Bumming About Homecoming

Are things as over-the-top at other high schools as they are in North Texas? Please let me know. It might make me feel better.  Then again, it might make me feel worse, knowing that insanity is so widespread.

I think I’ve already mentioned that my husband and I think the mums sold around here for Homecoming are… well… quite unusual. And Andy grew up in Dallas, but he doesn’t remember anything as freakish as this.  We’re talking dinner-plate-sized, with streamers that hang down to the floor.  It’s now the “tradition” that if you’re a girl, your date buys you one of these monstrosities to wear to school on the day of the football game (nothing says “I’m not going to the bathroom for seven hours” quite like a giant mum with four-foot streamers pinned to your clothes, don’t you think?)  And nothing says “over the top” quite the same or “this tradition has  snowballed and no one can stop it”.  The girls buy the guys a smaller version to wear, “garter-style” on their arms.  I’m guessing it will make the guys look like they’re in a barbershop quartet.  (Andy says it will make them look gay.)  They range in price from around $50-$100 (keep in mind, these are all  fake mums, not real!) and are a huge fundraiser for the school, but the word I’ve heard is that if you’re given a basic one, you might as well stay home from school, with all the teen angst and “shame” you will feel (some kids actually do stay home).  So guys feel a bit of pressure to “Supersize It” with extra streamers and charms.

Not only is the mum pressure on, I’m hearing lately about the pressure to “ask your date to the Homecoming dance in a special way”– like on the Jumbotron at the Rangers baseball game.  (Wait a minute, didn’t that used to be for marriage proposals?)   This fall, there have been girls asked to Homecoming via a pickup truck pulling up in front of their house with caseloads of Honey Buns in back (and a sign reading “Can I Haul Your Honey Buns to Homecoming?”); via balloons and flowers filling their bedroom when they return home from school and a message scrawled on their mirror; via a specially decorated cake; on the overhead projector in a math classroom; at the mall while on a scavenger hunt, with the boy posing as a mannequin in a store window and holding a sign; and with a basket containing a borrowed puppy and homebaked cookies sitting on the front porch.    I feel so sorry for the guys, having to think up these things, and after they go to these lengths, there’s no guarantee the girl will say yes (believe it or not, the borrowed puppy elicited a “no”).  What happened to just asking? Via one person speaking words to another person? Allison recently got asked to Homecoming via a text message, which she said was fine, but I wonder if she’s secretly disappointed…

And then there’s the “group”.  Kids just don’t go with their date to Homecoming, they go in groups.  Which I thought sounded great, especially for Freshmen.  Until I found out that not all groups are created equal, that it’s “important” which group you’re in, and the larger, the better.  And that some groups design special group T-shirts that everyone wears on gameday (naturally, to go along with their supersized mums and to make those not in a group and not going to the dance feel even more left out).  So Allison and her friends started planning their group weeks ago.  And shopped for dresses together.  And some even color coordinated.  Only now one of the girls’ dates says it’s the guy’s choice as to what group he and his date will be in, and he’s “breaking up the group”, much to the dismay of the girls.  So when Allison texted him last night that there’s nothing written anywhere that says the guys pick the group, he texted back “F___  You” to her, among other choice words.  (Gee, just when I was starting to feel sorry for the guys… now I say he can’t be in the group even if he begs back in!).

Oh, and remember photos of everyone in their dresses and suits posed in someone’s living room or front yard before they go to the dance? Forget it.  These kids want to go to sculpture gardens or Corvette dealerships to pose for theirs.  If they start talking about renting a Hummer limo, I think I will just start screaming.  All I can say is, the Texas Cheerleader Mom (remember that made-for-TV movie?) and her cronies must have started all this ridiculousness sometime between The Bangles and Beyonce’, and it has picked up steam so much that no one can really get enough people to say, “Stop it already! Can’t you see?? The emperor is naked!!!”

One year, one teen tried.  She made headlines locally because she sold red carnations at the high school as a less costly alternative to mums, and as a “badge of non-conformity”, and donated all her proceeds to a charity. I don’t think it went over too big.  At least not enough to change anything for the future.  These Texans cling so fiercely to their traditions that even the down economy can’t stop them.  (“There may be foreclosed houses around us but by golly, these kids are goin’ to Homecoming in style!”) And we have a lot of parents in this district who went to the same high school as their kids– so don’t even think about asking them to change.

I want my child to have a good high school experience just like they do– but at what price?

Stay tuned…Homecoming begins in 18 days…


18 thoughts on “Bumming About Homecoming”

  1. everything is over the top everywhere. I’m nervous about the sweet 16 parties that are coming in a year or so in our school… all the rich girls will be doing it MTV-style I’m sure…

  2. I do remember huge mums in the early 80’s, but most were real. They were very long and really pretty annoying! And the streamers were a trip hazard at the game. (that is the uncool mom in me coming out) Maybe Nina and Emmie will use their leadership powers to break the chain πŸ™‚

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