John Hughes Didn’t Prepare Me for This

The Girl has her socially distanced junior prom Friday night.

She and TW selected a dress, which was a bit of a task. (Yes, it looks great. It’s floor length, red and flattering.) After the dress came the shoes and the earrings. Of course, this year’s must-have accessory is a mask that coordinates with the shoes and the earrings. The shoes and earrings are gold; she found a mask with gold glitter against a black background.

Much of this week involved the various steps of primping that The Boy got to skip: manicure, multiple hair appointments, jewelry selection. TG has unleashed some fairly caustic asides about the nonlengths to which the boys in her friend group are going. I couldn’t really argue.

I’m still a bit unclear on how a prom can work with social distancing. We’ve been told there will not be a dance floor, which makes sense, but it raises the question of what will take its place.

She’s going in a friend group of a mixed dozen that includes no couples. (That also meant being spared the “prom-posal” ritual.) Apparently students will be seated at tables that hold a dozen, and they had to reserve their seats, so the math works.

She has had her first shot of Pfizer, which is at least something. I would have preferred that she could have had the second one before the prom, but it was not to be. Apparently everyone in the friend group has had either one shot or two.

The contrast with her brother’s prom, just three years ago, is striking. His was more like mine was, back in the heyday of John Hughes movies: he rented a tux and went with his girlfriend, and they danced. That is not this year’s version. Among the rule changes this year was that every attendee had to be a student at the school that’s sponsoring the prom. If your date is from another school — say, in the Niagara Falls area — too bad. And it ends at 10:00, which is a fair bit earlier than I remember.

In past years, parental fears around proms mostly had to do with drinking and sex. This year they’re mostly around infection.

Still, as wary as I am — and as tightly as we plan to monitor the postprom festivities — I’m glad that she and her friends are getting a special night. They’ve missed so very much. My junior prom was in 1985, I went with a date I wasn’t dating and I still remember it fondly. Yes, I would have preferred that this year’s prom wait until the vaccinations are farther along, but others made those decisions. It’s happening when it’s happening.

That’s a pretty good description of parenting teenagers generally, come to think of it.

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