Just another prom prop

FLINT – What I don’t understand about the female species could fill a 100 gigabyte flash drive. And yet I always discover something more that I didn’t realize I didn’t understand.

Case in point: The lovely yet formidable Marcia’s Facebook post early last Saturday: “Prom day. Lots to do.”

Not her prom, of course, although I think she’d still love to go to a prom if she could. They ought to have those for adults, complete with crepe paper streamers and a balloon arch. There’s a business in there somewhere.

This prom was Annie’s, our 16-year-old daughter who regularly – and with Marcia’s support – ignores my decree that she not date until either she’s 65 or I’m dead.

As a guy, the “lots to do” comment puzzled me because, frankly, what could be left? The two of them had already spent the past month figuring out every last detail of “her look.” They were incredibly thorough. In fact, if we ever need someone to organize an invasion of North Korea, I highly suggest the government contact these two.

Nothing was left to chance. They spent the weekends shopping for, analyzing, then ultimately rejecting approximately 4,321 dresses before settling on one that, while a MAJOR disappointment was the best they could do considering they didn’t start the process when Annie was 12. On top of that they spent the evenings scouring magazines and talking about her hair, her jewelry, her shoes, her makeup. They agonized over the smallest of details, from the right hue of polish to put on her fingernails and toenails to what kind of “bling” they would add to her hair, including numerous pieces of backup bling in case the first-string bling – a headband and butterfly clip rhinestones – didn’t look quite right on game night, which it didn’t.

“That’s why you always have to have backup bling,” said Marcia.

I took her word for it, just as she has to take my word for it that a baseball team needs a good bullpen.

On Prom Day itself, Annie and the other girls she was going with began getting dressed at approximately 4:30 in the morning, although I could be wrong about that since I was sleeping. But I do know that the process of applying hair and makeup began around the noon hour and ended at 5:30 p.m., or approximately 15 minutes after the customary parental paparazzi photo shoot was scheduled to begin.

While we waited for the girls, out of curiosity I asked one of the girls’ dates – who was waiting downstairs rocking on his heels and pulling at his collar as guys in tuxedos have done since proms were invented – how long it had taken him to get ready.

“About 10 minutes,” he said with a shrug.

So times haven’t changed apparently. When I went to prom, my mom bought the boutonniere and rented my tux, which I threw on 15 minutes before leaving the house. It’s not that I didn’t care how I looked, it’s that I didn’t care all that much – certainly not as much as my date, who had been preparing for the dance since, and this is a conservative estimate, birth.

Women often ask why guys are like this and they sometimes think it’s because we’re lazy. I can’t say they’re wrong. Looking nice is indeed a hassle, especially when you’re a teen. But I don’t think it’s nearly as much that as it is a deep, intuitive understanding on the part of guys that proms aren’t about us. They’re about the girl, and we’re just props.

Think of it this way, ladies. We’re not lazy, we’re just practicing for our wedding day.

EDITOR’S NOTE – Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Write to Andrew Heller at andrewhellercolumn@gmail.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.