And so Cinderella went to the ball

My sixteen year old daughter has spent this afternoon preparing for her school prom. Her beautiful dress was bought months ago at a discount store; the accessories have been cobbled together from bits and pieces that either she or I already owned; the transport would have been a decorated trailer with straw bales and ribbons, organised by friends, but this became impractical when the weather turned seriously wet and windy; they will now arrive in parent’s cars. She has done her own make up and requested that I help with her hair. As neither of us has any expertise in this area, I can only hope that we have created a look that will be in some way acceptable for such an event.

I dislike this sort of ostentation with a passion. If it were marketed as a simple party then I would question the timing (GCSE exams start in earnest next week) but could shrug my shoulders and let it go. If it were a Leaver’s Do; a chance for classmates to enjoy a final get together before heading their separate ways; then I could understand the significance. However, most of the two hundred plus students attending will return to school next week to sit their GCSE’s, and be back next year to prepare for ‘A’ levels. In my mind it is an expensive, American import that does not fit with the structure of British schooling where there is no high school graduation. It is an extravagant excuse for the cool kids to flaunt and compete in the dress and beauty stakes.

I am blessed to have a very beautiful daughter. Not only is she gorgeous on the outside but she is independent, original and sassy in her thinking. Not for her the dyed blonde hair, fake tan and must have, fashion clothing. If her hair needs a wash or her legs need a wax then it is probably because she was too engrossed in her writing to think about such fripperies. If the way she looks raises negative comments then she considers such concerns to be other people’s problems. Whose business but hers is it what she looks like? Loki is her hero: ‘I do what I want!’

When she announced in the New Year that she wanted to go to prom I was a little taken aback. She generally eschews crowds, unless at a rock concert, and complains bitterly about the banal music played too loudly at disco’s, where she prefers to stand at the back drinking tea with a few close friends. Prom, with it’s pretty dresses and prettified girls (who could look so lovely without the spurious interventions), seemed the antithesis of what she would consider to be a fun night out.

Having recently cleared out her bedroom and unceremoniously dumped everything pink in favour of black, I was curious to see what sort of dress she would wish to wear. The one she found looks amazing on her, but is so different to her normal look. Still feeling a bit bah humbug about the whole event I refused to fund any purchases beyond the normal cost of a dress (kudos to her for finding a suitable garment in this price range) and the entrance ticket. Being the girl that she is, she managed to beg or borrow all that she didn’t already own and to blag a lift with some friends who had already organised their transport. Whilst I admire her resourcefulness, I am still surprised that she has chosen to attend.

Nevertheless, I helped her to get ready and provided the taxi service to get her to the required meeting point near the expensive venue where the prom is to be held. I sincerely hope that she and her friends have a fabulous evening. I think it is ridiculous that her school promotes this sort of endeavour, but am aware that there are many who find the prospect exciting and who have poured hundreds of pounds into their preparation. Perhaps my daughter wishes to witness the extravagance as much as take part; I guess even I am looking forward to seeing the photographs that she has promised to take.

For the sake of all those who are making the effort to create a memorable event, I hope that the forecast heavy rain and high winds take a break to allow for the arrivals; the competition for transport originality is often amusing if preposterous. After the anticipation, it would be such a shame if the dream of looking like a prince or princess for a night were washed and blown away by the weather before the festivities could even begin; I do not wish to see anyone’s reverie ruined.

For my daughter though, I do not believe that she has too high expectations for the evening and regards it as an excuse to party with friends. From what she has told me, many of those at her table are well grounded about the whole rigmarole; they will hopefully be able to enjoy a laugh together however it goes. I have no issue with my daughter thinking differently to me and wishing to attend. She looked stunning done up in her finery; I hope she has a ball.