It was my daughter’s Senior prom the other night. She looked beautiful (like always), she acted beautifully (like never), and it got me thinking (also rare) about how much things have changed since I was a teenager. We didn’t have limos back then. I drove just me and my prom date (not 28 other kids) in my ’72 Chevy Impala with the ten foot wide bench seat. Well, at least that’s how we would have gotten to the prom if I went to the prom. I didn’t go. Because I didn’t have a date.
And that too has changed. My daughter and about five of her friends went dateless and they had a blast. In my day if you didn’t have a date, you didn’t go. That’s just the way it was. Also, no girl would go with you if she didn’t like you in that way. No matter how much you begged. And I begged. But at my daughter’s prom there were a lot of girls with guys who will never so much as get the time of day from these girls ever again. It’s such a strange phenomenon.
Anyway, my wife and I went to the park to take pictures of our daughter and all her friends prior to them being limo-ed to the prom. They were all so beautiful. The parents kvelled. One experienced dad told me, “Just do whatever your kid asks of you and say she looks beautiful. Nothing else.” Wish he had told me that before I innocently said, “Hey Honey, you look just like Natalie Portman.” Apparently, that’s not who she wanted to look like. After wiping her tears, and reapplying her make-up (after spending $70 to have it done! “$70?!” I screamed earlier. Also a mistake), I just kept calling her beautiful. I do, on rare occasions, learn from my mistakes.
So off they went. Us grown-ups went out to eat and drink a much-need Margarita (or two), and the next day (after an all-girl sleepover, or so I choose to believe) they returned. We debriefed, heard the highlights (dancing and laughing), the lowlights (some guy threw up on my daughter’s friend), and then my wife showed my daughter the pictures she took. And then the teenaged insecurities came out. “I look FAT!!! No wonder I didn’t have a date!!!” And off to her room she ran, leaving my wife and I in a bewildered state, called parenthood.
And that’s when I realized, that nothing really ever changes. Teenage insecurity will never go away. It gets passed down from generation to generation. And then it morphs into adult insecurity. Just ask my wife. Right, Honey? “What? No! I didn’t mean anything by that.” And…now off runs my wife to her room. To quote the late, great Chris Farley: “Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!”