Because all good things mercifully come to an end

April 28, 2011

It’s usually known as a rite of passage. Prom night for juniors and seniors in high school ranks right up there with what follows later, a midlife crisis.

Just kidding, of course; for most parents, this social event signals the start of the recognition their children deserve for their hard work and tenacity to reach the end of high school. And the midlife crisis comes much later; that would be after you spent your money to put one of them through law or medical school, only to have them leave to fulfill their real dream, setting up an herb farm in Vermont.

Prom night is a classic time to dress up and socialize in a way that deviates from the everyday humdrum of classes, sleeping and plagiarism.

Well, here I am speaking mostly of my family; there are families that have children who actually show up for their classes and get awards and stuff like that. This week I really enjoyed looking at the photographs of all the grandchildren and their friends decked out for this main event. Photography is big for proms. Most of the time, you end up with more pictures of the young couple under a fake arch of flowers than you have from your own wedding.

These are the same photographs that you will keep in your garage for the next 20 years, where they will endure water stains, oil smudges and an unknown animals’ teeth marks.

Never under any circumstance throw them away. Because these are the same photographs your children will ask for after that 20-year storage and then go into a snit when you question whether you still have them. By the way, that goes for most of their other things also.

The prom outfits today are a lot different than when I attended back in the early 1960s. For one thing, we had more material in our dresses. I actually wore a multi-tiered dress that resembled a wedding cake.

For authenticity, I also had a fake plastic tiara atop my head, much like the queen of England, only mine was made of rhinestones.

Never fear, I had it covered; I also matched this with fake plastic high-heeled shoes that had a strip of rhinestones running up the ankle; well, that is, until my date stepped on them, sending most of the stones into the punch bowl.

It was a classic ‘60s prom outfit that still sends my grandchildren into hysterical laughter, rolling on the floor and gasping for breath.

I’m not sure where the dress material was on the girl’s dress I saw in this year’s photographs. Between backless, strapless and let’s not forget slit up the side, I wasn’t sure whether I was looking at an episode of “Jersey Shore” or times are really so tough, no one can afford fabric anymore.

Sure, the guys were decked out too; in fact they reminded me of those bongo players for Ricki Ricardo at Club Babaloo. But I know that eventually they will find jobs where they say more than, “Follow me to your table,” not that there is anything wrong with that, it’s just that I’ve only experienced their wardrobe consisting of Hawaiian shirts and borrowed shorts that droop to the floor.

Still, it’s a glamorous night, no matter what your taste may be. The one constant about prom night is eventually, chaperones can wipe the sweat off of their foreheads, parents can turn out that porch light and the outfits will endure in your attic or garage until carried off by that unknown animal.

All good things come to an end, mercifully.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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