This past Saturday evening my son went to his senior prom.
Five days prior, you could have knocked me over with a feather if you’d told me that would wind up happening. He didn’t go last year, isn’t doing anything remotely resembling dating anyone right now, and had showed zero inclination toward making plans to attend this go-round.
But on Tuesday morning a week ago, Martha had this text exchange with Ben:
After a couple days’ consideration (and learning that upward of twenty people had voted for him), Ben decided to take the plunge and buy his ticket. Ballots for prom court at his high school are essentially write-in; sounds like a fair number of folks usually vote for themselves, leading to a many-way tie at the bottom with a single tally. To have a shot of success, one needs to organize a campaign, and Ben’s classmates somehow settled on him as a rallying cry for the geekier males (it was not a prank).
Time was obviously too short to rent a tux, so Ben made do with khakis, sport jacket and tie (to be honest, he wouldn’t have wanted a tux anyway). He met up with six friends late Saturday afternoon at the Japanese gardens just outside the city limits for pictures (Martha serving as semi-official photographer). Next was dinner at one of the brass-and-fern places in town, and then on to the party. Afterward, he spent the night at a friend’s with a few fellow seniors—I think he even got a little sleep.
I’ve generally avoided posting current pictures of the boy on here thus far. Maybe as he gets older, I’ll relax a little on that front (he’s no longer a minor, after all), but for now I’ve decided to err on the side of overprotectiveness. So, instead of pix from Ben’s big night out, you’re getting a somewhat fuzzy Polaroid photo from my senior prom, which probably happened a couple of weeks or so before this past weekend’s 82 countdown rebroadcast.
Several of the guys in my close circle of friends (including yours truly, of course) were unattached as prom approached. One day at lunch maybe three weeks before, all of a sudden most of us found dates. I went with Melanie, a sophomore. On the far right is Tony, who took my neighbor Rebecca. Dwayne lived on the next road over from mine; he and Karen were dating. We were all in the band (which is why we would have been together in the school cafeteria—band was always during lunch hour).
The picture was taken in my front yard, likely by my mother. My folks were chaperones that year (my sister, a junior, was also going). The theme was Make the Magic Last, a nod toward the Quincy Jones/James Ingram hit “Just Once” from the previous fall.
That’s a navy tux I’m sporting, by the way—maybe someday I’ll show you the powder blue number I’d rented the year before.
I don’t associate LeRoux’s one Top 40 hit, “Nobody Said It Was Easy,” with my prom, but it was very much a favorite at the time. It’s at its peak of #18 on this show. That spring the local AOR station was playing another one of theirs, “Addicted,” pretty frequently. The two songs sound nothing alike; I’m only now realizing that the hit wasn’t sung by their usual lead vocalist.
Oh, I guess you’re wondering about the outcome of the voting? Ben didn’t get enough support to come out on top, but he was one of four male attendees to the Prince and King. I’m pleased enough for him—nothing like this happened to either of his parents (though Martha was her sorority’s nominee for Homecoming Queen her senior year in college). That’s not what really matters to me, though—I’m just happy his friends found a way to get him to go.