my memories. Thank you Katy, thank you Helene.