MLC Observation – Proms Then and Proms Now
It’s prom season. You know how I can tell? As I walk through Ala Moana Macy’s, I see the girls getting their make-up done at the make-up counter. Their hair already put up and curled. Their nails all done. I was wondering – do these girls pay the make-up counter folks to do their make-up?
I was talking to a co-worker who has a son in high school and she was telling me that proms nowadays aren’t quite like how we remembered it.
The Threads ~
Remember how us guys used to wear pastel colored tuxedos that would match with our date’s dress color? And our Celebrity Tuxedo rental was the kine with the satin trimmed jackets and the satin strip down the side of the pants. And the iconic ruffled shirt. And bow-tie, of course. And cummerbund. Honestly, guys never knew what a cummerbund was – until they went to a prom.
The guys wear tuxedos that look more like suits – with a regular tie or a maybe a bow tie, and perhaps a vest. And matching cuff-links/buttons/tie-clip. No ruffly shirt and over-sized jackets like in our day. In fact, the “tuxs” are available in Slim size now! Try ask today’s guys if they know what a cummerbund is.
* I don’t know too much about gowns so the girls can chime in here.
The Floral ~
Remember how we used to buy pikake lei for the girls. *You could always tell how much a guy liked a girl by the number of strands of pikake. 3-strands was just friends. 5-strands meant that he likes her. 7-strands means they going steady. And a girl wearing a “rope pikake” lei might as well be wearing a wedding ring.
They guys give the girls a French bouquet or wrist corsage. How are you supposed to tell how serious the relationship is without being able to count strands!?! But I understand that the guys still get a maile lei. Maile lei by itself – friends. Maile lei with Tuberose – they “trippin”. Maile lei with Pikake or miniature roses - they going steady.
The Event ~
Most of our proms didn’t include dinner. We would have a nice formal dinner at a fancy restaurant in Waikiki such as the Black Angus, Ship’s Tavern, or The Third Floor. And after dinner, the couples would arrive at the prom – fashionably late. But folks would be arriving throughout the night, depending on when their dinner was pau.
The prom includes dinner and the doors lock after the given start time. If you’re not there when the doors are locked – too bad. And if you or your date doesn’t follow the dress code, you won’t be allowed in. You can try changing to meet the dress code – but you have to be back before the doors lock. And there is a “contract” that must be signed ahead of time – by the student and the parent(s). And the date too – even if from a different school.
The Prom Court ~
Remember how it was a big, no – HUGE thing to be on the prom court? Usually it was the most popular and best looking in the class. Maybe a star athlete and the prettiest cheerleader? In fact, IIRC – the class used to vote for the prom king and queen and the runner-ups would be the Court.
It’s not a big deal to be selected as the prom king and queen. In fact, my friend told me that at her son’s prom, after choosing a King and Queen – they had to ask couples if they’d be willing to be on the prom court.
The Prom Pictures ~
You and your date would take a break, step outside and take your prom picture. The pose was the typical prom pose where the girl and the guy stand next to each other, then the photographer has them both turn 45-degrees to the left. The guy wraps one arm around her and places his other hand on her arm as they both turn their heads to face the camera. Two shots in case someone’s eyes were closed. They you get the pictures later that week in school.
The pose can be anything from the guy lying down on his side and his date sitting on his hip to the couple using props that they brought along. And then there’s the group pictures. Different pictures with a group of couples, a group of just the guys, a group of just the girls, group pictures with props. Any kine. And the photographer’s not complaining. The more the merrier – money wise.
After Prom ~
After the prom, it meant that we got to do the adult thing and catch a late night show – drinking non-alcoholic beverages, of course. The show to see was the Society Of Seven show at the Outrigger Main Showroom. And when SOS was out-of-town, that meant that we caught The Alii’s show. And for the brave ones, they went to the Noodle Shop to catch the Frank DeLima show. I say the brave ones because garans-ballbarens – Frank going pick on the prommies.
The guys take their date home. Then go to their friend’s house or a hotel room for a sleep-over. What!?! No romancing? Whatever happened to “A Night to Remember”?
Boy how times have changed.