Ah, spring. That glorious time when a young man's fancy is naught but from whence he shall venture to college and which chick he'll spend three hours trying to feel up at the prom.
I cannot claim to be an expert on proms. My own prom was marked by a black and purple corseted dress that looked like a costume from a regional theater production of Moulin Rouge and the world's lamest post-prom party at my parent's house. Everybody showed up for twenty minutes to mark that they'd been there, then went to the Holiday Inn on Fuller Road to lose their virginities. And did I mention that my date was the first person in our class to get married without first knocking a girl up? Very good guy, but clearly has a different idea of fun than yours truly.
So while I've only officially attended one prom in my life (there was an incident involving our rival high school's prom, a disposable Polaroid camera and ketchup packets that we'll get into another time), I have some strong opinions about How Today's Youth are Behaving Themselves. Many parents and administrators are concerned with the ostentatious displays of wealth and the immoral behaviors linked to the American teenager's prom experience. However, these issues pale in comparison to the crimes against fashion that many of America's Youth are afflicting upon this once-innocent rite of passage. To wit:
Classic prom picture. The suburban planned community, the young grinning faces, and the insanely bright colors straight out of a severe acid trip. Please particularly note the purple peacock strutting her tailfeather in the middle of the picture, and the orange-clad lass on the right, who seems to be channeling the Infanta of Spain by way of Jessica McClintock. Some work better than others, but the general impression is one of children playing dress-up in a Pretty Pretty Princess kind of way. By the by, this prom's theme was "Midnight in Manhattan." I can think of no better way to express a misapplied yearning for sophistication and glamour.
I don't know this girl's name, but since they're in Tennessee and her hair is rivaling the Smokies in both height and resistance to the elements, I'm calling her Candee. I thought about Candi, but that's a little too stripper for this girl. She's too classy to be a stripper, though she will undoubtedly wind up as That Girl in her pledge class at UT.
I show you Candee and her date for several reasons. One, her date is wearing a white tuxedo that he has coordinated with Candee's dress. Dude, no one looks good in a white tux, and adding a blue satin bowtie does not make your ensemble anything short of a long national nightmare. Not okay. Two, I'm not sure what Date is doing with his tongue, but for Candee's sake I hope it isn't supposed to be practice for later. Three, Candee is borderline guilty of Classic Prom Sin #2: Dressing way too old for her age. The only thing worse than playing Pretty Princess Dress-up at prom is showing up looking like a thirtysomething woman in a too-tight dress who is hollerin' at the bartender for another whiskey. Why do these beautiful girls insist on showing up at the most photographed event of their young lives looking like old whores?
Christ on a bike. How does one so young look so defeated by life already? The tatooes, the cutouts, the expression that clearly says "aw yeah, that was me blowing the DJ in the bathroom just now." Talk about old whore. No wonder she could only get an Ionic column as her prom date.
Sometimes a girl can do everything right for her prom. Tasteful, age-appropriate dress, simple but lovely hair, cute friends to flatteringly flank her in photos...
And then her date watches Swingers and suddenly fancies himself to be Vince Vaughn circa 1995. Classic Prom Sin #3: Men in ill-advised hats.
Did you ever wonder if, had Britney Spears waited a few years to do that whole huge superstar thing, what her senior prom would have been like? Does it help to know that you'll never have to now?
I love how the girl at the end is all smiling "yeah, NOW you think this is the most magical night of your life... just wait nine months, girl."
Not all prom attire is tragic and laughable. Take this pair. Gorgeous. Way to go, kids. Classy, age-appropriate yet mature, tasteful and lovely. And you're both ridiculously good looking. I'm so proud. Younglings, THIS is how you do prom.
But don't worry, I'll let you go with one last cautionary tale:
UGH. That bracelet could not be uglier! What is it made of, Fruit Roll-Ups? And who the hell wears a bracelet on their bicep? And he's wearing JEANS to a formal event! The horror.
There's something else going on here too, but I just can't quite put my finger on it.