A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Friday, May 04, 2007

In which a for(COUGH-COUGH- HACK!) year old person prepares to go to the damn PROM....

Okay, so it has not been a good week at La Escuela de Cornelius, and I am feeling the worse for it, lemme tell ya. So what with the sleep deprivation, and the walking meditation required by Our-Lady-of-Perpetual-Hall-Duty and the blisters which sprout like little flowers in her name, and the not-eating-dinner crap, I am abandoning the Mary Poppins pose I have adopted in lo these last few months to say:

Holy crap!

In a moment of temporary weakness I agreed to revisit that horror of all late-adolescent horrors, the Prom.

Now a bit of flashback without the LSD, because Ms. Cornelius is completely drug free unless you count comfortable amounts of Chateau Thames Embankment: Once, long ago when Disco was barely dead, a young Ms. Cornelius went to her own senior prom. Of course, the gods of laughter, A-cups, and acne decreed I would break up with my skank-meister boyfriend a week before The Event That Every Young Girl Dreams Of, and thus I decided I would be brave and not be deprived of This Rich Experience. So, I went with a group of my friends and their dates, hoping that the thunderhead of chiffon and polyester tuxes would camouflage the fact that the number of hens was out of kilter with the number of scrawny preening roosters in badly fitting cummerbunds. I ended up receiving three count 'em THREE pity corsages (one from Mama, one from Girlfriends, one from said girlfriends' Chivalrous Escorts) until I had more blossoms on me than a damn Rose Bowl float.

So off we went to the Prom, held at the palatial Homebuilders' Association, where we all sat around staring at everyone else until all the girls danced with each other in a circle and swung our copious amounts of Farrah-hair and Aqua-Net around in a circle at each other and the boys body slammed each other until they were bruised because nobody- and I mean NOBODY- can really dance to Joan Jett, April Wine, REO Speedwagon, Rush, and Loverboy. Trust me.

So that was my prom. That, and the fact that I spent much of the rest of the night holding back a few of my friends' Farrah-locks as they did the technicolor yawn and taking the keys away from another friend and driving his sorry can home at 3 am, pretty much sums it up.

And with special memories like that, who wouldn't want to go for a reprise? So now I am about to embark on PROM: the Middle-Aged Sequel. And probably just like American Pie 2 or a spouse of Britney Spears, it just won't work.

So, picture, if you will or even if you won't, a woman about whom one could politely whisper "She's really let herself go, hasn't she?" going to procure some sort of formal attire. I mean, if she was a house, she would be that place overgrown with weeds and an old AMC Gremlin with a flat and a broken taillight covered in red plastic parked in a dirt patch in the yard between the sweetgum tree and the cottonwood. Remember that Our Fair Lady is allergic to shopping and only wears a dress in years that are divisible by 19 if she can help it, and you begin to get the picture. But I don't want to look like a grandma, so I procures meself a demure little black number-- okay, a not-so-little black number but one which hopefully will render me mostly invisible except when I need turn off the Klingon cloaking device to cross my arms forbiddingly over my bosom to deter the sharing of ganja or anything else, gawd-help-us. Add stout undergarments and sensible but slightly kicky sandals which can encase my swollen feet after thirteen hours of standing on them and an unfortunate tendency to lead the other faculty members in the ChaCha Slide while blowing my cheeks out like Dizzy Gillespie, and I think you know what I am describing.

The Prom Chaperone! Yaaaay!

There was an old woman who thought she was Fly. I don't know why. Perhaps she'll die. Oh, my!

Pray for me.



At 5/4/07, 6:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOU are a very funny lady, Ms. C!

I, too, broke up with the boyfriend just before my senior prom. He came with me anyway (in a desperate attempt to make up for the fact that he'd been treating me like shit and felt bad about that), then ended up abandoning me in the middle of the thing anyway. Someone else took me home. What. Ever.

You want to know what, though? The only thing I regret about not teaching high school (and I do mean the ONLY thing - I know what you all suffer through) is not having an opportunity to chaperone a prom. I have some GORGEOUS formal wear that, because my husband doesn't work for fancy enginnering consulting firms anymore and, as a result, doesn't get invited to fancy engineering consulting firm Christmas parties anymore, I don't get to wear. Sigh. I've got a little black number (with just the faintest hint of come-and-get-me red tulle peeking out the hem) that I lament I may never get to wear again...

At 5/4/07, 9:06 AM, Blogger MommyProf said...

That was so funny! And you are right - you really, really can't dance to Joan Jett. I am thankful every day that I am no longer in high school.

At 5/4/07, 6:28 PM, Blogger ms-teacher said...

Woman, you need to write a book. You have such a way with words. When you do (because I ain't gonna type "if") write your first book, I hope to be first in line to buy it.

I don't even want to think about my pitiful prom experience.

At 5/4/07, 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want photos uploaded by Sunday night! Hahaha...
Ms. Cornelius, you crack me up!

At 5/5/07, 2:51 PM, Blogger Dan Edwards said...

HEEE. HEEE. Have fun. I chaperroned a prom once. Had to, one of my master teachers was also a senior class advisor. As far as I recall, it went ok. Afterwards, we went and TP'ed the home of another student teacher.

I missed my own high school prom. It's hard to go, when one has no money, no drivers licence and gets scheduled to work. I could of gotten the evening off from work, but the court took my money and d.l. ......something about "speed contest engaging".... (which I won). I heard later the prom wasn't so hot anyhow.

At 5/5/07, 8:46 PM, Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

I'm scheduled to help at the eighth grade dance, which is the middle school version of a prom, next week. I never heard of an 8th grade dance until I moved to TN, but lo and beyond it is A Very Big Deal. I actually enjoy helping out because it's interesting to see the kids all cleaned up - or as my friend Rhonda put it, "you gotta see the boys when they get all P-Diddied Out."

As for what I'll wear...I don't wear dresses either and have very little that I can wear that looks decent and that I can fit into. It's a good thing that there's a number of teachers with bigger closests than I who are always offering to loan us out their formal wear for this event every year. They seem to have a lot as they have husbands who work for the very big engineering firm type places, or have to attend formal military balls. I sure as heck won't be buying anything I won't wear again!

At 5/5/07, 11:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stopped attending proms years ago. I just couldn't stand the irony of the girls looking sleek and elegant and the boys looking like distinctly uncomfortable chimps in suits.

At 5/6/07, 9:17 AM, Blogger Christy said...

This is hilarious. Sign me up to purchase your book too. Yours is my favorite blog.


At 5/6/07, 10:49 AM, Blogger graycie said...

omg, Ms. C, you and I really are sisters -- the boy who sat behind me in English was a boy I had a huge secret crush on. He casually mentioned Prom to me only once -- a week after I had accepted a pity date from a sophomore (a SOPHOMORE). His parents drove us. He thought flowers were given out at the door. I won't even think about what I looked like, except to say that I have yet to wear yellow again and I never wear my hair 'up.' We were home before midnight. It got worse, but if I write about it, I'll start to twitch.

This year is the first that I have taught seniors and I have not been approached to chaperone Prom. If anyone asks, I will run screamong out of the school and far, far away.

You are a brave, brave woman.

At 5/7/07, 9:10 AM, Blogger Goldie said...

I feel your pain. My niece is getting married in July. It's the first big wedding in our very large extended family in America (the older generation was already married with kids when we all came here, and the younger still had to grow up), so it'll be a huge event, so here I am, having to purchase a cocktail dress and a pair of matching shoes. My poor bank account is already whimpering.
Interesting analogy with the houses - I think I'd be exactly like my own house - used to be very nice, very well built, but, as years go by and Mr. Goldie is still trying to save money on repairs, dilapidation sets in. Very slowly - furniture falling apart, beat-up carpet, A/C not working too well, walls badly needing a fresh coat of paint, patches of weeds here and there, mostly in the far back where the neighbors cannot see. Yep, that's me. Let's hope I can pull off that whole dress-up look.


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