Sunday, April 19, 2015

Prom Pictures Abound

I'm sure your social media feed is a lot like mine in that it's eaten up with prom pictures right now.  Every weekend around this time of year, the sweet pictures start appearing on Saturday evening and run throughout the night. 

I've always had a soft spot for prom.  I've got one child, who's past that stage and one, who's not quite there yet, so I just have to look through my friends' kids' prom pictures for now. 

There's something so very sweet about that night.  A young man showing up to a young lady's house in the nicest car in his family's garage, which he likely spent the whole afternoon vacuuming and washing.......or a limo, whichever the case may be.  He looks a tad bit uncomfortable in the fancy clothes and extra accessories, which he doesn't normally wear.  He had to ask his dad how to put on the cuff links found in the little bag that came with his suit.  His shoes are shiny and he's wondering now if he shouldn't have gotten a half size bigger.  He can be seen tugging, straightening, and wondering if he has everything on right as he gets out of the car and walks up to her porch.  

He makes it to her doorstep and rings the doorbell, making final adjustments to his tie as he waits for someone to answer.  All of a sudden, he's feeling a bit warm.  He wipes the bead of sweat from the side of his face and takes a deep breath.  His heart is beating a little faster and his stomach feels like a butterfly sanctuary. 

Her father answers the door, but his date and her mom are nowhere in sight.  The guys introduce themselves to each other and the boy reaches out to shake the dad's hand.  He remembers to look him in the eye and use a firm handshake just like his father taught him.  The dad explains that she's not quite ready, but will be out soon.  He asks the nervous boy to have a seat while they wait.  Oh, this was not how the boy wanted this to go at all.  He prays she won't be long as he sits there clutching her corsage box in his sweaty hands.  He politely answers all the questions asked of him like "Where do you plan to go to college?"  "Are you a sports fan?"  "What do you want to study?"  "Do you have a job?"  You know......the typical dad questions.  The boy starts to feel awkward about how many times he's said, "Yes, sir" in this one conversation. 
Finally, to everyone's relief, his date emerges into the family room with her mother right behind her, pulling on her dress and smoothing the back of her hair.  The boy stands to his feet and he likes what he sees, but he's not sure he should say so in front of her parents.  He lets out a sheepish, "You look very pretty", and she responds with gratitude and compliments his appearance as well.  Her dad chimes in, remarking on her beauty, too.  He tells the nervous boy that he'll be the luckiest guy at the prom.  Oh, and there goes another, "Yes, sir".  The mother comments on how well his tie matches her dress and then hurries off to grab the camera and his boutonniere out of the refrigerator.

She comes back and hands it to her daughter and steps back to capture the moment of him placing the corsage on her wrist.  He nervously opens the box, his hands trembling just a little bit.  He doesn't handle flowers very often and he hopes he gets it right for the audience he has.  He slides it over her hand and onto her wrist and the mom is snapping away with the camera.  The girl gets the boutonniere and looks over at her mother to verify she's pinning it on the right lapel as camera flashes are going off right and left. 

The mother insists on getting a few more pictures before they leave.  Maybe one or two by the fireplace and then a couple of outdoor shots by the blooming azaleas or the snowball bush.  Of course, then she asks the date to take a picture of them with their daughter.  Then, it's finally time to leave.  To the boy, it seems like three or four hours have passed since he arrived.  Nerves always have a way of slowing down the clock.   

The parents tell them what time to be home and then come the stern warnings to the boy about careful driving, the precious cargo he has on board, and how they expect him to take good care of her.  He's reminded that she is their most prized treasure and he gulps with the responsibility as he sees the seriousness on their faces.  "Oh, yes ma'am.....yes, sir", he assures them.

The couple walks over to the sparkling car with the fresh coat of tire shine glistening in the setting sun.  He walks around and opens the car door for her and then shuts it behind her.  He knows parents like to see their daughter being treated like a lady and he is right about that.  The mother is impressed.  He tells them to have a good evening as he gets into the car and slowly creeps out of the driveway to insure them of his careful driving.  The parents wave from the steps and head back inside.

I think prom reminds us of an old fashioned, more formal time of dating that is nostalgic and endearing to most of us.  There's something about a rented suit and a dress with sequins that makes you feel a bit more special and little more enamored with your date.   There's nothing sweeter than a nervous boy with his wallet full of the money his parents gave him plus his yard mowing money, so he can treat her extra special.  There is a sense of mystery, awe, innocence, and respect.   

I guess I'll never get the women, who oppose men opening a door or offering their seat to them.  Maybe it's because I'm from the South, where that is commonplace, but I've never thought of it as anything but a sign of respect.

I have a soft spot for all the nice, young men, who've come in our doors and treated our daughter like a lady through the years.  They've "Yes sir"-ed and "No, ma'am"-ed....opened doors, shook hands, complimented her, gotten her home on time, used their manners, walked her to the door, sat on our couch, eaten meals here, traveled with us, and posed for pictures.  They've never been anything but perfect southern gentlemen.  Their actions showed/show her and us that she was/is valued by them.
And behind each polite, young man are parents, who taught him well before he left home.  Parents, who emphasized to their son the importance of protecting, appreciating, and respecting women.  As a mother of a daughter, I appreciate that more than they'll ever know.

Happy prom picture viewing!




  1. Beautifully written Joni, I felt like I was there, the way you described it, like a country song, sung by Trisha or Reba! I did watch the CMA last night. Manners are wonderful and I do appreciate them. Kathleen in Az

    1. I've never thought about writing country songs, Kathleen! Haha! You've given me an idea :)

  2. This reminds me of my own prom and it was so fun. We have a daughter who is a senior this year and there was no boy who asked her to prom. She was brave and went with a girlfriend and looked so glamorous. But I feel a little sad for her and for the gentlemen who didn't appreciate the qualities she could offer for an evening out. Sometimes, I wonder if this generation of gentlemen are too cautious.

    1. Good for her, Missy June! I'm glad she didn't deny herself the experience just because she didn't have a date. I wonder the same thing, too. Could be that the regular use of texting has made some of the more reserved guys even more uncomfortable with actual verbal exchanges with girls or maybe social media opens up countless ways they could be humiliated if their invitation was to be turned down. You have to wonder. Sad to see the decline of traditional dating. Like you said, both sides miss out. I know she looked beautiful and had fun with her friend, though!

  3. this post. We did our best to be the parents who taught our boys well.

    1. Thanks, Denice! I'm sure you have fine boys! We need more of them!