It is totally weirding me out that I have a son who is going to Prom. With a girlfriend. In a tux. Like a normal guy. This is one of those times when a Dad might actually have been handy, since I’ve never been anywhere near a prom and the idea of my wife sporting a prom dress is frankly ludicrous. Girls didn’t wear boy clothes back then. Though the chances that I’d have come up with a husband who knew anything about proms is almost as ludicrous as my wife in a dress.
I was sort of invited to the prom before I graduated. Not by my boyfriend, because why would he spend money on a prom when there were drugs to be bought? But by an artist friend who wanted to go on LSD. Needless to say I didn’t go. I was saving for college. But on the last day of school he did confess his undying love for me at a party; we were sitting on the front porch of someone’s house so blitzed on tequila we couldn’t move (my lab partner was sitting on my other side also confessing his undying love, my boyfriend was getting high somewhere in the house). I expect it was only the vomiting that saved me from alcohol poisoning that day.
Fortunately, in the dozens of books I’ve read for research on the Young Adult fiction genre, proms come up a lot. So I know something. There are corsages involved. Girls (some girls) seem to think it is a BIG DAY up there with getting married or the birth of their first child or maybe earning that corner office on the tenth floor. The dress takes months to get. Umm, that’s about it.
So helping our son come through has been something of a challenge. We do have some mainstream straight friends who are able to give advice, and my wife took our son to the vintage store and asked the gay owner to help pick out a tuxedo and tie and make sure it was the perfect fit. Who’d know better? This was reassuring to our son’s girlfriend, who might have doubted our son’s ability to judge a tuxedo as he’s worn nothing but T-shirts and jeans for the last four years.
Except for the winter semi-formal. They were the most dressed-up in the ballroom that night. A vintage three-piece men’s suit. Very nice. He’s cut his hair since then. No longer in a ponytail. He might want to trim his beard.
This prom thing is so weird for me And only the beginning of many weird transitions. He’s going to graduation (I didn’t), he’s going to the party after (ditto), he isn’t necessarily going to have to work full-time to be sure he’ll have tuition in the fall. He can’t drive, so that is familiar (I got my license at twenty-five), and I get the feeling it is nowhere near the top of his to-do list. I’d say Frisbee playing is higher up.
This is good practice though, in case one or more of our kids gets married someday and wants to go traditional. I expect something like that would take a lot to get through; compared to that, prom will be a breeze.