Last week was awesome, but my family’s threatened to disown me if I say one more word about Writer Unboxed. I haven’t exactly been a model of restraint.
For example, if I’m in the kitchen prepping supper, I might just accidentally-on-purpose say something like, “Guess I better…unbox this pasta before I cook it. ” Or at the dinner table: “Pass the…unboksed choi, will ya?” Oy. I’ve definitely crossed the line into obnoxious territory.
But there’s silly-obnoxious and ignorant-obnoxious, and I don’t care to participate in the latter. To that end, another topic’s on my mind today: my daughter’s upcoming gradation ceremony and prom. (By the way, her gorgeous dress already hangs in her closet, and you’ll note, is therefore unboxed.)
When I finished high school, our celebration was divided into two evenings.
First came commencement, which was the occasion to which you invited your parents, siblings and grandparents. Since you played to a friendly crowd, were in a graduating class of 400 and on stage for all of sixty seconds; and since the gown and cap covered a multitude of sins, no one fretted about appearance. It really wasn’t a big deal.
Prom night felt different. Even so, by today’s standards we kept it low-key. Kids did their own makeup and hair, guys purchased suits they’d use in their first job. The privileged kids were distinguished from the rest of us by their rented tuxes and limousines. That was pretty much it. For the most part, kids did the sensible thing: ditched their family as soon as possible and had the decency to drink/screw/die without parental supervision.
I’m being facetious, of course, but the point is the emphasis was on celebration, on peers, and not much on spectacle or expenditure. I’ve been informed that’s “so last millenium.”
These are the current requirements:
1. Grad photos by appointment. In the evening. To the tune of several hundred dollars. (Particularly ironic, given my own recent mental skirmishes about whether to hire a professional for my WU photos.)
2. A special meeting to discuss the parent-organized after-grad ceremony — the kids are bussed to a fenced field and permitted to drink alcohol while under the supervision of parents/paramedics and security.
3. A special trip for the parent to purchase said after-grad tickets and deliver their 3-page legal disclaimer.
4. Commencement ceremony, which will take 4 hours in the auditorium.
5. Appointment with a hairstylist to make plans for Graduation Hair — particularly important if one has curly locks.
6. Consultation with an aesthetician about makeup the evening of the prom so prom attendee and artist can be of one mind about “the look.”
7. A dress that could not possibly cost less than $350-400
8. Accessory shopping.
9. Preparation the evening of the prom, including appointments in #5 and 6.
10. Everyone in the family to attend the dinner before the prom at a cost of $60/person. My daughter knows someone who is taking 18 guests. That’s a lot of freaking money, people. Enough to cover the prostitution fees for a city-level politician for one night.
11. The after-grad party — cost $65
Now, to my skin-flinty eyes, this one amazingly cool milestone in my child’s life has assumed the proportions of a juggernaut wedding. (Probably no surprise to any of you it eclipses my meagre, but much-appreciated, marriage ceremony.)
I know I have different priorities from many and these are different times, so I’m curious about a few things. Please note I’m being very genuine about this; despite my snark above, cleverly designed to pull a few laughs out of you, I seek answers.
Is this the new way of it for all grads, or is this level of expectation peculiar to my daughter’s school or group? If this is the new normal, and some of you have negotiated your way through this, what’s your philosophy on the cost-sharing arrangements of this event? Did you spring for it all? Pay for the essentials and ask your child to cover the rest?
I’d really like to understand the present culture around proms so I have a basis to make some decisions. Halp.
PS: If none of you have tried parenting-by-blogging, what are you waiting for? Doesn’t this look like fun?