Prom house. This new terminology has been added to the prom scene since I was in high school. This prom weekend necessity denotes the house where all of the friends from one group assemble the day after prom to continue to celebrate together. For some groups this might translate into a rented lake house or cottage, a group of hotel rooms at an indoor water park, or some other desirable location. Chaperones are optional. If the group includes at least one organized female student, then a packet of pertinent information might be printed and distributed in order to keep everyone in the loop.
Prom pictures. Although snapping photographs of high schoolers decked out in formal-wear has always been part of the pre-prom procedure, today it's a definite 'thing.' Parents and interested family members gather in a predetermined location where food and beverages are offered, a beautiful backdrop exists, and an official photo shoot unfolds. Unannounced hoards of parked cars line the streets in these unsuspecting neighborhoods where residents, unfamiliar with prom festivities, walk out of their house and discover unprecedented numbers of cars have descended on their quiet streets. Bedazzled couples arrange themselves in various poses: long lines, just guys, just ladies, specific friends, and individual couples. After spending small fortunes on their dresses, tuxedos, flowers, tickets, limos, manicures, hairdos, and post prom activities, the students tolerate their personal paparazzi with ease.
Of course before any of the actual day-of festivities occur, the students are faced with creating an unusual and unique 'ask'. Ages ago when I was in high school, students asked one another to prom. It was tradition for a guy to ask a girl, but even in the 80's that wasn't necessarily the only approach. Nowadays the way a kid invites his or her date to prom is almost as important as what college he or she has selected. (OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but there is a lot of focus on the elaborate invitations). A swimmer might coerce his speedo clad swimmer friends to write the all important question across their chests and appear unceremoniously in her math class. Renting billboard space, spelling it out on her lawn, singing it over the loudspeaker at a school sports event, or delivering a pizza box with the question inside the lid are not out of the realm of possibilities. Usually the kid has troubled himself to conduct extensive research to be sure the answer will be a yes.
Some schools have gone the extra mile to insure a safe evening for prom goers. At Laddie's high school, and I'm assuming many others, there are committees of parents who work all year to raise funds to offset the cost of post prom. Couples depart for prom by bus. Bags are inspected before bus boarding is allowed. No returning to cars, or leaving prom early via another form of transportation. Prom ticket sales at these schools include a small added up-charge to a post prom event. Options include heading home at 11 pm from prom, or heading to the next portion of the night (post-prom) where the couples are chaperoned in a safe albeit wonderful venue. By the time the students return to school by bus, they are exhausted and ready to call it a night. A brilliant plan to keep the kids safe, and parents relaxed.
With our first of many proms on the horizon, I braced myself for the big night. As the big day approaches, I couldn't help but wonder if there would be any new lingo that I would need to file under new prom terminology.