Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Proms From a Tsinay Point Of View

I guess, in my family, my mother is not the best person to turn to if you need prom dresses and advice (now you can get loads of that over the net). You see, she may be a modern Chinese woman, but she grew up in China and Hong Kong, where proms were not really events to watch out for, to say the least. I really do not know if proms are already around during the time when she was in high school, and knowing that she had her high school education in Hong Kong, I certainly doubt that she has some pictures of herself and classmates in prom dresses lying around.

You see, proms are more of a Western influence, specifically American. I learned about proms from a lot of teen oriented movies back in the eighties, when the Brat Pack ruled. That's when I learned about this fabulous school party when boys get to wear tuxedoes and girls get to wear glamorous prom dresses. The leads in the movies certainly seemed to look forward to this. Of course, in the teen movies, there'd be a lot of drama associated with getting a date to the prom and with the prom itself. I found myself looking forward to that "special" day.

I went to the prom twice, once as a junior and once as a senior. Compared to the movies, it was quite a letdown. The prom was held in our school's multipurpose hall (also used as a lunch hall). The dates were preselected by the teachers (by height! And a junior girl was paired with a senior guy and vice versa) and since there were more boys than girls, some girls (including myself) had to share a date with another girl! The prom dresses during that time were also nothing to rave about. We were told to dress "semi-formally", whatever that meant. The boys wore long sleeved shirts with ties. (Oh well, that was the eighties. I now watch movies from that era for nostalgia, and I cringe at the fashions then.) Of course, my proms were unglamorous events compared to those portrayed in the movies, but then generally Pinoys (and most expecially Tsinoys) don't give as much importance as the Americans do to these shindigs.

But during the recent years, I've noticed that the proms have evolved into something more resembling the "movie proms". The events have become more formal, with boys wearing coats and ties or barongs and the girls wearing glamous ball gowns (like in prom dresses Jovani). Even glossy magazines now feature tips for proms, designs for dresses, and tips for getting dates. I guess times have changed. It would be great to be a teen right now! :)


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