Homecoming 101: Short Dresses and Stripper Poles

Some words of advice for parents of high school girls who are going to Homecoming (and this probably comes too late for most of you since we’re right in the middle of homecoming season): be prepared to spend a lot of time shopping for “just the right dress” if she’s going to the Homecoming dance, since most of the dressy dresses that have been offered in retail stores for teenage girls over the past several years don’t pass dress code.  In a school, that is.  Or probably by your own standards as well.  But they’d fit right in at a “gentleman’s club”!

I remember being amazed two years ago during Allison’s freshman year how so many dresses she tried on were so short, they didn’t pass when she stood up straight, arms hanging down at her sides to do the fingertip test– school dress code dictates that, standing that way, dresses or shorts can’t be shorter than the tips of the fingers.  Heck, these dresses were barely covering her underwear– and she’s not a tall person! And many more dresses that she tried on barely passed.  Ummm, could you maybe wear shorts with that? Pair a dress like that with the ultra high heels the girls favor these days and the look has “hooker chic” written all over it….When our exchange student shopped for a Homecoming dress with her friends last year, I forgot to remind her about “the fingertip test”, but looking back on our early language barriers, I’m not sure she would have understood anyway…  “Shocked” is only one of many words to describe how I felt when she got out of my car to walk to the “group photo shoot” at the civic center fountain on the night of the dance.  It was the first chance I’d had to really see the dress on her.  I was sure we’d be getting a phone call a few hours later when school officials would refuse her entry to the dance (we didn’t).  Another local high school had just been in the news for refusing admittance to 50 girls– here it comes again, I thought.  I was embarrassed to join the group of parents gathering to take photos (including dads, some of whom I’m sure were drooling), many whom I didn’t know since Cleo was a grade ahead of Allison.  Gee, some “host parent” I turned out to be, huh? I thought.  I wanted to raise my hand and scream, “Yep, I’m the doofus that allowed that!!!” And I also wanted to scream, “Hey, she’s European, what did you expect??”

But no, sadly, Europe is not the only place with “relaxed norms” about kids and early sexualization.  Elsewhere in American Homecoming Fun Facts, I offer you exhibit B: stripper poles.  And yes, I get the doofus parent award once again… 

Years ago, I heard about the growing popularity of renting party buses for Homecoming and the “poles” on board.  Kids go to dinner and then the dance (and often, an “after-dance event”) in groups, and some rent expensive party buses to get them from place to place and split the cost 15, 20 or even 30 ways, depending on the size of the group.  And I’d heard that sometimes girls got “carried away” with the poles on board.  But as I’m hearing this I’m picturing a painted up school bus, like the Partridge Family bus or the On the Border restaurant bus that used to tool around downtown Dallas at lunch, providing free transportation to hungry office workers. And I’m thinking the poles are just jokingly called “stripper poles” by the kids, and that they’re actually the narrow metal poles usually located at a couple places on the sides of bus aisles, for people to hold onto if they can’t find a seat, and I’m thinking that girls can’t put on much of a show with those.  And besides, I’m thinking that surely there’s an adult on the bus besides the driver…What a doofus I am!  Recently when planning an event, I looked at party bus websites for the first time.  And you know what? They’re not painted up school buses.  They’re large luxury “limo vans” or motor coaches…and you know what else?  Almost every bus rental company proudly lists “stripper pole” as a feature on each of its buses…and from the photos I saw, the poles are not meant to steady yourself if you can’t find a seat, they’re not located along the sides.  They’re often right in the middle of a semi-circle of bench seats, so the “audience” is surrounding it, ready for a short-dress show. (Check out an example of a typical party bus by clicking here.) And, parent chaperones are either not present for the evening at all or ride in cars near the bus, so they have no idea what’s going on inside.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do all these supposedly conservative parents here in North Texas not know that the inside of these buses/Hummer limos not only have stripper poles, but that they look like something off Girls Gone Wild, with “Flat Screen Plasma TVs, Surround Sound Audio System, Wrap
Around Leather Seating, Wet Bars, Colored Lights, DVD/CD/MP3 Players, Ice Cold A/C, Wood Floors, and Ample Cup Holders”?   No, I’m not saying that all the kids are giving each other lap dances while on board– I’m saying why give your money to a company that doesn’t mind if they do? I’ve heard enough stories to know that those kids are not all sitting on there singing camp songs… why give kids the opportunity to “perform” in that way?

I went through page after page of party bus websites.  Is there no bus rental company that offers anything a little more toned down? Well, one did offer a bus with a “removable pole”, but based on my past record of naivete’, it probably is removable so it can convert to a limbo contest…

5 thoughts on “Homecoming 101: Short Dresses and Stripper Poles”

  1. Ha! I wish I’d seen this a year ago BEFORE the same experience with my oldest at prom. I’m a good mom and thought to ask all the reasonable questions ahead of time about the party bus…who would be there, alcohol wouldn’t be, etc etc. Who knew that I needed to ask would there be stripper poles involved??!!?! Sheer craziness! Good grief.

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