Saturday, April 26, 2014

Prom Daze

I wrote a post here in Cyrsti's Condo perhaps two years ago revisiting my prom experiences and got blitzed by a couple readers.  Their problems seemed to be wrapped around the fact I went to Prom at all and was sort of bragging about it. For them to even think that represents a real failure on my part of communicating my thoughts.  To you international visitors, "Prom" is a spring ritual rite of teen passage-often involving more angst, expense and even pain than anything else.  In other words it's a formal dance, dinner etc.

I went to my junior and senior proms.  Interestingly, it's held against me now, by some who want to attach some sort of former male privilege to going.  I thought just the opposite was true.  As the guy, I had to find a date, not be the one in the pretty dress, and finance most of the evening.  Some "privilege", right?  I know now of course, the view from the girls side of the fence wasn't quite that green either.  She had to wait to get asked, obsess over finding the right dress and hope the clumsy boy (me) didn't gouge her trying to pin the corsage on or ruin her new shoes stepping on them while we danced.  Oh yes, I experienced another male privilege when I got cornered by my senior date's Dad, and told what not to do with his daughter.

Sadly, at least in my generation, the whole affair was set up for failure and we never knew it.  The popular kids socialized and won Queen and King contests, while the rest of us struggled along just by being there, or not going at all.  Today there is hope as more and more schools are being forced to open up their prom events to transgender, gay or lesbian students.  As with so many other things, the younger generation is doing a better job than we did, which is wonderful!

Oh yes, there are two side notes to my senior prom.  One is tragic because years later my date committed suicide following her second divorce.  Among other things, she was worried about her declining looks -she was a beautiful 40 something woman when she did it. Maybe her Dad should have spent more time building her esteem and not harassing me (No grudge though!). The other is fun in that the supper club we had dinner in that night years later became a gay venue.  I couldn't wait to go there and use the same bathroom the girls used that night - and I did and didn't pee down my leg!

So there you go kids, I hope maybe this time I was able to do do a better job of communicating what prom meant to me.

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A Life in Gender Flux