Tuesday, 22 July 2014

It's not who you go with, honey. It's who takes you home.

For people of a certain age, probably anyone over thirty, the very last week of secondary school was a bit different than it is for kids now.  I mean there'd be the standard 'Bring in a board game' or 'trip to local zoo / attraction (delete as neccessary)' type of thing, followed perhaps on the very last day by signing your friends' shirts, throwing eggs and flour around the place and telling the teachers what you really thought of them, then having a bit of a cry as you realised that you'd probably never see 99% of these people ever again.

That's what happened at my school at least... About thirty years ago, when the world was still in black and white and we wrote on slates, with chalk.

But things are different now though, even if you don't have kids, or a calendar, you can track the days leading up to the end of the final term simply by counting the increasing number of limousines driving around the local schools carrying teenagers who are waving plastic cups of Schloer out of their windows and squalking at the top of their voices like sadly undereducated Herring Gulls. (If you live in a particularly tacky area, feel free to substitute 'Stretch Hummers' for limousines)

I'm talking, of course, about 'Prom'. Now, proms have been going on in the US, amongst other places, for just over a hundred years, and anyone who's ever seen an American film that involves teens at High-School (Especially if it was written by John Hughes) will know what one is.  But just in case you don't...

Prom, or The Prom, or The Senior Prom is a dance held at the end of an American 'child's' High School education, when they are around 18 years old.  For weeks leading up to the event, post pubescent teens worry about asking, or being asked by, someone if they would like to go with them (cue multiple teen angst references that you can fill in yourself about self worth etc.) As 'Drivers Ed.' is taught in a great percentage of US schools, many of these kids are now able to drive the family car to such events (Insert here countless images of geeks driving their mom's station wagon to the cool girl with the heart of gold's house) The geek kids is then closely inspected by the father, and veiled threats are made, which are usually interrupted halfway through by a sharp intake of breath from the mother as the girl appears at the top of the stairs in either: A designer gown if the girl is popular, or a home-made, but somehow fit for a Vivienne Westwood catwalk affair if the girl is also geeky, but tiger-flayingly beautiful now that she's swapped her glasses for contacts. cue tears...

After arriving at the dance, several of the following things will probably occur:

1: There will be a confrontation with the girl's ex-boyfriend, which will end with the geek being saved by the girl
2: The lovable but wacky science types will 'spike the punch'
3: The not openly lesbian, but still quite lesbian girl will arrive in a sky-blue suit with navy blue zig-zag edging, and end up dancing with her best male friend. (Because blurred gender stereotypes are edgy kids, and make for good entertainment, but good old fashioned heterosexuality is what you should be aiming for in the end, praise the Lord)
4: There will be a fight, where the geek beats the jock by using guile, a previously stated scientific principle, or running as fast as his little spindly legs will carry him
5: Someone will lose their copy of Grays Sports Almanac 1950-2000.
6: There will be a slow-dance performed by the hero's favourite Metal/Indie band, who just happen to have been booked by the crusty old Principle, possibly due to some mix-up with his reading glasses.

Then all you've got after that is a quick trip to a local motel, some fumbling about with straps and fastenings whilst the room spins around uncontrollably, a quick Google of how to get sticky stains out of organza fabric, a couple of months of worriedly urinating onto a small plastic stick, and a lifetime of regret.

Sounds great,  I can see why we imported it to the UK.

Along with all the other things we've imported from the US (Gang culture, Rap music, McDonalds and Scripted reality TV shows amongst others) we've implemented it in a typically half-arsed fashion.  Most of our kids leave school when they're 16, and we don't have many motels.  Although in fairness, a lot of them do already have kids of their own by 16, so that's swings and roundabout really. And whilst 16 year old girls, with a minimum of makeup, can easily look 18 (or 25 in some cases...) 16 year old boys look like 8 rear olds wearing their dads' wedding suit (providing they're still in contact with their dads and that there was ever a wedding involved)

Then you find out that a lot of junior schools are now having a prom... That's ten year old kids, which is pretty horrific.

I've not heard that any infant schools are doing it yet... But I can't see it being long before we're being cajoled into buying Kardashian styled dresses for our seven year olds so that they can ride a stretched Little Tykes Cosy Coupe to their school with 'Fiddy Cent' blasting out of their brand-new iPhones.

The word for what you're feeling now is despair, or at least it should be...

Although, I say that... A friend of mine who actually lives in the US tells me that back in May, her dog, Waffles, 'graduated' from Puppy training... He wore a mortar board, and there was a certificate, and a cup and everything.  So, we've got that to look forward to.

Now, where's my old Service Revolver?

+-+-+-+-+-+-+ UPDATE +-+-+-+-+-+-+

I've just, via the medium of Facebook, seen that a good friend of mine's daughter has just Graduated from nursery, with a cap and a gown and everything... This begs the question, why is this butterknife so blunt? it's hardly making any headway on my wrists at all.

1 comment:

  1. July 1965, Gayton Avenue Junior School 4th Year Leavers Dance. I remember the record player being operated by one of the younger, male teachers and the Headmaster was MC. We had a live band who played The Shadows, The Beatles (don't forget the 'The') and other songs from the Hit Parade, and though I can't recall any romances, I managed to get my teachers' autographs along with the band members and the orange squash was alright.