Prom-pt Preparation

As you attentive readers already know, I went to The Prom on June 1. Last week, of course, I complained about the high cost of Prom, but I should probably point out, for the sake of accuracy (there’s a phrase I don’t use too often) that I actually only had to pay a little over $100: $27.50 for my ticket, $50.00 for the tuxedo, and various costs throughout the evening, such as post-Prom dinner at Denny’s and a pack of gum for My Date, who determined, with no one’s help, that her breath stunk.

This is considerably better than what a lot of people had to pay. For instance, my friend, whose name is Nick but whom we will refer to in this column as Rico in order to save him embarrassment, had a total Prom cost of — and I am not making this cost up — $1375. One must take into account, however, the fact that Rico also had a car accident on the way home.

Anyway, many people, and I suppose this is natural, go absolutely nutso the week before Prom. I know girls do, because they have to start getting dressed a week before Prom. I have heard many stories about parents having to slip food under the bathroom door on a tray to their daughters, who have been secreted in there for four or five days, spraying each individual strand of hair with enough hair spray to destroy every ozone layer from here to Neptune.

Guys don’t do that, of course. Guys take a shower (chemical make-up: four parts water, one part cologne), shave (whether it’s necessary or not), apply deoderant and some more cologne, comb their hair, put on their tuxes, dab on a little cologne, borrow some spending money from their parents, make sure they put on some cologne, and, finally, put on some cologne.

The only major sign of Male Nervousness is what is commonly referred to by Promologists as Wanna-See-My-Tux? Syndrome. This is where, during the week before Prom, every guy asks all of his visiting guy friends if they would like to See His Tux, apparently in the hopes that, by some freak of tailoring, his tux doesn’t look exactly like every other tux that has ever been made since the dawning of time. I must have looked at — and I am probably guilty of understatement when I say this — 14 million tuxedoes the week before Prom.

I did not suffer from Wanna-See-My-Tux? Syndrome. The only nervous-type thing I did was to go out and purchase, at the bargain price of $3.50, a hairstyle. I have badly been in need of one for about 16 years now, and I decided that, what the heck, it is The Prom and all, so I may as well do something about my hair. The picture at the top of this column is an old one, so you can see what it used to look like. Now, I look exactly like Pat Riley, only not as rich.

Many guys saw themselves in my description of "Wanna-See-My-Tux? Syndrome," and they laughed gleefully at my muse.

The column was actually printed twice, sort of. The first time, on June 26, it was printed but due to a production error, only about half of it appeared on the page. The next week, the paper ran the whole thing again, along with an apology for screwing it up the first time. Many people were fired. (I kid, of course. No one was ever fired from that nickel-and-dime operation.)