26 April 2011

Prom Primer

(did someone do this last year? Seems they might have, but THIS year, my daughter has been talking to me on it...)

In my world, there are only two topical events yesterday (well, three, if you count that my daughter turned 16 yesterday and is now begging for a car—but that is only HER... I mean mass topical events)

The first is that TODAY is the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Semi-final announcement... I have a book up for either the boot or passing on and it's possible I'm a little punchy. If you are remotely interested in reading my excerpt, you can see it here.  You will need a Kindle, but Kindle for the PC is free. And then you need to 'buy' the book for $0.0 (and you may roll your eyes at that. I did).

But the OTHER big news, is PROM!!!

Now Prom is a US phenomenon, so if you are lucky enough to live somewhere else, you may just look at this as an excuse to mock us. But for most American Girls (and by American, I mean United Statesian, because that is how we see it in the US *cough*) there is a coming of age event in high school... it goes something like this:

Daughter wants red (you can buy here)
WHAT is Prom? Basically, it is a formal dance... almost a ball... it is the substitute because we don't do debutante balls (in most parts of the US) and only some subset gets quinceneros (certainly not American mutts like us). So for seniors in high school (and those lucky enough to be their dates) there is a huge-deal fancy, formal wear dance.

WHEN: May, typically, though there are a few schools who edge into April or June. Oddly, this is a BEFORE graduation event.

WHERE: Ah, yes... well this would be the question, eh? It could be anywhere from a fancy ballroom somewhere to the high school gym (where my own was)--it depends on how much money the class putting it on has earned and how they've prioritized their spending. There are competing events like graduation, graduation PARTY, class trip, gift to the school... lot of stuff competing... and not all classes are great fund-RAISERS...

Rent your limo here!
HOW: See, now HERE there is great variety. I didn't have any IDEA how great a variety until I got to a city... there are kids who RENT LIMOUSINES for Pete's sake... My daughter assures me it is a LONG dress affair (I think there was a time in between my youth and now when short but super fancy would pass—daughter says short will pass for homecoming, but NOT prom). There is a nice dinner out... usually a party afterward...

The Tradition: There is LORE about the land that PROM is when one should lose one's virginity. Girls are said to fantasize about this... As your resident Tart, I am here to say THIS IS A BAD IDEA. I'm not some prude who thinks we should all wait until we are married (I think this thinking leads to the DISASTROUS END of early marriage—the STUPIDEST thing someone could do with their life... I think marriage should NEVER happen until you are your full self, which is several years AFTER your highest education... this would mean a PhD delayed sex until near 30—what a WASTE. What I DO think on the matter though, is PROM is surely too early or too late. Translation: No relationship is going to align its timetable with an academic calendar. Sex is a step in a relationship where there should be maturity, trust—that first time is ideally with some level of commitment... those things do NOT line up spring term senior year. So don't plan on this. The date of a dance is a bad reason for this particular step.

However, this is an EXCELLENT device in fiction for explaining some bad YA decision making...

Under no circumstance under creation, though, is Prom ever a good ENDING.  You should NEVER do this.  If you do, we will mock you.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I have a feeling I should bookmark this post for my kids!

And it's a great reminder not to go out driving or to book restaurant reservations in late-April/early May. :)

Hart Johnson said...

Man, no kidding! I've been on business when prom is happening, and they are EVERYWHERE!