Sunday, February 22, 2015

Promises, Promises: Junior Prom, Part 1

As my constant kvetching has told you (over and over and over again), we are in the throes of some serous winter weather here in the greater Boston area. Besides the snow as high as an elephant's eye (if that elephant was standing on a second story balcony, maybe), we've had frigid temperatures. Today, it's actually going to be in the mid-30s. First time in three-plus weeks. But, it will drop into the single digits again tonight and tomorrow, and by Tuesday with the windchill, we're looking at negative numbers.

Southern Florida has never sounded better to me. Then again, the temperature there has dipped below freezing too.

Nevertheless, the girls in my daughter's high school class have been showing some skin lately. Quite a bit of it.

Oh sure, they're wearing Uggs and down jackets and — miracle of miracles — even hats, scarves and gloves. But, once they're safe at home, they're posting selfies in strapless dresses and slits up to you-know-where.

Why? The answer is simple; in fact, it's a four-letter word.


As a mother, I naturally want my daughter to have everything I never had. Well, my urban, rather nerdly — and proud of it — high school in Manhattan certainly didn't have a prom. We did have a senior party at some club downtown. I went with one of my besties and wore a yellow jumpsuit with huge sharp shoulder pads and a wide black patent leather belt (it was 1980 and I was so new wave — the outfit was later affectionately referred to as the "taxicab"). Senior celebration aside, it was so not a prom. The handful of girls who brought dates from their neighborhoods were the exception, not the rule.

But, it didn't bother me that I never had a prom. Just like it didn't bother me that we didn't have a football team or cheerleaders. 

Here in our comfortable little suburb, my daughter is participating in more, shall we say, traditional high school rituals. A highlight of last semester was the annual "Powder Puff" game. (A thoroughly dated and demeaning event, IMHO. By all means, don't get the feminist mother from New York City started.) And, in just a little over two months ... Junior Prom.


As I've already mentioned, I can't draw from personal prom experience, but I can imagine that the age of social media has drastically changed how girls prepare. It starts months in advance. Some enterprising juniors have created a (private) Facebook page. Girls join and then post pictures of the dresses they're considering. There seems to be some sort of first-come/first-served honor system involved. Once you post a picture and assert that it is the dress, your dress, no one else is supposed to buy it. It's also an opportunity for you to elicit feedback if you haven't quite made up your mind.

We hear a lot about how mean teenagers, especially teen girls, can be online. But all of the comments on the Junior Prom Dress page have been super supportive. "Cute!" "Great color!" "Omg, love it!" I'm hoping that this is how they all truly feel and how they all truly interact. (I'd hate to learn later that there is some sister site on which the cool girls trash the dresses of the un-cool.)

After much consideration — and some back and forth with her friends/fashion consultants — my own daughter has finally ordered a dress. It's one-shouldered, which made her parents very happy (and I think will make her more comfortable that evening as well). It's a brilliant blue with some bling on top. We tracked the shipping this morning and it should arrive tomorrow.

Yes, we're looking forward to it.

Yes, I'll post a story once we know how it looks.

And, no, I'm not living vicariously.

Well, not much.

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