Proms. Taffeta and silk-stuffed affairs that spill out of limos across the country and into our memories. Parents brace themselves for a series of emotional jolts as they release their lil’ loved ones to a group of emotionally charged peers. Whispered warnings like “Now remember, use your head!” get muffled in the swirling dervish of perfume, cologne, flashes and fanfare that is a teen’s exit.
I know my mom prayed that all the damn sense she’d spoon-fed me would take hold. And (big and) remember, I was raised prior to social media. Yes, I was raised in the days of yore, before the book of faces.
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Let it be clear, my mom did a great job prepping me for the prom. Ya’ll are not going to have me cut me off of her bean pie recipe list because I talked poorly of that woman. No ma’am. My mother is the salt of the earth. (Please, I really need the recipe and I love you, Mom). That said, here are some of the things I wish my mom had told me that I now want to scream in my son’s general direction before he goes to prom. Check it.
- Take a FUN date! OK, in my heyday, I went to a prom. Or was it three? Who has time to remember the exact number. I do know that the most fun I had was on prom date number two. Corey. He was funny! Taking a boring date who just looks good for the photos is a hard left. Hard. Left. Cute can’t make you laugh, babe! Don’t get me wrong, prom three, Rashan, was a blast, too, but I was madly in love with him (high school, ball player, you know the story) and couldn’t see past the blurry images of hearts all in my minds-eye. So, I say choose fun over love. Fun!
- Have a code word to use during all the boring stuff. Do we see a theme here? BORING is BAD. The code word can be deployed if your friends decide they want to go somewhere really lame, and you and your date do not want to go someplace really lame. Now, say it with me — “Let’s get some Sprite.” In this example, the very mention of that sugared soda as a code word can also be a great way to alert your date to the fact that you need to meet in the lobby and be out.
- Have a friend backup. I’m a planner. And since you can only control the controllables, control your own good time if your date stands you up (it happens)! Or if your date goes into emo camp and turns into Dana Downer. Your friend backup can save the day.
- Do not get wasted. I did. On one of my three, did I mention I attended more than two proms? Oh? I did? OK. Back to serious issues. Drinking. What a WASTE getting wasted is. And, yes, I know, you know, we all know you’re underage. “Oh, my mom, I’d never.” Right. Never mind. It’s your friends I worry about, not you, my thank GAWD you fell so far from my apple tree pure little angel. Howsonever, parents, just in case you want some insights, this video from the SheKnows #HatchKids gets all up in the drinking and drugging culture like a good toe in a Sunday pump. Pump. Cause even if my mom didn’t warn me because my golden saintly glow blinded her to the gin in the dashboard, someone less innocent than my son may need to hear this.
- You do not have to have sex to have a blast. Listen, I did not get tantric on all of my proms. The pressure to get some as soon as you close the doors will mount, yikes, pun up in there again, but you, dear boy, do not have to. In between the promises to yourself and your friends that you will be a beast in the bedroom, it’s totally fine if all you beast out is some sleep. Trust MUVA. There’s plenty o’ time for sexy time, and the prom does not have to be one of them. Just wait until your wedding… What, am I being unrealistic? Am? I?
- Make your own rules. I thought I had to hang with my prom date the whole night. WRONG. I really wanted to be in bed around 11. Facts. You, dear son, get to make your own rules. Want to change dates after the prom and hang out with someone else? Do it! Want to go stag? Do it? Want to roll with the bros? Do it. It’s your party, and you can do what you want to!
- Get a fun car! Sure, limos are so de rigeur. I mean, make a mark, babe! Rent a Winnebago. An Airstream. A Good Humor truck. Hand out treats the whole way to the prom and have FUN. Remember, FUN.
- Take condoms for the crew. Listen, a friend in need is a friend indeed. Or a friend with no rubber gets no lubba, so help your brother. Be that guy. The above-board one. Not the “Oops, I forgot, let’s just do it a little bit” one. Cause he’s a noted clown. And you, my love, need not be a clown. At all.
- Take 'eff you' money! Yes, fellas need it too. Look, if your friends start making stupid choices, or you end up in a wild place trying to save face, cash can smooth out the waves that crash on your proverbial prom beach. Have enough to make somebody dash with your cash and leave you alone. Now, in my day, $50 bucks could buy time. But a lot has changed since the Civil War. Take $300. So start working now. Cause my eff you money is going to your college fund. And this sweet ass Wang bag I saw, but I digress…
- Call me or your father if anything pops off. Period. Mom never told me I had a person to call, but luckily I did not have to call. Know this now, tall one: You can call me anytime, about anything. And “I’ll be there (Four Tops harmony voices… )”
- What happens in the DM stays in the DM. DO NOT go splash your whole night out on social media. If it’s suspect, it’s suspect. If you can’t hold a press conference about it, don’t share it on social media. Sex. Sexting. Screenshots. Passed out pictures. Semi-dressed pictures. ALL that there? NO! I suggest a long, hard review of the event and do one “we ouchea” and one the next day “about last night.” Control the controllables, babe!
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Proms rock. My mom did a bang-up job of getting my prom face on, though we didn’t talk about all of the nuances of promdom. And, I did not have social media. LUCKILY. So, in the hopes that some of these tips resonate with you and yourn, share them with your boys. MUVA knows best, Papa knows the rest. And keep it FUN!