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Sunday, 1 June 2014

Monthly Musing - June 2014 - Prom night

At the end of this month, all of big daughter’s exams will be over and she will be looking forward to the next event on her calendar – her school Prom.

I have to say, I’ve been a bit cynical about this whole Prom thing.  My school never had anything like a Prom (or even a disco, come to that), and as far as I’ve always been able to see, it’s something brought over from America in another attempt to turn a simple leavers’ disco into a commercial event.  What do they need a Prom for anyway?  Big daughter has listened patiently to my mutterings, reminded me on a regular basis that we need to buy a dress (politely declining my offer to make one!) and squabbled with friends at school over how they’re going arrive at the venue in suitable style (a limo is required, apparently).

I resisted dress-shopping for as long as I could until finally, in February, I thought we’d better go and take a look.  And just in time, it turns out.  Wow! The Prom dress business is big business, possibly even equal to the wedding dress business, and if you’re buying an off-the-peg dress and need it altering or making in a different size, you’ve got to get in early or there’s no choice or time to get it altered.  Naturally, all of this confirmed my cynicism – and also changed my mind.

We were lucky – we found The Dress in the second shop we visited and watching big daughter trying it on and seeing her face change as she saw herself in the mirror brought home to me just what a milestone a Prom is for a teenage girl.  I saw it again this week when we went back to the shop for a fitting; five other teenaged girls stood in their sparkling finery waiting patiently for the seamstress and although their dresses needed taking up here or taking in there, they clearly all felt like princesses.

And that, I realised, is the point.  In this age where our children are encouraged to grow up too quickly, most girls want to play at being princesses for only a short time.  Disney does its best to perpetuate the princess ideal, but by the time our girls are teenagers they are caught up with other distractions and princesses, like fairies and unicorns, are left far behind.  From September, life will be different for big daughter.  She’ll be off to sixth-form college, will make new friends and her next goals will be A levels and university.  She will “put away childish things” as the Bible says, and there will be fewer moments to remember what it’s like to want to be a princess.  It’s important that we all cherish those moments when we can, and for that reason, I take back all of my mutterings and wish that perhaps my school had had a Prom after all.

6 comments:

  1. Kids grow up to fast, what a fantastic read x

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  2. I'm a bit of a Prom cynic too. I wasn't fussed about proms when I was a teenager. My Mum DID make my dress though and it was an ok evening. I wasn't in the IN crowd, so it was a bit intimidating. I can't he but think its an American import. But you've made me think about it a bit differently - I suppose it is a rite of passage for some young women.

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    1. I know what you mean, Jen; I was never part of the in-crowd either, and I wasn't very comfortable in my own skin when I was sixteen so I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the whole experience, but it's nice to be able to enjoy it vicariously now! xx

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  3. I am of the same mind set - never thought of it like that, but don't have a daughter and son left school before any of this American importation! I see the way your mind has changed and I think the dress is a huge step and can see how good it will make a girl feel, but I think it is wrong to put pressure on parents by this introduction of the 'must have' limousine. What about the kids whose parents can't afford one, whilst they might stretch to a dress?

    I hated our school dance we had with the local Grammar School boys, as I was very shy (yes) and wore glasses so felt self conscious.

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    1. I know exactly what you're saying - big daughter and I have had the same conversation. Can't imagine you were ever shy from the way we chatted at Black Sheep! :-) xx

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