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Carrie’s Kids
Prom Crock

Primed, primmed prom drones

It’s not enough that proms are an annual celebration of the dowdy and the seedy—high school versions of what Donald Trump at his redundant tackiest and Bob Guccione in his soft-porn prime might have cooked up together as the American teen’s rite of passage into the eternal, consuming adolescence of American adulthood. Here in my neck of the sham the local school board is opening its biggest high school’s gym to a so-called “Prom Expo” next week “to benefit not only the students, but local businesses as well,” as its promoter put it on the school board’s own forum: “[B]usinesses who [sic.] offer services for prom-goers will meet face to face with [high school] students and parents. Each merchant will have a booth in the 100 Building Gym. Local florists, restaurants, clothing boutiques, rental stores, hair and nail salons and spas are offering discounts to students who attend the Expo.” Discounts, that is, from their jacked-up prom prices, and for products that have about as much to do with grace and elegance as do Jenna and Barbara Bush. But students learned somewhere in fourth or third grade that consumption is communion. To attend the “Expo,” parents and students have to pay a $5 admission fee (ah, the pleasure of paying to be a customer), allegedly to “help offset the steeply discounted prom tickets offered one night to juniors and seniors who attend the Expo.” Keep in mind that a couple of these businesses are tanning salons (what, me? Cancer?) and all of them naturally are out to prey on what proms do best: heighten insecurities and kill the slightest impulse to diverge from the night’s ritual conformism. Proms are about bulk sales, and drafting the local school board to help in scamming its own children. Missing from the Expo are the only really honest and useful “businesses” for the night: local liquor stores and a Planned Parenthood booth. But proms are also about proving that four years of high school-honed duplicity didn’t go to waste: it’s not for nothing that Tammy Faye Bakker make-up and frumpy gowns begin the night so vomit and regret can end it. This isn’t “American Graffiti.” It’s the Bonfire to the Vanities.

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