“Hookers on parade!” was my first thought last Saturday evening when John and I went to dinner to celebrate our wedding anniversary. My second thought was that he’d probably love a hooker for a present – he’s stood by me for 23 years!!!! Then I noticed that their escorts looked so young, and then it hit me: Prom Night! That magical night when young girls lose their virginity and wonder how sex ever got so highly rated.
I can't get my head around this question: where were these girls’ parents when they sauntered out of the house with backless dresses that displayed their butt cracks, frocks from which their breasts were spilling, clothing leave nothing to the imagination? One girl wore a black beaded dress so tight that it was painful watching her pretend to eat. It was also so short that her boyfriend dropped his fork repeatedly and had to crawl under the table to retrieve it. I'm kidding about the last part.
I read recently that girls spend an average of $537 to attend prom. Holy cow! When I went to prom in 1948, it and all other major events, including circumcisions, were held in gymnasiums that were decorated with loving hands. They still looked really tacky during the day, but on prom night they were transformed into a magic world filled with eager young bodies wildly gyrating. A few adults hung out, pretending to have fun, their beady eyes scanning for not only dirty dancers, but also pints of peach brandy stuffed into jacket pockets. They were called chaperons.
I must digress a moment because I know my fans will love this: I was too physically challenged to make cheerleader, but I was president of the Pep Club my senior year! So I was one of those who got out of class to decorate the gym, even though my idea of decorating is putting baskets everywhere into which to dump all the crap that accumulates when you live with a husband, two children, two dogs and an aversion to cleaning house that borders on phobia. My job as I saw it was constructive criticism, as in "that chain you just made from construction paper looks like shit." The main thing I remember about being in the Pep Club (besides having an excuse to use the car for our important business and games, even on school nights), is that we dressed like the first picture I ever saw of the Duggars: red polyester vests over white shirts. Woof, woof.
Another memory I have failed to repress: our theme was “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters. Gag me with a spoon! They were that All American brother and sister duo whose careers soared until Karen Carpenter literally starved herself to death. For those of you who haven’t heard this song, please don’t look it up and taunt me with a rendition every time I see you. Yes, Billie, I am talking to you.
The band to which we danced was the Bobby Blue Bland Band (not too shabby – he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981). I attended the prom with my boyfriend in a white pantsuit my mom made; only the skanks had their naughty bits on display. David and I might have lasted, had he not started writing me letters during my first semester in college informing me that he'd found Jesus and that both he and Jesus had my number.
No doubt a few all-night parties at some one's house were held, and a few rich kids probably rented a hotel suite and partied all night. Most of us went “parking” – free of charge – and had to be home by curfew. The thought of even mentioning a co-ed all-night event to my father would have invoked sheer terror. I read some advice the other day: if your child asks to attend a "couples" all-night prom party, don't panic! Say "Great! You won't mind if I call Jane's mom to confirm!" Yeah, as long as you call her before 7:30 p.m. because if she's the kind of parent who wants to host an all-night party for randy teenagers, chances are she drinks a lot. And has a boyfriend named Thor who likes to take "art" pictures.
I'm sure my girls' prom night will be just another episode in the memoir they are already collaborating on, the working title being "Lousy Mother." I imagine them ditching the tasteful dresses I bought at Goodwill and changing into a skimpier version of the green dress above. Of finding them and their 36-year old boyfriends at 3 a.m. in the parking lot of EZ Mart, reclining on Harleys, a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Me once again ruining a good time and costing them the loves of their lives.