Rant & Rave

By Mark Gedeon

Tuesday, June 1, 1999

What’s the big deal
about prom?

Irecently experienced the great American teen-age ritual "The Senior Prom." Everybody makes prom such a big deal, like it's going to be the best experience of your life. I found that t's just another dance that you have to spend money on.

The date of the social gathering was May 15, but bids were on sale in March. Each bid was $45, which means $90 for a couple. That's just the bid; then there are flowers, pictures, tux for guys and gown for ladies. This doesn't include post-prom dancing or partying, when costs go higher.

The flowers I purchased at Junior Lou's were $25 for a bouquet of a dozen calla lilies with baby's breath. A dozen roses of any color cost about the same or a little more. Nowadays, bouquets are more popular for banquets and proms. However, wristlets, French bouquets or single long-stem flowers can be seen every so often. Flowers usually have to be pre-ordered since there is huge demand the day of prom.

Girls have to pre-order maile leis for their dates. The most popular of the maile leis is the Cook Island, which is fuller than the Hilo Maile. A strand of maile, which usually isn't enough, costs about $19; a double strand averages from $20 to $40. It is now popular to intertwine the maile with a lei of flowers which is an extra $10 to $20.

Pictures range from about $40 to $85 and if you want extra wallet pictures or larger pictures it will be an extra $20. The problem with pictures is, if you don't like them, you can't change them. Depending on the photography studio, pictures can either be a success or failure.

At our prom the photographer had a problem because not too many people went for pictures at the beginning. Some went in the middle of dinner and too many people waited until the end. Some people waited up to an hour just to have their pictures taken. Most couples want several shots: a serious pose, a humorous pose and a group pose.

To make your pictures absolutely perfect, some photography studios offer to take them before the actual event, which is definitely more costly. But what are you going to do? You must get pictures of this magnificent ritual and the beautiful girl accompanying you.

NOW the clothes. If you're extremely lucky, you can rent a tux for $50, special event pricing. If not, it is about $100 plus shoes. If you want to get a distinctive tux that would be an easy $100 to $300 for the complete package. The trick is to check around different rental outlets and always check the designer name. I find you can get a good-looking tux for less if you shop around.

Next question. How will you get to the prom? By car? Bus? Limousine? I chose to join four other couples in an extra-large stretch limo. That was riding in style and cost another $25 each.

I went through all the time, cost and trouble of getting ready for prom, only to find out that it's just a dance, and not all it's cracked up to be, even though the food was good and the court was funny. After all the anticipation, prom was a bit of a let down.

All the money spent and all the nice clothes can't change the basics of human nature and relationships. On that particular evening, my date was upset about something and wouldn't tell me why. She started to cry and spent the rest of the night not talking to me.

Is prom a good ritual? The answer is yes. It gives us a taste of what to expect when we enter the adult world.

Mark Gedeon is a senior at Kaiser High School

Rant & Rave is a Tuesday Star-Bulletin feature
allowing those 12 to 22 to serve up fresh perspectives.
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