It is the end of an era - the final exams are over and teenagers all over Ndola are gearing up for their Graduation and, more importantly, the 'After Grad Party' next weekend!
This year the powers that be at the school (i.e. our fearless Headmistress, the dreaded Mrs Gibbs!) have decided to follow the American teenage dream - THE PROM! Since we aren't 'American' in any thing else we do here in our school, this has come as a bit of a surprise to students and parents alike and has caused a veritable frenzy of dress buying/making, hair curling/straightening, beauty salon appointments and ANGST! Lots of ANGST!
Mother's are pulling their hair out trying to provide that 'perfect' dress that says all their teenage daughter wants to say about herself, stylishly and, most importantly, differently (but the same) from everyone else! It must fit perfectly, show NO bulges, be exactly the right length and they MUST be able to actually walk in it!
Father's are pulling out cheque books, asking stupid questions like "it costs HOW much?" and "are you sure you can't just wear that lovely new skirt you bought at Christmas?" and hiding at work to avoid the inevitable fall-out such silly questions bring!
This is a whole new concept to us backward hicks! In the past, the kids just got together and had fun - usually in a favourite pair of jeans at a specially hired night club with bouncers on the door to keep the riff-raff out! As parents, our sole duty was merely to provide the funds, transport and a place for a dozen giggling girls to get 'ready' for the occasion - almost as important as the event itself!
So why has American culture invaded our school? I believe we are even to have a Prom Queen and King, just another way to tell some poor kid that they were right to believe they were un-popular despite all those confidence building 'pep talks' we gave them all through the years. One last slap down to add to the rest of their memories of their school years? I blame it on all those silly reality TV shows and teen movies that show all those silly, spoilt rich kids with their perfectly white teeth and perfectly super blonde tresses in their perfect world at their perfect prom being perfectly bitchy and nasty - something to aspire to?
BUT - I am happy to be able to say, we have found the dress! We have the perfect shoes to match and are on 'Prom count down' with enthusiasm and fingers crossed that no-one else finds a dress too similar to the girl child's, or the same ear rings perhaps, that will require another round of shopping and more teenage ANGST!
Anyone joining me for a coffee with my prozac?