I’m the generation where Prom was only the stuff of American movies. We all knew what Prom was all about, getting a date, being prom princess, wearing a corsage and spending hours choosing a dress. We grew up on Grease – who can’t do the hand jive? and Back to the Future – Marty McFly and his guitar solo !! and as for Carrie…..talk about when Prom goes terrifyingly wrong (warning – watch from behind the safety of cushions). For those really wealthy young English ladies, there was always a debutante ball, a truly antiquated custom for the elite few and hardly a feather in the cap for a modern young lady…let’s have a look if your face and figure match up to your family bank balance and if they do, quick let’s get married and create a dynasty!
No, we got an end of year disco in the school hall if we were lucky and as I attended an all girls school it was always an event where teachers never needed to contain unfettered teenage hormones on the rampage seeking a mate for the last dance. Naturally there was the tension of dreaded girl rivalry that only seems to have got worse thanks to Instagram and social media pressure. We’d see who’d been to Top Shop (yes it did exist then!) or who’d been to Chelsea Girl and Miss Selfridge. But as for the rituals of today, we didn’t have a clue. False nails were only worn by trashy barmaids, St. Tropez was where the posh girls went skiing each year and you only had your hair professionally ‘put up’ if you’d been asked to be a bridesmaid at a family wedding where you knew the additional consequence was you’d be wearing a vile, frilly, pastel coloured, satin dress you’d rather not be caught dead wearing!
It’s been a marvel to watch as year after year another US tradition takes hold here in good old blighty just in time to catch both my teenage daughters in its claws thanks to Hannah Montana and High School Musical and I’ll be honest, I’ve loved it. It’s really like a mini wedding, choosing a dress, sorting out hair and make up and transport and in a world of jeans and trainers for EVERY occasion, it’s nice to see them glam it up a bit. The school hall has been sidelined, so much glamour can no longer be contained in a parquet covered rectangle that smells of teenage boys and old trainers, oh no, now the local country houses and hotels do a roaring trade in providing a more luxurious Prom venue. Thank god, they had all decided that limo’s were just too last year, too mainstream, honestly, just too chavvy….little do they know what the bloody things cost, so actually picking on the dad’s with the flash cars was an easy option ! Of course nowadays I read that weddings are on the decline and at an all time low so we mums’ need to expect that we might never get to enjoy wedding planning and all the thrills that go with it. (Still we can probably go on a world cruise with the money we’ll all save by avoiding a white wedding !)
But what about we LCAs ? We would have loved a Prom, we still love dressing up, we still need no excuse for a party and so indeed, it was party animal Varsha and her 50th birthday party to the rescue, boldly titled, ‘Because we never had Prom’. A chance to tick off a thing I’d never done before. As an added bonus, we went as a family so my beautiful daughters got a second go at Prom. Our local golf club was the chosen venue, decorated in Prom finery ( with a few 50 balloons added for good measure ). We dusted off high heels, we unwrapped long dresses (Ok we bought new ones). I should like to clarify at this point that the last long dress I wore was too big for me !! I changed my earrings, trust me, this is a major event. My little diamond studs never leave my ears, I’m surprised they somehow haven’t become one with my ears, I literally take them out for nothing. I actually borrowed my elder daughters Prom earrings, nice to think they’ve had two outings to a Prom …..she borrowed my silver heels, so all is fair!
The hubster dusted off his tux (aarrgghh no) too much of these ‘americanisms’, he dusted off his dinner suit, it’s a dinner suit, not a tuxedo. Tuxedo to me just screams pastel flares and a frilly shirt. He proudly also found it too big. Still it was passable and he looks a dapper chap when scrubbed up, a more than suitable Prom date.
We danced across the generations, there’s nothing better than to delight in the sheer look of horror on your teenagers faces as you dance and sing full throttle to Guns and Roses, The Timewarp, Bon Jovi and so many more classics of our youth. I stayed in my heels all night and didn’t dance around a single handbag. Still, I have to stay in my heels these days or my beauties make me look like a middle aged midget! I drank vodka (and coke) ….a nod to the youth of today who seem to get through a bottle of vodka like it’s lemonade. I’m sure if we’d had Prom back in the day we’d have been giddy on Diamond White or Malibu and Pineapple. We middle aged folk buy a bottle of vodka at Christmas and it lasts until the following year. It’s a treat, not a nightly essential.
There was a sweet shop, there was a buffet, Varsha was the Prom Queen, in fact, there were the essentials of every good Prom. My head span, my feet hurt, I went home with my Prom date ! Another 50in50 experience down, around 40 more to go.