Today in the library I fought the urge to smack one of my boys upside the head. Repeatedly. What was his crime? Criticizing me in front of the class? Nope. Asking a question I already answered multiple times before? Nope. He said, “I don’t know why my girlfriend’s complaining about finding a dress for prom. Just pick out a dress and buy it! What’s the big deal?”
As I restrained my arm, the girls nearby gasped and exclaimed, “You don’t know how it is!” He continued to brush it off until I sided with the girls. I never went to prom, but I do know the horrors of shopping for a dress (it ranks right up there with swimsuit shopping). Since I am a female teacher, and therefore not as silly as teenage girls, I had his full attention; he waited for me to explain why we couldn’t “just buy a dress”. I stopped as I realized that I have my reasons why, but did I really want to share them with him?
Did I really want to divulge the information that many dresses are sculpted for women who have boobs, and that I often compete with my walls for flatness? What would I use all of that extra space for? My coin purse? Kleenex? Socks in case my feet get cold? Did I really want to tell him that dresses are very tall and I am very short? That the straps are long and the top will hang down below what it’s supposed to cover? That dresses look better with cleavage? That a padded bra is ridiculous? (I can just imagine people coming up to me, “Man, those really are not yours! Are you planning on using those as pillows if you want to take a nap?”) That junior’s dresses are too young for my *ahem* mature age? That most of them are strapless, and I had nothing to hold it up? That I shop in the petites department and all of those dresses are staid and conservative? That after trying on a multitude of dresses to take on a trip to Hawaii, I ended up buying a smock at Old Navy? In my most authoritative tone, I said, “Trust me on this. Don’t take dresses lightly. Get back to work.” He shrugged as I moved on.
I moved on to another couple “researching” on the computer. They were supposed to research an event that happened between 1750 and 1850; apparently corsages were big back then. “Um, this isn’t the research I want you to do.” They nodded their heads, and the boy said, “She wants me to get her a corsage, but she wants to make me a boutonniere.” Huh. I looked around to see another one of my students passing out coupons for $30.00 off tuxedos. I heard a girl chiding her classmate who wasn’t going to go to prom, “But you HAVE to go! It’s a big deal!” I intervened to state that I never went; the chider retorted, “Don’t you regret it?!” “Nope. Get back to work.”
Prom is 25 days away. I wondered how many of them will have broken up by then; I wondered if the research paper and Pride and Prejudice could compete (I know the answer to that one, you don’t have to tell me). I didn’t care about it in high school, and I don’t care about it now. I never went, yet somehow I managed to survive, go to college, land a career, and –gasp– get married. But I don’t know how I’m going to survive teaching before prom.