Prom Night, Just the Three of Us
By Dorsetta Hale

With the exception of his father, my son Drew was raised in a household full of females. Even his twin is a girl. So, given his character and good-natured temperament, I wasn’t surprised when two girls asked him to escort them to their senior proms. He didn’t even know one of them. She’d seen him play in a basketball game at her high school and I’m guessing she liked the way he looked in his uniform. Anyway, he declined her offer but accepted the invitation of a girl he knew from Terra Nova High.

He considered it an honor to have been chosen by an “older woman,” but my motherly instincts kicked in. What would an 18-year-old have in common with a 16-year-old whose occupation is “student,” who spends every waking moment either on a field, basketball court or on the ground underneath the car he bought from an actual little old lady? Sure he can be charming and sensitive but he’s starting to flex his muscles. He tried acting out in class recently but when he received detention, the teacher couldn’t bring herself to tell me. I’m trying to do my part by keeping a rein on him. Just last week I had to warn him that if he didn’t turn off that filthy music blaring in our driveway, I was going to call the police on him myself. He didn’t give me any flak. He’s a really good kid at heart. That’s what scares me because it’s what makes him attractive to both the “good” and “bad” girls.

Tickets to the prom held at the Hyatt Regency were $65 a piece, which included the meal but not the $30 parking garage fee or the portraits. Drew’s date instructed him to rent a white tux and shoes at a cost of $105. White would not have been my first choice. Those missionaries who solicit donations from customers in front of Kmart and Target wear white suits. But it’s not my affair. Did I say “affair?” I’m not trying to suggest a Demi Moore/Ashton Kutcher-like hookup would go on, but a two-year difference in age can be like dog years to a teenager, in which case my son is still a puppy. He didn’t know what he was saying “yes” to.

Expenses were adding up but he was able to save money thanks to the Palm City Restaurant where he and his friends get delicious meals on the cheap after football practice. The day before the prom he received a fat check with from his grandma with a card inscribed “Enjoy.” I wonder what she meant by that.

When he went to the store the next morning to pick up his tuxedo, he called me in frustration because even though they’d measured him at a prior appointment, the suit was three inches too short. I told him not to worry about it, that I’d call them and take care of it after I picked up a corsage because even though he didn’t mention getting one, I remembered his father gave me one for my prom. Then he told me not to bother about flowers. He’d already planned to have a friend’s mom make a corsage, but his date had already purchased one to match her dress, along with a garter and boutonniere for him.

“What? Eighty dollars,” I shouted into my cell phone as the flower clerk looked on. Then she smiled and said in a comforting voice, “Some girls now, you know, have a lot of material requirements.”

I spoke rather pointedly by phone to the tux store manager about the suit alterations and she promised to have it ready, with only half an hour to spare before he was scheduled to pick up his date. When we arrived at the store it was packed with teenage boys and their moms. Despite the warehouse-sized crowd, the staff knew exactly who I was without ever having seen me. It was probably just a coincidence that the manager had suddenly taken ill prior to our arrival. Thankfully, the tux fit this time.

Meanwhile his twin sister and her friends opted out of their junior prom extravaganza and created an event of their own. They attend Oceana where you have to depend on your wits alone because college scouts never attend Senior Exhibition Oral Report Days. The girls all dressed up and had dinner at Denny’s where the diners thought they were royalty. Later they headed to the Century 20 Theaters for the weekend premiere of the new “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sixth Billionth Ticket Sold” or something like that. The young ladies looked so glamorous that even one of the fans dressed as Luke Skywalker commented “Some people really go all out for these things.”

Drew and I drove two cars to pick up his date. Well, I went to take pictures and meet the girl and her parents. They were as gracious as could be. After receiving emails at work of prom fright-night digital photos, I was half expecting to see a girl in a dress that exposed crack instead of cleavage. But my son’s date was elegant, dressed in an aqua blue, knee length chiffon dress with gentle ruffles and spaghetti straps. Her parents looked more nervous than I was. I assured them that their daughter was in good hands. I guess my heart remembered that if I were eighteen again, I too would want a fine young gentleman who could be my prince for a night, no limousine required.

Copyright 2005, Dorsetta Hale

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