Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Homecoming and then coming home

Last week we were all aflutter getting the twins (14) ready for their first high school dance. The list of necessities was long:

Dresses - Much research, mall treking, and negotiation was involved in this most-critical element of all. They wanted lovely and VERY expensive Jessica McClintock dresses. We countered with discout store, craig's list, or ebay dresses. We acheived a truce at new, but affordable mail order.
Accesories to the dresses were:
Dates- check. Two Tenth (!) graders had asked and been accepted. They were told to wear ties that matched the girl's dresses.
Shoes - Must "go" but not "match," and "I don't know, Mom! But I'll know it when I see it. Also, they can't be the same as Tina's or she'll get mad at me for copying."
Jewelry - Mom's heirlooms anyone? No, way too outre. It's got to be cheap crap from the hot store at the mall.
Makeup - All I can say is thank God for Target.

Finally the big night came. The boys, driven by a mom in a minivan, arrived. Let me just say here, because I only have girls and haven't observed the young male of the species closely for quite some time: fifteen year old boys are like great gangly uncoordinated puppies! Cute, but in a sort of silly way. The mom was great. She kept saying "Stand up straight! Her dress isn't apple red. It's cranberry. Why did you tell me it was Apple red? Now you don't match!"

Humiliation by camera was endured. They had been delighted for me to buy them all this stuff, but were horrified that we might actually want to record the event (and our purchases) for posterity. But she who holds the credit card holds the power.

When the great, longed-for event was all over and the girls came home, I asked, "Did you have fun?" The answer was a dull, "I guess." And in that answer I heard the crashing sound of dreams meeting reality. I don't know exactly what they expected, but it wasn't provided by lovely dresses and fifteen-year-old dorks.

I remember going to a prom in tenth grade (my first and last!). I had a lovely red velvet dress. I was nominated and (to my surprise) won Sophomore princess, so I got a tiarra too. A dress, an actual boy as a date, and a tiarra! We're talking serious little girl (me at least) fantasy territory. But, after the prom we went for drinks (this was in Taiwan. No drinking age or carding.) I got a Singapore sling, which had a maraschino cherry in it. I hate maraschino cherries. So innocently and stupidly, I held it out to my date and asked, "Do you want the cherry?" To which he, OF COURSE, replied. "That's not the cherry I want." Yuck! Which is, I recall, what I actually said to him. And all around me was the icky squelching sound of fantasy sliding into the gutter. As I said, it was my last prom.


claire said...

Yes, my daughter had a similar experience. Fortunately, we got the dress on mucho sale (and then had to pay $40 to get it altered!). The fantasy is SO much better than the reality in these situations. It if were all that simple, eh? Just put on a smart frock, gloss your lips up, and all's right with the world.

Will said...

Later on in life, those boys will have to actually rent a tux for prom (which I had to do 3 times), so at least those parents won't get away so easy. How many dances do they have per year? Each one's gonna need a different dress... From their "I guess" comment, I can't tell if they had a Bad time, or if they had a pretty good time and didn't feel like talking about it.


Elizabeth said...

It was a pitiful and depressed "I guess" not an evasive because I had some fun I don't want to talk about "I guess." I'm intimately familiar with both, having used them both in my youth.

Elizabeth said...

Claire: Yes. Yet even aged as I am and knowing the smart frock and lip gloss don't change things, I still try it out, just to check and see.....

more cowbell said...

Homecoming! My younger daughter (senior) and my son (freshman) just went to homecoming, and I was shocked to find the boy cost more than the girls had! Was not expecting that. It pissed me off, actually. We could always find dresses on sale, but I ended dropping $160 for the son, and no he did not even get a suit! He will be wearing those clothes for a long long time. Teen Demon is such a smart chickie, she absolutely wears the same dress more than once. Not in a row, but she gets her $$ worth.

They had a good time (I guess) -- the highlight for the son was going to Applebees afterward with Teen Demon and her friends. He got to hang out with the big kids, and after midnight, too! It was nice, because it's their last and only year in the same school since we came back to the states.

I did one homecoming and no proms in school. Your high school date sounds like a real prize, ha!

Doralong said...

I feel your pain, really I do! Miss Thing is getting ready for Homecoming on Saturday- thankfully she got mom's shopping gene and always takes her time and scores the major deal. But the drama of accessories? OY!!

Elizabeth said...

Cowbell: Ouch! $160 and it wasn't even a suit! That completely sucks. Yeah, my prom date was a prize. But, come to think of it, I can be happy in knowing that I ruined his fantasy, which probably involved a hotel room, too. There's a smile!

your kids prom sounds quite sweet, though.

Doralong: Yeah, you think it's going to be the dress that kills you, but that other stuff sneaks up on you.

BigAssBelle said...

I don't know exactly what they expected, but it wasn't provided by lovely dresses and fifteen-year-old dorks.

. . . the life of the mind meets life on the ground. such dissonance. poor little twin angels, must have been hard for them to go, as princesses, to a simple school prom with decidedly non-princelike boys.

and ooooooooh! YUCK is right. what a pig.

but hey, you got a tiara and that means everything!

Elizabeth said...

Yes, that's true. It's not often a girl gets a tiara. That does pretty much outweigh everything else, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

I thought I was the only one with a bad experience. SIGH my religious parents never let me go. We had ONE school dance - no two - I'm not from the USA or Asia - and I wasn't allowed to either & years later I still feel like maybe I missed out on something really amazing but hmmm maybe I didn't.

Elizabeth said...

Trust me, your imagination of it is far more perfect than any reality of it could have been! But it would have been nice for you to find that out for yourself.