Wednesday, October 12, 2011

WACKY WEDNESDAY....Proms and other parental nightmares

Tonight's listen:  "Midnight Romeo" courtesy of Push Play
"...tonight's a big night so let's make history"....."tonight your dinner's free - what's in it for me?"

Any parent break out in a cold sweat over those lyrics? 

Fall brings leaves tumbling to the ground, school bells ringing, football games and dances on the weekends. Homecoming parades roll down Main Street with floats holding boys in Letterman jackets and cheerleaders shaking pom-poms. (If you missed my post a couple of weeks ago about my embarrassing attempt to become a "pom-pom" shaker on my guest blog at I'll have to repost it sometime for kicks *ha!* Right up there with my old post on most embarrassing dates.)

The season also kicks off the dance season for the teens and another wallet draining event for parents. Just as you get the school fees paid, the clothes paid for, and the "rules" reinforced again, along comes the invitation to "prom," usually in some creative or outrageous form. One year, one of my twins froze their answer to a girl's request for a prom date (my how times have changed) in the middle of a block of ice, then left it on her doorstop to melt. However, beyond the formals, the corsages, pictures and fancy dinners, follows the true anticipation behind prom night. I went to dinner with friends the other night and the idea for this blog presented itself, all wrapped up in satin ruffles and penguin suits.


Girls spend weeks preparing. Shopping for just the right dress, matching shoes, trying out different hairstyles and hitting the tanning beds for that all over "golden glow." A minimum of three hours is needed to get ready. Phone calls or text messages bombard the airways with pictures awaiting valued opinions of those going through the same transition process.

Boys, on the other hand, concentrate their efforts on the "mode of transportation" versus the human. The car is washed, waxed, and the wheels shined to glint off light bright enough to rival the noonday sun. But the inside of the car is where acute attention is delivered. Floor mats and seats are vacuumed, the dash wiped, and the instrument panel polished to a high sheen. And, last but most important, the right air freshener is chosen. The one to set the mood.

That's right. The mood. A boy's car is his "lair." While he's cleaning the seats he's picturing it reclined with his date hopefully receptive to all the moves he's been calculating and discussing with his buds over the past week. Girls primp to catch the eye of their beau while the boys primp their lair.

Thirty to forty-five minutes is spent showering, shaving, "smelling the pits" before buttoning up the shirt and shrugging into the tux jacket. A once over to make sure the hair swings the right way and a crooked smirk to the reflection in the mirror with a pep talk. "Oh, yeah. She's gonna want you tonight." A slap of aftershave on the neck, the corsage from the fridge (the one Mom picked out, because face it, guys could care less), and a few annoying pictures, then he's out the door. The night is his. The seduction starts the moment the engine starts.

As we sat at dinner with our friends, we watched the long table next to us, bustling with "prom dates." Talk about an entertaining evening and the best research for this young adult fiction writer on watching the body language, listening to the chatter, and taking a few moments to walk down memory lane. We talked about our own prom experiences, laughing at the disastrous ones, but all agreeing…the expectation of Prom night was the real buzz. Not the dance. Filled with so much anticipation, the air crackled with it. Just as it did tonight.

We watched the girls chatter noisily, fussing with their dresses, and the boys with their arms draped lazily over their dates shoulders, catching glimpses of cleavage thinking no one noticed. Talk about hilarious and sweet at the same time. We waited along the wall outside the restaurant, watching the couples emerge to see if the personalities matched the cars. Hubby wanted to see how many had their own and who drove "Daddy's" rig. Proof that the "car"…the "lair" still takes priority in the male mind, even umpteen years later.

Out of the ten couples who entertained us through dinner, we figured two of those couples were on first dates, walking awkwardly together, the girl hanging back a step or two. Another four couples held hands, but remained stiff in their body language. A kiss goodnight was all "stud" was going to get, regardless of how many air fresheners hung from the cigarette lighter.

But, there were two or three couples who out "peacocked" the rest. The girls flounced just so, never allowing more than a couple of inches of air space to flow between their bodies and their dates. The boys lopsided grins tipped to match a wicked glimmer in their eyes, their hands never leaving the body of the girl…placed at the small of the back, snugging a waistline, or their fingers twisting in the locks of hair cascading down their dates back while she giggled with a girlfriend. All "signs of seduction" hubby pointed out.

My mind traveled through a time warp, remembering those "signs" and the magic they worked. No, I didn't lose my virginity to a "prom king," but I remember the pimped out lairs now and I laugh out loud, thinking of the disappointed dates I left behind. Of course back in the day (when dinosaurs still roamed the earth) my formals were massive layers of ruffles and strapless gowns were unheard of (my dad would never have let me out of the house in one anyway) so when I sat inside a car I was pretty much protected inside a fluffy pouf that filled the front (or back) seat.

As hubby and friend tallied the "lucky ones" when the last couple left the parking lot, he turned to me and whispered, "So…'Prom Night'? Am I going to get 'lucky'?" I looked at the Harley Davidson, chromed to the max and gleaming in the moonlight. Talk about the perfect "lair"…

No confessions, please, but is there a favorite Prom Night that sticks in your head? A disastrous one that makes you laugh? How about all the "lairs" you rode in (or still are) during your dating years? Face it girls, the "car" got your attention. Guys knew what they were doing.

Hope I didn't worry too many parents out there. Yes, my mind also flashed to a couple of prom dresses my daughter talked me into buying and the way my boys pimped out their own "lairs" for dances. I tried not to linger on those thoughts for long. Yikes! But I hope you had fun walking through a couple memories. Come back next week where I'll blog about the reasons we (or at least I did) fall for guys and how many more times than not, it has nothing to do with the guy! 

As always, thanks for making the pit stop on your way to Thursday.  Joelene (I lost Harley Brooks to the first heartthrob driving a souped-up "lair!" A Camaro, I believe.....)

Today's thought:  Stop looking over your shoulder as you walk through life, watching the "what could have been." You might walk off a cliff and miss the "what could be" all together.


ladystef said...

Talk about memories and total fear, I still have kids who have yet to go through this ritual.

PJ Sharon said...

This was fantastic, Jolene. You captured the mood and motivation perfectly. What a hoot!

Sadly I missed out on all of that fanfare for myself. My mother died of cancer when I was sixteen and I was pregnant my junior year of highschool. Prom was way down my list of priorities.

Never fear, my story--after much drama and hard knocks--worked out fine and eighteen years later I got to enjoy the prom experience with my son, who totally pimped out his "lair" for his prom and looked incredibly dashing in his tux!

And I get to re-write history on the pages of my novels. On Thin Ice, my YA novel coming out in December is about a girl who loses her mom to cancer and gets pregnant at seventeen. Thanks to my life experiences, I can write those hopefully ever after endings and show teens that there is life beyond the drama of surviving their youth.

J. Coleman said...

You're a true example of turning negative to positive. Your Heaven's for Heroes (which I'm reading)centers on the impact of tragedy in a young person's life. Glad things are going so well. You'll have to quiz your son about the "car thing." Stef...keep your arms inside the ride until it comes to a full and complete stop. Thanks ladies!

Jenny said...

As always you have a natural talent for bringing both the past and present to life.
I can totally relate to the ball of fluff-dress. ROFLMAO as I recall my own Cinderella dress and the BIG hair of the eighties.

Thanks for the memories.

Jenny K

Calisa Rhose said...

I guess you could say I was spared the fear for one of my daughter's prom night. She was already married for a whopping three months-- and I kept their two month old baby while they went to the dance. Talk about odd circumstances.

J. Coleman said...

Yikes! Talk about life altering... One fear traded for another. Picture the dad cleaning his guns when daughter's prom date arrives...a scene taken from my house.

Nina Pierce said...

I love teenagers, they're so fun to watch. Mr. Nina and I dated all through high school. Let's just say we were holding hands on our way out of our proms. *vbg*

Great post.

Loretta said...

Well, heck! I'm late for prom! Sigh, does that make me fashionably late, or outrageously blonde?
I loved every inch of this. I let my mind run free and drift back in time:) It was delightful:)...all of it, from purchasing the dress and heels, to stepping out the front door and entering the lair:)
Thank you, for the memories:)

J. Coleman said...

I believe being outrageously blonde could earn you a "free pass."

consuetudinis magna vis est said...

Thank you, for the memories!