Proms and prom arrangements

Was talking to a friend just now who suddenly remembered my birthday. Having seen his picture with his daughter before she left for her prom, we talked about the “arrangements” made for the occasion.

During our time, ergo in the seventies, we chose our own dates – our crushes (bad decision on my part- crash would have been a more apt word) or friends who either drove their own car or had a driver to do so. I chose my crush – I didn’t have too many friends who were male except for my cousins then, being very shy.

Anyway my prom was such a traumatic experience. First of, it should have been in a hotel but months before d-day, Marcos declared martial law so we had it in the house of a friend. The friend came from a huge family (16 children) so their house and garden were big enough to accommodate the seniors and juniors of our school. Note that a batch, say of seniors, numbered 60 or so from two sections total. So maybe there were 120 of us in all plus our dates, ergo 240, give or take a few. I don’t think attendance was perfect.

Do I really have to rehash the trauma?I guess I should to impart a lesson? And perhaps it will have some relevance to how things are done now.

Anyway, at that prom, my classmate and I double dated. Our dates were good friends, hence the fact that it was that classmate and I together with them going to the prom in one car. Her date drove. The three of them picked me up last as I lived in another town and off we went to the party.

Our dates were our crushes; bad decision/choices – I cannot say that more emphatically. Because while they were good looking by our standards, we hardly spoke. My date was shy, I was shy. Days before he had called up to make arrangements and then prom night. Maybe we talked more on the phone than that night. Did we exchange 20 words between us? Likely not

A few hours into the prom, after our dates excused themselves, a classmate approached us that the two had left! As in. I don’t really know how that classmate found out. I think her male cousin had told her.At any rate, the informant told us we could just go home with them in her cousin’s car, so in it on the trip home were her cousin, his date, the informant, her date, and we who had been left in the lurch plus the driver. Luckily cars were bigger then, though I recall it was a squeeze nonetheless. But it meant a ride home so no one was complaining.

As was his wont, my father opened the door for me when I arrived and I told him everything, while eliciting the promise he wouldn’t tell my mother. And in a twist of drama, I had the driver bring the souvenir mug of our prom to the date’s house with a note. I’m glad I don’t remember what I wrote. It must have been emotional? or dry? I don’t really recall. No apology was forthcoming but that night wasn’t the last I saw of that boy. A year later, there was a party in the house and he gate-crashed. The nerve. If I saw him today, what to do? I don’t think I will fret – I really don’t expect to see him to begin with. And I might not even recognize him. That was 40 long years ago. {In defense of myself (sa presinto ba dapat magpaliwanag?) my bad choice was the friend of my cousin who had visited him when he stayed in the house the summer previously, so I didn’t think he’d be a bad sort; plus he was the son of my parents’ friends]

Fast forward to prom circa my son’s time. Maybe 7 years ago. A girl asked son to be his prom date; son returned the favor. Be aghast, alarmed, amused. But see, we didn’t have a driver, we still don’t. So husband and I, and son picked up his date and brought them to the prom site; but, when it was time to go home, I no longer joined them. During the girl’s prom, on the other hand, we got a driver to take them. But we picked them up.  I do recall that in the coffee shop of the hotel where her prom was held, there were parents, even families galore of the young ladies.

Yup, proms had become family affairs. In fact, prior to one prom, we actually witnessed the parents of a girl and the girl (not son’s date) waiting for the prospective date (son’s friend) to arrive at a resto in Shang, so they’d get to know him before prom night.

And the latest I heard (circa 2014), at least in one instance, the boy goes to the girl’s house, after which the girl’s car and her driver take them to the prom, then bring them back to the girl’s house from  which the boy goes home in his own car.

I guess this shift in style stems from a number of things – parents now are more hands on. the times are less “safe” – making the parents of girls more wary, more careful about who their young daughters are dating to the prom.

Looking back, imagine if my classmate and I then were brought to the prom by our own drivers/parents. Then it wouldn’t have mattered as much that our dates left us.

And guess what? the likely reason proffered for our dates’ leaving us? Would you believe – marijuana? That’s what’s wrong with getting one’s date on the mere premise that he’s one’s crush and not much else.

High school life oh my high school life -.lyrics of this Sharon Cuneta song. it mentions – true love.  In high school? Perish the thought. Still, here it is. I wonder who wrote the lyrics.


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