Saturday, May 2, 2009

Helo Mom's Deep Thought of the day...dispatch #27 I said to one of my college friends who tracked me down on Facebook:

"Simple Minds....simpler times."

This was my summation after a long discussion about the upcoming Prom experience.

I sat with another mom at a track meet yesterday and got an earful about what will happen before, during, and after the Prom. The expenses, the expectations, the resort, the limos, the $500 dresses, Armani tuxes, the coed sleepover keg parties that all the "cool" kids have (courtesy of their parents) at various lake houses and hotels owned, rented, and handed over to minors by these consenting adults....

I like this lady quite a bit, so I was stunned when she sat there blithely talking on and on about all of these extravagances as though it were no big deal, it's part of the experience, rite of passage, etc. My jaw was scraping the bleachers and she just laughed at me for being naive about the whole thing. You can call me a lot of things. A Pollyanna ain't one of 'em, however. It just irks me.

What happened to a night at the local banquet hall with a dj, a decent but not haute couture gown, a questionably fitted powder blue rental tux, borrowing Dad's car, and not having sex as a matter of [inter]course before showing up back at home sometime 12-24 hours after the dance ends?

Not that I was a saint by any stretch back in the day, but c'mon! I went to a big suburban high school in a fairly upscale area, and many of us came from well-to-do backgrounds and yet...we worked for and bought (and the more artistic types even made) our own dresses and got our dance tickets with our own money. Limos were an extravagant exception - not a "norm" - and whatever underaged drinking (and more) went on was generally NOT with our parents' blessing. (We had older siblings who came in handy for buying the booze.)

Helllloooooo....PARENTS!?! Maybe instead of enabling and encouraging all this narcissistic, hedonistic behavior, you could be, oh...I dunno, PARENTS...and say no or set some limits for your little darlings? Not that it necessarily worked on us 20+ years ago, but instead of signing on for all of it like this mom did, it stuns me that there is no desire to TRY to be the moral compass for these kids. Being the "cool mom" who spits out $20's like an ATM machine for all this nonsense is so much better.

Thank God my Princess and her teetotalling Athlete are adorable but nerdy not-so-cool kids who plan to be home at 12:30. Seriously. I don't care if they crash out on the couch watching chick flicks or ESPN all night or if he drops her at the door and dashes home, but there's been no question of how the night will go. The kid told me the itinerary, when the dance ends, how far it is from home, and what time they will get back here. The dance is 5 weeks away, and he's got it all planned out without my having had to ask.

Now if we could just find "the" dress.....


Kasia said...

OK, my prom was in 1995 and I was at a large, affluent suburban high school. Maybe this is part of the "bridge" between your prom experience and what this woman expects her child's will be?...

Our high school was in Walled Lake (waaaaayyy western suburb, slightly north). Our prom was in Romeo (waaaayyyy north AND east). I had never heard of Romeo before I found out prom was there, to give you an idea. So it was probably a good thing that my friends and I rented a limo - inexperienced drivers going a ridiculously long, unfamiliar way and all that.

Limos were common but not par for the course. Dresses - it depended on the girl. Mine was a resale shop special, bought by Mom, former bridesmaid dress; but my friend Carrie went in a slinky sequined dress that had to have cost a couple of hundred bucks.

Since the limo picked us all up at one girl's house, I drove my date back to his house. *ahem* There was some delay between arrival and departure, but not inside the house, and certainly not with parental knowledge or approval. *ahem*

No alcohol. I paid my share of the limo. I don't remember if my parents paid for the ticket or not.

My father was pretty much like you describe your parents to be: I'm sure he knew there was potential for trouble, but he trusted me a fair bit, and I wouldn't have had the wherewithal to try to violate his trust too far. I wasn't a saint by any stretch, but I was still a pretty naive 18.

I think the biggest problem is that parents are, as you intimate, just throwing up their hands and saying "They're going to do it anyway." I think the Princess and the Athlete are good examples of the difference when parents have clear expectations and don't just give up.

gemoftheocean said...

I'm with you. Though Kasia does have a point re: perhaps it is not so bad if a bunch of kids share a limo (the cost can't be too bad) then you don't have one of the macho guys trying to impress his "girl" or friends...especially if he bootlegged some liquor.

I think we all know that kid from our graduating class who died doing something stupid in a car within a year of graduation.

But I'm glad those ugly powder blue tuxes are GONE. Burned when the last hippy died, I think. (Thank God. the boys look spiffier now.)