Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Prom and the pursuit of "perfection"

One of my wife's colleagues at school has a daughter who is the same age as Youngest Son. She went to Youngest Son's prom this past weekend (and not with Youngest Son).

So my wife and her colleague had something to talk about over lunch yesterday.

"We saw your daughter and her boyfriend at Mass on Sunday," Long Suffering Spouse reported. "They looked pretty tired."

"Well, I'm not surprised. They were at a 'sleepover' at the Abbots' house." She made air quotes as she said "sleepover." (The Abbots are another family in the parish; they also have a son who is shortly to graduate from Youngest Son's high school.)

Long Suffering Spouse and her colleague compared notes: The "sleepovers" attended by the other teacher's daughter and by Youngest Son had about the same numbers of boys and girls. My wife's colleague was not thrilled about the arrangements, though she holds Mr. and Mrs. Abbot in high regard and was confident that they were properly vigilant. "I don't know why the kids were so insistent about turning this into such a big deal," my wife's colleague said. "After all --"

"It's just a dance!" Long Suffering Spouse chimed in simultaneously and they both laughed.

"And they're never satisfied," continued my wife's colleague. "The dress, the limo, the nails, the hair. Something. My daughter was complaining this morning that she hated her hair."

The discussion turned to the prom this Friday night. This one is for the girls' school that the daughter of Long Suffering Spouse's colleague attends. The other teacher reported that some of the her daughter's friends are taking two days off from school, one before and one after, one to prepare and one to accommodate a trip to the Wisconsin Dells after the event. "And they still won't be happy," my wife's colleague concluded.

"The problem," my wife said, "is expectations. No matter how nice things are, nothing can meet their unrealistic expectations. They want it all to be perfect."

"There will always be something to ruin everything!" said my wife's colleague, intentionally lapsing into teen-speak. They both laughed again.

The best times are usually had when least expected. Put another way, it's hard to plan to have a good time. Eventually, we learn that one can make plans for something pleasant, but we can't summon a good time any more than we can command that the skies clear and the sun shine. Meanwhile, until we learn that hard truth, human nature tends to freight all our plans with impossible hopes. The least important flaws -- the pimple that erupts on prom morning, the bangs that won't stay down -- are magnified wholly out of proportion.

Long Suffering Spouse wisely refrained from mentioning that the expectations problem gets even worse when planning a wedding. My wife's colleague's daughter is her oldest child; she'll find this out in her own good time.

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

ha ha ha, she certainly will!

smiles, bee