Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Are You Ready For Some...Excess?!

If you haven’t dined out recently, you may not have noticed that it’s Homecoming Season. Yes, it’s that time of year when you can enjoy your dinner in jeans while the patrons at the table next to you are wearing formal gowns and suits. Last night, at a local restaurant, my family and I had front row seats for this seasonal spectacle. What a sight it was and how different from my high school days.

First, I was pleased to see a group of girls in lovely dresses dining sans dates. I wanted to run up to them and shout: “You go, girls!” How refreshing to see that these young women didn’t need a date to enjoy the dance. As someone who went to an all-girls’ high school and only went to one dance, I found this change to be welcome and long overdue.

Then, there was the traditional table of three couples who hadn’t been clued into the “boy-girl-boy-girl” seating tradition. The girls stuck together and giggled as the boys valiantly attempted conversation while garters cut off the circulation in their arms.

Finally, there was a very unique table of three girls, one boy and a dad. At least I’m pretty sure he was a dad. He had a well-groomed goatee, his suit fit better than the boy’s did, he looked a bit old for high school and I’m pretty sure that his credit card had his name on it. Somewhat surprisingly, the kids seemed OK with him being at the table, rather than awkwardly embarrassed at having to “hang” with a parent.

It’s fun to watch these groups as they embark on their special evenings, but I can’t help but shake my head at the “over-the-top” nature of it all. The dresses that the girls were wearing were spectacular, as were their jewelry and hairstyles. It was hard not to make a mental tabulation of the cost of such an evening. Don’t get me wrong, I love special occasions and I do love my shopping. But I wonder how difficult it will be to top these events as these kids become adults. Will their weddings be a letdown and is the Homecoming dance a breeding ground for future “Bridezillas”?

My son’s high school had a tradition for their winter dance. The boys would take the money that would be used for tux rental and donate it to a charity. I loved that idea. Why not have the dance, but scale back on the pomp and circumstance and give back a little at the same time? In our culture of more and better, it’s unlikely to be the next big thing, but it’s worth considering. Of course, I'll probably be first in line with my daughter to buy that spectacular dress when her turn comes around. And you are welcome to remind me to eat my words.


At 9:01 AM , Blogger srp said...

Have been through this already.
The key... if you can find a Dillards anywhere, go.... at the end of April, after the prom season. The formal dresses go on sale.... you can get a $200 dress for $40. We hit a final clearance sale when she was a sophomore and got dresses to take care of all formal affairs for the next three years. Some of the girls who are good friends also tend to swap dresses, this helps.

When I was in high school, homecoming meant the big football game. The homecoming court didn't wear formals, it usually was pretty cold. They wore nice suits, A-line skirts and jackets, mostly wool, some turtle neck sweaters underneath. These were worn to the dance as well. The big thing was the corsage... that gigantic mum with the ribbons that streamed almost to the ground, the little football charm attached, the school name and team name in glitter on the ribbon. THAT was the dream of every high school girl.

At 11:39 PM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

I'm glad to hear that they were dressed decently.

I remember one high school dance we went to a movie first. It was "Philadephia." You know, where Tom Hanks was dying of AIDS? Yeah, good times.

Maybe the Dad was also a chaperone at the dance so they were all going together.

At 7:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

the girls chilling together might have been dating amongst themselves! it is 2006, after all...

by the way, i love your blog!

At 9:00 PM , Blogger Jess Riley said...

I remember going "stag" with my girlfriends to our senior homecoming...I also just remembered an awful time when my prom date and I, along with 3 other couples, forgot to tip our waitress after the meal. D'oh!

At 11:24 PM , Blogger kenju said...

I have noticed around here that proms and preparations for them have surpassed all previous ideas of what should happen. Sometimes I think that the parents (mothers) prod it along, living vicariously through their teenage girls. They rent limos and hotel rooms, wear themed formalwear, stay out all night, etc. You are right - they will have very little to look forward to later on in life.

At 5:26 AM , Blogger SB said...

oh my...I remember those days. Homecoming. wow. I haven't thought of that in YEARS.

Remember Prom? Sheesh. I cannot believe how much I spent on that! I got three jobs my junior year to start saving for THE DRESS. I spent the modern day equivilent to 2 car payments on that dress. I spent more at prom than I did at my WEDDING.

Oh the memories...


At 8:47 AM , Blogger Linda said...

We didn't have homecoming (no football team), but we had winter carnival...only the candidates for king and queen dressed up...there was no formal dance. We didn't have a junior prom, there was only ONE formal occasion - the PROM. And no, I did NOT go to my prom. I chose to go to the All-State Music Festival (for which I'd auditioned for 4 years and only made it that last year). I still got to be dressed formally.

I always cheaped out on formal wear though. Even today, having to attend military balls, I look at consignment shops first before i go's just not worth it!!!

At 11:26 AM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

It does seem that as time has gone on everything has gotten 'bigger' and that there is more competition regarding dresses, tux'es, limo's and who knows what else...the money spent beyond the beyond...
I think what they do at your son's school is great...use some of that money for good and where it will mean something for more than one evening!

At 10:09 PM , Blogger moon said...

My daughter HATES to shop...yes I am serious lol...but luckily last May we were actually able to buy her a dress she actually liked..for her to wear to my wedding in June...the even BETTER news is that she will be able to wear the same thing for her graduation dance this yr!!...YAY..
Here via Michele's

At 4:09 PM , Blogger rashbre said...

Its good to have a sense of occasion for some events, whilst still being able to keep one's feet on the ground.

It will be a little sad if all events otherwise bcome 'casual'.

And Hi- Here today from Michele's!


At 8:09 AM , Blogger Prego said...

eh.... Let them dress up. It's kind of a welcome change from pyjama bottoms and sweatpants.


here via michele today

At 8:46 AM , Blogger David said...

so the boy gives to charity, and the girl spends as if thee is no tomorrow. nah - that can't be! but I do like the idea of NOT wearing a tuxedo.
come by and hear the Dr. Stihl show at my place

At 9:53 AM , Blogger -E said...

Heh, my fave tables are the groups that think they are um uh extra worthy and behave like it. I graduated high school 6 years ago and don't remember acting like we owned the world that night. But then, the other high schools called ours a high school for hippies and tree huggers.

Michele sent me.

At 4:20 PM , Blogger utenzi said...

Hi Karen! Michele sent me way up north to see you!

The thought of all the money spent on events like that scares me, Karen. When I was a kid, our first real events were the junior and senior proms. Now it seems like most places have graduation ceremonies from kindergarten on up and many of these involve expensive parties as well. I don't see how people can afford kids! I went to a bat mitzvah a few years back that cost over $20,000...

At 10:43 PM , Blogger The Mistress of the Dark said...

Hello, Michele sent me.

I have to say my child would suffer, if I had one. Because I shudder at the thought of having a dress that costs an arm and a leg hanging in a closet after only one wearing.

i have one that's hanging in a closet but didn't get worn once.

When it comes to Homecoming and Prom...I get very bitter.

At 11:37 PM , Blogger Catherine said...

No homecoming in New Zealand but they do have school dances. At the school two of my daughters went to, most of the dances were themed eg "Wild Things" so many of the girls hired costumes from theatrical costume supply places. But they used to get pretty dressed up for the leavers' ball (where not only the dates but the Dads also wore hired tuxedos - the Dads got to "present" their daughters).
My daughter's dress looked fantastic, I reckon - I sewed it myself. It cost around eighty dollars I think. It was a private school (my daughters had scholarships) and many of the girls had couturier-sewn dresses, none of which I thought looked any better than my daughter's.

Michele sent me.

At 1:09 AM , Blogger margalit said...

I've got two in high school and we don't have anything like this. Just a prom at the end of the year. One for Juniors (which my son is, but he won't even consider going because he's 14 and not in that space yet) and the Senior prom. Around here the kids spend a lot of money on the prom, but they also have a really great program at jewish family and children's services, where people can donate their prom dresses (or any formal dress for bar/bat mitzah, weddings, etc.) and if you donate, you can pick up a dress, too. We donate at least one or two dresses every year, so we have quite a nice collection of formal wear for my daughter already. She's all set for prom!

At 8:35 AM , Anonymous charles ravndal said...

That sounds exciting since I always wanted to be a homecoming queen. lol! Anyway, here from Michele!

At 10:50 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

I like your son's school's approach. It speaks of looking out for others instead of indulging in themselves, and teaches an important life lesson at a critical point in time.

Our kids are still too young for the dance/prom/homecoming thing, but I know it's coming. And your experiences are already being absorbed deep in my brain so that someday I'll know how to navigate it all.

Great to e-see you this weekend, Karen. I've been so busy with work in recent weeks that I've fallen way behind on reading my favorite blogs. I feel like I'm missing out on all the fun!

At 7:32 AM , Blogger kenju said...

Michele sent me back, Karen, and it is fun to read all the comments. I didn't go to my proms, since I was dating a guy who had already graduated and he wasn't allowed there. I thought it was a lousy rule, at the time, but I guess they had a good reason for it.


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