Friday, September 19, 2008

Blue and Golden by Barb McKone

My son is feeling blue. 

His first homecoming dance, Blue and Gold, is six weeks away.  For the past four fall and spring seasons, our daughter has supplied a constant rattle of dinnertime dance invitation updates. She regales us with stories of creative invitations carried out in the cafeteria or on the school intercom or at the football game, acting out the parts and leaving us breathlessly awaiting the invitee's response.  

Back in the dark ages, when we went to dances, being invited went as follows:  pick up the phone, pray for the right voice on the other end, listen politely and answer with an excited or polite "yes" or "no, thank you."  Simple, right?  Well, the invitations, they are a-changin'.  

My daughter was once asked to prom in song, her would-be date boldly interrupting their choir class to perform his invitation to a giggling and hooting audience.  He also brought her a cookie cake he'd decorated himself- stick figures dancing, with "Joe" and "Grace" printed underneath the dancers in charming boy scrawl.  After his performance he had her circle the word "yes" in gel frosting to give her answer, which she did, to a cheering audience.  While I'm usually shaken by  the "progress" of today's teen world, I have to admit, I like this new system of getting a dance date.  It's imaginative.  It's romantic.  It takes guts and shows the real measure of the man.  I could frankly do with a little of the same from my husband from time to time.  (Just once, I'd like to be asked to the movies with some panache.  Or, asked to the movies at all.)  It does, however, up the ante for the slightly shy sophomore boy asking his first date to homecoming.

His first date.  Awwww.

And that's just problem number one.  Problem number two is that even though Blue and Gold is six weeks away, many of the girls my son would like to take have already been asked.  

There are those prime girls that encroaching upperclassmen have "stolen," as my son tells it, from the sophomore class.  There are those girls who have established boyfriends within their class.  So, in a class of only 100 kids, we're already down several potential dates.  My son doesn't intend to stray out of the class.  He's loyal.  The phone lines are lighting up, and my son is dragging his feet.  I don't want to create a panic, but honestly- he's got to get on the stick. Stake his claim.  We all know how this works.  It's like a run on a bank.  Sneak in before the doors close!  We broached the subject at dinner tonight; he ignored us so completely I wondered if he was actually listening to his i-pod.  He's clearly no Joe.  He's not much looking forward to the task ahead.  He will be using the tried and true phone invite, I think.  He'll save the theatrics for senior year.  

Six-and-a-half weeks from now, I will provide an update.  No names will be used, of course, to protect the innocent.  In the meantime, it's just another milestone that screams, "You can't stop this!  He's growing up!"  After the first dance invitation, can Senior Prom be far behind? I hope I'm with good  friends on Blue and Gold night when I wipe my eyes to take the photos of my sweet boy in the suit we've yet to buy, pinning a corsage on dance partner to-be-named-later.  

Okay, so I'm a little blue, too.  But, I know it will be okay.  My son likes to dance, and I know he'll ask a nice girl.  So, as milestones go, I have a feeling that this one will be golden.


Judy Merrill Larsen said...

Oh, Barb, I can't believe he's old enough for his first date. Don't worry, I'll hold your hand through all of it!

Eudae-mamia said...

Ugh - I dread this too, and my boys are only 5 and 2!!

Good luck, to both you and your son. Can't wait to hear about the night.


Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

Tips from a mother of a very social 17-year-old boy:

First, I hear you about the elaborate asking thing. Scavenger hunts, video invitations - once I saw someone had spelled out an invitation using syrofoam cups stuck in the fence by the high school tennis courts. It's insane. But here's the thing: I've found that the elaborate invite usually occurs AFTER the casual checking out - you know, somebody says, "Do you think so-and-so will go if I ask her?" Or even sometimes after the boy askes the girl and she gives a tentative yes - then the elaborate invite occurs. It's so insane...but there are ways to get around the pressure of it.

Second - my son usually does the group thing. Within the group, there's pairing up, of course. Just to make sure every girl gets a corsage, and that the picture party is even. (Another new invention: The before-event picture party, hosted by one of the parents, complete with refreshments for all and a lovely setting in which to take the requisite pictures, both couples and groups.)

Anyway, it seems that my son and his friends - and it is a co-ed group, which makes it easier - just all decide to go as a group. Then the boys talk about how they'll pair up - sometimes this is easy, if there are legitimate couples involved - but right now, most of them just seem to be friends who are pairing up for the dance. But it's the group that matters - and it makes the whole thing easier.

So - first get the group. THEN decide how to pair up. It's a lot less pressure than the one-on-one thing, especially for a first date.

Barb McKone said...

Judy- I know I can always count on you to hold my hand through it! You've lived through it- twice- I'll be sniffling on your shoulder come November.

Barb McKone said...

You're at the most fun stage of all, although they're all pretty fun! Enjoy it, and don't worry- we'll be okay! Thanks for your well wishes- you'll get the update in November!

Barb McKone said...

Thanks so much for your advice. Love the cup-in-the-fence idea! I'm certain that with my son, there will be no elaborate anything. We'll be luck to get him to go shopping. Date-wise, I have a feeling they're all circling around their top choices but will indeed go in a group- which I think is absolutely the way to go. Takes off the pressure. And, I hear you on the photo party scene- we attended a couple of these for Gracie and had a blast. Good to remember. Thank you!!

Melanie Lynne Hauser said...

And remember, not every girl cares about the elaborate older son invited his prom date via email. She was just fine with that. (I, however, was somewhat apalled.)

cindy said...

My son broke up with his first girlfriend by text message. (We found out from her mother.) He told me it was the only way to do it because he couldn't get a word in edgewise...

Laura said...

Pom's boyfriend dumped her three weeks ago using one of the lamest exit strategies I've ever heard--He said he didn't like that she occasionally cursed and that she wore a skirt once that was too short. We cheered as she chewed him out on the phone--Shall we all say "Control Freak!" together?!

Got a last-minute invite to the public hs homecoming via text from a good friend. She had a great time and even got home on time, smiling. They danced and danced all night and she said they had tons to talk about. Her dad says that was because her old boyfriend was always just wondering when they were going to get to go make out!

Maybe some sweet, brave girl will ask your son to the dance!

Barb McKone said...

That might work. The fewer words, the better!

Barb McKone said...

Cindy- That's so funny! I can just picture your son waiting for her to take a breath. These boys are so great- at least he didn't do it on a post-it-note. How did the other mom tell you?

Barb McKone said...

Laura- It sounds like Pom is a very lucky girl to have been dumped by boyfriend #1. Let's hear it for the occasional short skirts and curse words, if they get the job done! I'll bet he was a Sarah Palin fan, not that there's anything wrong with that...