It’s time for prom! Get out the breathalyzers and tear gas – Orange County Register

I just saw some Las Vegas lounge singers taking pictures of themselves in the park.

Oh. Wait. They were teenage girls, with proud parents snapping photos before they went to the prom.

I suppose I’m just not with the program, but I fail to see why gorgeous young girls need to dress up like Vegas lounge lizards to go to a school dance. It might bode well for their future careers in, shall we say, personalized customer service, but it’s not a nice look on a teenage girl.

Prom, of course, is a ritual most of us lived through, whether it was because we had a prom date or didn’t have one.  Nowadays, things are very different.

When I went, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, your date bought a pair of relatively inexpensive tickets, you got dressed up, he borrowed a car and you went to the school gym, that had been decorated to the hilt by the official Prom Committee (heavy on the crepe paper), then you went to dinner and an after-party, where there was a possibility of actually having fun.

Nowadays, even to just have the privilege of buying prom tickets, kids must submit their fingerprints to the FBI database, pass a drug test, demonstrate that they got an A on their last math test and pledge to join the priesthood or a convent, depending on gender.

Lord help you if you have a late library book. You’ll be placed on “absolutely no fun for you” list, and banned from attending.

If your child wants to bring a date from another school or, shudder, someone who’s no longer in school, things get much more complicated. They have to do all of the above, prove they’re not on the terrorist watch list, plus have a note from their U.S. Senator that they are of high moral character.

Unless the Senator was convicted of a crime, which isn’t all that unlikely these days, in which case they must get a note from a member of the clergy.

Once the teens have finally secured the necessary security clearances, they have the privilege of spending their entire life savings on a pair of prom tickets, or of persuading their parents to take out a second mortgage on their homes to do so.

My daughter, Curly Girl, forgot to turn in the requisite 40 pounds of paperwork in time one year and was banned from her prom – unfortunately after I’d already shelled out for the dress and all its many accouterments.

On the plus side, it saved me a thousand bucks in additional fees for things like flowers, hair styling and makeup. And there are so many places one can wear a prom dress, that it practically paid for itself. Church, for example, or job interviews. Those plunging necklines and four-inch heels make a big impression on potential bosses.

Nowadays, most proms are held in hotel ballrooms, which are convenient for those who want to slip upstairs and do a little horizontal mambo. As a middle-age journalist, I spend most of my life desperately trying to avoid having to attend events in hotel ballrooms, but at their tender age, it feels exciting.

My senior prom was…

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