In 1979, my date for the senior prom appeared at the front door proudly wearing a baby blue tuxedo, and at the time I didn’t think much of the pastel hue or of the fact that he was wearing his running shoes. I didn’t know then that if I had a daughter whose prom date might make a statement with his sneakers, that they would surely be Nike, and that she wouldn’t be driven in the family station wagon to the high school gymnasium, but in a shiny chartered bus with 20 other couples to an event venue in the city.
“This isn’t your mom’s prom,” became my mantra last spring, jokingly directed at my daughter who was celebrating her last prom as a senior in high school. The past four years of dances were startling in their excess, and every year I insisted that she could apply her own make-up and could not possibly be the plainest girl at the prom because her hair wasn’t braided and carefully folded under into today’s version of a French twist. Four years of formal wear shopping can wear a mom down, and I found myself in a local hair salon last April, spellbound by the artistry of the stylist applying make-up to my daughter’s face. And although applying make-up doesn’t fall into the traditional category of artist, create art she did, using the cleansed skin of my daughter as her canvas.
Makeup by Keri Campbell, Davao Hair Studio
As the group of seniors gathered later that day, I noticed there wasn’t a pastel tuxedo or plaid cummerbund to be found, and no one was wearing borrowed evening gowns, dyed pumps, or running their fingers through the hot ironed curls of my era. But after the much anticipated parental photo shoot concluded, and as the couples slowly filed to their luxury bus in a lingering whisper of laughter, four decades were instantly erased, and I realized that maybe this was a mother’s prom, after all.