Tuesday, 12 July 2011

School Proms? Nah, they'll never catch on . ..

As with every parent of teenage children these days I have had to become acquainted in recent years with something that seemed totally alien to my own school experience - the prom.

When I was growing up the prom was just some impossibly glamorous American concept where impossibly glamorous young Americans attended a glittering event which was a million miles away from the end of school disco some of us can vaguely remember.

As such when the proms first started to appear in this country I think, like probably a lot of people, I was somewhat cynical about them. And I was pretty adamant that they would be just a passing fad.

But how wrong I was.

Over the past couple of years I have seen my own children go to proms at the end of their fifth form and sixth form (or in 'new money' Years 11 and 13) and we are all now surely familiar with the sight of hundreds of local teenagers dressing up for these big nights out.

My two children certainly approached their proms somewhat differently. My daughter planned hers seemingly months ahead and everything had to be right - the dress, the hair, the method of arrival. It was like a military operation - which seems quite apt as people have been known to turn up to these things in tanks (where on earth did they find them)?

By way of a comparison, my son informed me at the end of last week that he had a Year 13 prom he was going to - and it was in 48 hours. There then followed a dramatic scramble in Bath and beyond to try and find a suit for him. You would think this wouldn't be so hard but it seems every school in Bath and Wiltshire is having proms at the moment and every cheap and cheerful suit was already snapped up by sensible people who probably gave their parents more than a day's notice.

Eventually I did find one - literally the last one in the shop hiding behind many bigger sizes - and my son was suitably suited and booted and ready for his prom night.

The fact that it took place on what I ironically would call a school night means I had a bleary-eyed trip to work the following day after picking him up late but I didn't mind because I know he had a great time. And considering the last time we had been out together he had been practically rolling in Glastonbury mud, he didn't half look smart.

Of course, as I eluded to earlier, this is all light years away from when I hung up my chalk board.

I do have that vague memory of that end of school disco but it is so vague it may just be an implanted memory because it would be sad to admit my school days had ended in a whimper rather than a bang.

To be fair though, discos when you are 16 or 18 were pretty stressful affairs. If I was offered the top prize in this week's Euro millions if I revisited the agonising, humiliating moments of the 'last dance at a teenage disco', I would seriously have to think about it. What an ordeal of tension and unfulfilled ambition that could be!

I dare say that similar agonies happened at all our local proms this week but at least most young people faced them after a good meal and in a nice dress or suit.

And life always seems better after being in a tank.

No comments: