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Such the Spot: Prom yesteryear vs. prom today

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Posted: Friday, April 11, 2014 2:07 pm

My daughter is going to prom this weekend. She has everything she needs: a dress, heels and a hair appointment. She is going with is a young man I very much approve of; the two of them have been dating for over six months (which is an eternity in high school time). The other day she mentioned something about driving to his house before prom and—without even a pause—she went right on with whatever it was she was saying. I can’t tell you what that was because I lost focus on that part when she mentioned driving herself over to the young man’s house.

“Wait just a minute,” I interrupted. “Did you say that you were going to drive over to his house for prom?”

“Yeah,” she answered, exasperated that I interrupted her for something so trivial.

“Hmm, no. I don’t think so. Your date will be picking you up from home. Because, you know, prom and all.”

She then proceeded to tell me how archaic I am, insisting that her date actually drive to our house and ring the doorbell. Who does that anymore? I know one person who will, lest he lose the privilege of taking my daughter to prom.

The conversation got me to thinking about prom of yesteryear and all the ways in which the event has changed. Humor me while I illustrate the comparison.

Prom then – A guy worked up the nerve to call a girl (most likely from a phone that had a cord and was connected to the wall) to ask if she would be his prom date.

Prom now – Promposals are a thing. The more elaborate the better. If you are not willing to creatively spell out the letters P-R-O-M in candles, pepperoni or on the Jumbotron then you might as well forget about getting a date.

Prom then – Girls were willing to drive hundreds of miles to shop for a dress just to be sure that nobody else would have the same one.

Prom now – Formalwear retailers keep spreadsheets and with the click of a mouse they can tell you whether or not someone else from your school bought the same dress.

Prom then – Prom was for couples, typically one guy and one girl.

Prom now – Prom is for everyone. Groups of girls, groups of guys or coed groups attend together.*

*Personally, I love this change.

Prom then – The prom photographer took at least a dozen photos to ensure that at least one of them turned out. Of course, you’d have to wait several weeks to see them.

Prom now – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow even the most remote friends and family to “like” prom photos within minutes of snapping the shot.

A lot has changed, right?

My daughter’s date’s promposal was awesome. He was waiting at the bottom of the escalator when she returned from a school trip to Spain over spring break. In his hands was a red poster board sign with the word ‘prom’ printed in big block letters and followed by a question mark. Sweet, right? Unfortunately, his creativity doesn’t exempt him from my archaic insistence that a young man should properly escort a young lady to prom. Corsage and all.

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Darcie Maranich
  • Darcie Maranich
  • Darcie Maranich was a teen mom long before MTV made it the next big thing. In the 18 years that have passed since, she's gone on to build a life bold and beautiful here in Tucson. A self-described rebel with a lifestyle blog, her posts at Such The Spot reflect on the ups and downs of life as a mother to four, including one daughter who rocks three 21st chromosomes (or has Down syndrome, in layman's terms). Her passions for handcrafted food, inspired travel and back-to-basics living make her someone to keep an eye on. She's @medarcie on Twitter.

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