My junior prom dress was purchased in Florida while on vacation visiting my Grandma Dutton. It was a pale pink, Southern number with sleeves I wore off the shoulder and a hoop skirt. It had a bow in the back and little bows all around the bottom. It was the most gorgeous dress I had ever seen. It was 1984 perfection, and I had to have it. I couldn’t begin to tell you what was spent on that dress; only that it was, at the time, a boatload of money. And, since shoes, a shawl, pearls-both necklace and earrings, and a hoop to go under the skirt of the dress were also purchased, I suspect my grandmother helped to pay for it all.
At my grandmother’s insistence, I paraded that dress all around the retirement community she lived in, and I remember all of the little old ladies squealing with delight at the sight of me. The phone tree was a buzzing that day.
The dress was temporarily lost with the rest of our luggage on our flight home from vacation, but it made it’s way back to me in time to accompany my poofy hair and my horrible vacation tan lines while standing proudly next to my terrified date.
A few weeks ago, over Easter, I was shocked to discover that my parents still had the dress stored in the same basement closet where our cat had kittens when we were kids. I pulled the dress out enthusiastically, at half past midnight, from where it was stashed between letterman jackets and cross country skis, with Hayden at my elbow, and demanded she try it on.
She gasped when I handed her the hoop for underneath. She tried her best not to bust out laughing, but she couldn’t help it, she’d never imagined such a thing let alone been asked to try it on. By her nostalgia crazed mother. In the literal middle of the night.
The dress fit her. Almost perfectly.
It was a completely surreal moment. I wish two things here: 1) that either of these photos had a decent background, and 2) that I had photographed her from the side because seeing my baby in that dress, that full circle moment, caused two distinct thoughts/emotions/epiphanies within me:
- My baaybee is wearing my prom dress. *sob* Blah, blah, blah…
- Holy cats! I was skinny in high school.
Prom is a much bigger deal now than it was when I was in high school. Of course, there has always been pressure on the girls to find the perfect dress. But, now, there is tremendous pressure on the boys to create the perfect promposal.
Gone are the days of walking up to the girl you like in a study hall or the cafeteria and simply asking her to accompany you to the prom. No longer good enough. Now, the boy must propose a date to the prom. And, that’s not all. Nope. It has to be a grand gesture; or, at the very least, it must be unique, it can’t be repeated, copied, or in any manner related to any other couple’s promposal.
Hayden and a group of friends had planned to attend prom together, sans boys, and have fun dancing the night away. Slowly, but surely, those friends began to receive their promposals, and the group was diminishing rapidly. She was playing it cool, but I could tell that she was getting anxious, perhaps wondering if she was going to be the only one remaining, perhaps frustrated that the friends were changing the plan.
And, then this happened:
Many, if not most, promposals happen at school in front of crowds. This would have horrified my Hayden. Instead, he chose the weekend under the guise of hanging out with friends. Perfect.
His name is Justin. He was waiting for her when they pulled up. He gave her flowers-roses and sunflowers, her favorites-and he defaced his father’s truck in order to ask her to the prom.
She’s no longer playing it cool; it’s exactly what she wanted all along.