Monday, March 23, 2009

Blah,Blah, Blah Prom

See? I told you it would happen.....

So The Dancer's senior prom was on Saturday and can I just tell you - proms are not what they used to be. Thankfully, the dresses that look as if they were stolen from the set of Gone with the Wind are no longer in vogue. That's a good thing. The hair is smaller and the tuxedos are much more understated and attractive.

I'm also guessing that no one is dancing to Duran Duran's Hungry Like a Wolf or waiting with bated breath for the final song Stairway to Heaven so that they could hold their date a little closer.

Ah - sweet memories. (Okay - I cop to it. We may have been looking forward to that long, slow dance for public close contact, but the real action was happening in the backs of Chevelles and pick up trucks and family station wagons parked down dark lanes by the river. That was our "after prom.")

However, the professional hairstyles, full blown glamour, limousines, hand held bouquets, and on and on and on are rather over the top and fall into that category of things that serve mostly to part parents from their money and to create a false sense of entitlement to high style in our kids.

And yeah, we totally fall for it every time. Back in my day when we walked ten miles in the snow uphill, both ways, to school, our parents were happy to point out that we weren't anything special. In fact, I remember being told that explicitly. "Hey, who do you think you are?" adults would ask if you got too full of yourself. As parents, we do quite the opposite. We're all about the special. The self-esteem. The reward and praise. The kids in these photos probably have more trophies for simply joining a team that the collective of commenters here ever earned.

Wait - did I want The Dancer's prom post to turn into a rant about the way we parent? Well, it was not my initial goal. But there it is. I'm glad she went. I'm happy that she is beautiful and bright and happy (well, actually, she'll be much happier when this last year of the International Baccalaureate program is over). I'm glad she wore that dress for a second time after we spent more than I wished to spend for it when she was in her school's Homecoming Court last autumn.

But, honestly, I hope the parenting pendulum swings back some. I mean, we don't have to go back to a time when we used the word smart as a put-down (smart alec, smarty pants, oooooh look who's so smart), but the setting of realistic expectations for what's acceptable materialistically would be a good thing. I mean, the bar is set so high now for these kids who've received a trophy for everything, who've never lived in a world where the rich and famous weren't celebrated, who have been raised in a rushed world full of opportunities for instant gratification and who have been promised that anyone can have the good life (read: palace, hot car, fabulous travel) as long as they could be approved for credit.

I'm generalizing, of course. Even our spoiled children have heard their share of "no" and "we can't afford that" and "you don't need it." I guess I'm really speaking in the larger sense of parenting. You get a handful of affluent or affluent appearing parents together and you've got a recipe for overdoing it, going too far and pushing the limits of what our parents would have considered parental indulgence.

Speaking of the after prom (I did speak about it up there somewhere), the mom who very nicely offered to host the party called and chatted with me before hand. She told me what rules she'd put in place to keep the kids safe, etc. She'd put a lot of thought into and I appreciated that she was (a) willing to have a house full of teens and (b) attempting to have reasonable and clear rules so that her house wouldn't be the scene of an all out orgy of sex, drugs and show tunes. (The majority of these kids are in the performing arts.)

The Dancer, a classic oldest child, mother hen sort, isn't one I worry much about. I know some of you might think me naive, but, honestly, except for the politics and her gender - this kid is Alex P. Keaton. Driven, focused, ambitious. Ain't nothing going to mess up her future, especially boys, drugs, or alcohol. If it weren't for the large birthmark on her belly, I'd think they sent the wrong baby home with us when we left the hospital.

Before the prom, she and I were going over plans.

"So you're all set ?" I asked offhandedly. Of course she was.

"Yep," she answered distractedly. She was taking a brief break before heading to the studio and was checking her Facebook.

"Oh, So and So's mom called about after prom. You know the rules, right?"

Heavy sigh. Why must she suffer the indignity of the question? "Yes, I know. So and So's mom even sent home a form with the rules."

"Okay. So......"
I began, watching her face pinch together, a crease forming between her eyes. MathMan gets the same look when he thinks I'm about to belabor a point. Frankly, I don't blame them for that pained look. I continued, "So.....I'll clean the bong before you pack it. Have you thought about what to take for the people who huff instead of smoke? What about clean needles? And don't forget the big jar of condoms. I understand someone else's mom is supplying the lube....."

The Dancer laughed. Then her face took on that pained, pinched look again. "Oh, please, please tell me you didn't make that joke to So and So's mom," she said in a rush.

I shrugged. As if. "Of course not," I laughed, shooting her a reassuring look. She smiled and seemed to relax.

I shook my head. "Nope, I just told her that your thirty year old boyfriend would be coming along and bringing his handgun collection with him......."

Because digital pictures make it so easy to overshare, you can see the whole nauseating set of prom pix here.


  1. The Dancer is a classic. Good taste, classic features. Lucky girl!

    I do have to ask - why handheld bouquets? 1) Holy pain in the butt, Batman. 2) Kind of bridesmaidy, isn't it? Then again I'm out of the loop and 12 yrs out of high school, so what do I know?

  2. As I have said on you and Mathman's Facebook page, you have a beautiful daughter. As to the whole we coddle our kids too much rant, I agree 1000%. It starts when they are young, we never teach our kids that "no" is not a bad word and that you can't always get what you want, "but if you try sometimes you get what you need," (sorry off topic there for a minute). But I would also say that you and Mathman's children do understand "no" and that there are sacrifices in life and that you don't always get a trophy for just participating. They may not like it, but what kids do like being told "no", but your children have some semblance of reality in them, I would guess.

  3. The Dancer is a beautiful young woman with a really sound head on her shoulders. You and Mathman sure did a good job.

  4. Man, after-proms sure have changed since I was in high school. Thankfully!

  5. Beautiful. I wish I could find out whether or not DS1 is even going to prom this year.

    On a completely "it's all about me" note... I have 42 (*cough*accordion*cough*) trophies from back in the day when you had to do something to get one. They're in a box in the attic. Before that they were on a shelf at my mother's collecting dust. I don't know what that means, I just needed to get it off my chest. Thanks.

  6. Amazing how quickly they grow up...

  7. Looks like a beautiful prom and a very happy and lucky girl.

  8. The Dancer is TINY! I didn't see that until she stood next to her peers.
    You go, have it all!

  9. beautiful mom, beautiful did just the right amount of teasing and warning....good girl!

    from looking at her, i don't think you have a think to worry about and now, it all over anyway, being 1030 here in CA....hoping all went smashingly! they almost look like a wedding party, lol.

  10. It's so nice to see you show off your lovely children. The dancer is a beauty and sounds like she's on her way. Middle child, and only son, will probably be a bit of a challenge, but Gsrbo will be the one to make or break you as perfect parents. I swear I can hear you say sometime in the future, "What did I do to deserve this?!?" and you will put the back of your hand to your forehead and appear about to swoon. Oh yes, I can see it... And the reason we'll have photographic evidence will be the quick work of Garbo snapping that photo to post on her famous blog, "Spawn of Dcup."

  11. She's lovely. She looks so much like you. And I like her dress. Good taste. Elegant.

  12. You should be very proud.

    And so should she.


  13. That Sweet Sixteen show about over-the-top parties for spoiled kids? Everything that is wrong with our society today . . .

    Having said that, your daughter does look beautiful -- and sounds sensible. (The show tune line cracked me up! Thank goodness for the performing arts. At least it provides the proper forum of diva behavior.)

  14. Hey,

    Your daughter is a gorgeous young woman with a very cool mom.

    I hope she didn't pull my stunts.

    As a Jr, a friend and I rented a cheap motel and took our dates there. It was March, as well and fairly cool at night.

    My date couldn't hold her liquor and wanted to swim in the motel pool.

    Due to the possibility of shrinkage and my nuts crawling up into my belly, I decided it may not be the best idea for me, but I was all over the idea that SHE do it.

    She did, then got mad because I wouldn't and wanted to go to the room and cry off her drunk.

    She stepped outside (our cars were parked directly in front of the room) and she was leaning up against her car... crying.

    Being the ultra sensitive guy that I am, I walked outside to "comfort" her, but had to do so in the cool way I operate (hand's in pockets). As I stepped outside, she had her feet out in front of her as she leaned and I tripped over her feet and landed face first onto the fender of my 73 VW Beetle (tricked out very nicely, btw) and my teeth put gashes in the paint some 12 inches or so.

    It busted my nose, lips, chipped teeth and I bled like a stuck hog all over the place.

    At least she stopped crying.

    True story.

  15. Lovely pictures and a lovely crowd of youngins'. Parenting at it's best. Utah has stated the future - oh so well.

  16. People in our neighborhood rebelled against the de rigeur limo, manicure/pedicure, professional "updo" and makeup and all the other pseudo wedding trappings a few years ago, so prom around her is a little more like it was when I was in high school. And I love how easy it is for you to get a rise out of the Dancer. I'm going to call her and suggest that she occasionally say something like "why should I have to pay more taxes to support the deadbeats who don't want to work" or "maybe if we returned to some more traditional values, this country would return to greatness". That would be appropriate payback. Ba ha ha!

  17. Thanks for sharing your beautiful daughter with us all. What a great group and how proud you must be of her and how telling that is of your parenting skills.

  18. You guys didn't set her and her date up with a fully stocked limo? You're just like the worstest, non-economy-stimulating parents in the whole wide world.

  19. A lovely girl - but I could hardly concentrate after you wrote that she wore her dress a second time?! That is beyond great parenting - it is a miracle!

  20. The first baby is almost grown-up! What a beautiful daughter she has turned out to be. I am very proud of her.

    Also - the vodka is in the freeze. Massage later if you'd like.

  21. Lisa, The Dancer is so beautiful. She really does look like you. Of course, you have to have one spawn that takes after you so your mother can have her revenge!

  22. Is that a little "Lens Baby" action on photo #3?

    Beautiful pictures!

  23. Your daughter is beautiful, and I love the gown.

    I didn't get to go to my prom. Something about Dr. Frankenstein being too busy...

  24. Lisa, I think you (and mathman) have done a good job of centering your daughter. I get so miffed at the over the top affairs of the teens we know. Looks like she survived wearing the dress a second time...thankfully.
    I don't get the flowers either, kind of a pain, but see how out of the loop I
    Very beautiful

  25. This is so good. I'm so glad people are starting to wake up to the nauseating over indulgence of kids and their milestones. The prom would still be the time of their lives if they took the whole thing down a few notches.
    That said, your dancer is lovely.

  26. I've been lurking for quite a while now and it's time I spoke up. Your kids are funny, smart and take your wit to heart. I see that in them. Mine are very similar, but they are boys, so most of the time I feel like 'whaa, whaa, whaa' of Charlie Brown fame. Your Dancer is lovely; a good head on her shoulders and a wit to boot. You and Mathman have done a magnificent job. Apparently the parenting of benign neglect is working. Congrats!

  27. "I'm happy that she is beautiful and bright and happy."
    - thus wrote Lisa

    I rest my case :)

  28. The Dancer is a very pretty girl!

    You should be very proud of the fine young woman she apparently has become. :)

  29. Pretty girl- and her date? No way he got any action with those braces on his teeth.
    I still like the little round headed guy who was in the Nutcracker with her. Looks like my nephew. And he got plenty of actio--oops, never mind.

  30. Jake, that's the kid's name. What a cute little man-to-be he is.

  31. She's lovely, and it sounds like you've done a superb job raising her smartly.

    And I am with you [and against the nutty poser parents] - I'm already prepping my kids for thrift store shopping sprees, Craigslist scavenging & copious coupon usage. Seriously, I've never ridden in a limo - you can bet my spawn will not until I do...

  32. I'm not reading what anyone else said.

    Lisa and Doug - the Dancer is lovely. You must be very proud (and I suppose very worried...)

    I was looking at the group pictures trying to figure out who was the Dancer, and I kept hoping She was the one in the dark dress. So very poised, so very stunning, so self assured.

    Congratulations to all of the Goldens for a job well done.



    PS - Dancer: be kind to the boys. It will take them a while to catch up.

  33. They grow up so fast. **sniff** Did they serve dessert?

  34. Not a powder blue tux in the bunch. And where are the ruffles?

    Limos are so last year. Now the kids who are truly loved by their parents get flown to the prom in a helicopter.

  35. Next blogger party - blasting "Hungry Like the Wolf" for ya!

  36. The clothes today are sooooo much nicer! "Gone with the Wind" dresses indeed! ;)

    "Stairway to Heaven" was a always a trap. Starts off slow, to get the non-dancers like me out there (any idiot can dance to slow a song.) But then it speeds up! Oh, the horrors as I had to attempt to shake a leg!

  37. What a beauty she is. And she has her head on straight. Must be a load off your mind.

    Loved this post! :-)

  38. Great set of photos do good work..both w/the camera and the kids. ;)


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