The Dorkification of the American High School Male

On April 17, 2010, this very blog wrote a number of recommendations to high school men going to proms.  Those are repeated below in the second part of this posting. 

Tonight, Kathleen and I observed many prom men and prom women when we had dinner at Ya-Ya's. I wish to add these suggestions to the original list:

No matter what you think, wearing a Kansas City Royals cap with your tuxedo makes you look like a dork. With a tux, even a Yankees hat would look stupid, but the Royals???

In 1959, pink shoelaces (see video below) might have been cool. That fad ended in 1960. Pink shoelaces, with a tux, makes you look like a dork in 2012.

Finally, I watched the three men get up and use the facilities together and leave their dates alone. Are you kidding? Using the restroom in packs makes you look like a dork!

Now, here are the rules I suggested in my original post on this subject:

Now, I know what you young men are thinking about:  What does this old guy have to say that could affect my image as a studly young man? Without recounting my history, certain things are timeless! Here is Mike's guide to being a successful prom date:

1.  Make sure your clothes fit. This may be the first suit you wear or the first tux you rent.  Some of what I saw this evening looked 3 sizes too large. Don't buy a suit to "grow into." Here is an idea:  I know that at the age where you are going to a prom, the last person you want to be with is your father. But, when it comes to this type of thing, Dads are very handy. Ask him to come along and go to a clothing store or tux rental shop on the other side of town so your friends won't see you with him.

2.  The corsage. Don't even think of pinning it on to some of these dresses! Ask your date what color she is wearing (in advance!) and present her with it, perhaps a few hours before the big evening so she can already be wearing it when you arrive. Don't forget the corsage when you go to pick up your date for the big evening. One of our sons (who shall remain nameless) forgot his date's. Fortunately, Kathleen realized what had happened and chased the son down at his first stop of the evening and got it into the car before they got to dinner.

3. Open doors for your date. She is wearing a long dress and carrying a purse. It is polite to open doors under these circumstances.

4.  At one table, the three young men were staring into space while the girls were talking on their cells phones and/or texting. I don't know which came first, but it doesn't matter. While carrying on a conversation is not an art to be learned overnight, there are a few things you can do: Buy a Sunday newspaper six days before the prom and buy a couple that week.  It will give you things that can be safely talked about.  Then, a couple of days before the prom, log onto TMZ. Girls often like celebrity news and that will get you up to speed. 

5.  During dinner, leave your cell in the car unless you are going to use it to take photos. It is rude to take a call in the middle of dinner anytime but especially during a date. Your date wants to feel she is the center of your attention.

6.  Finally, no chewing gum!  I couldn't believe young men in tuxes chewing gum. Use breath mints.

Men: Items 1-6 are basics of being a gentleman. They are their own reward whether your date notices or not.

Dads, do NOT state these to your teenage sons. Every father, to his children (at this age) is the nerdiest, uncoolest, most embarrassing person on the planet. Just cut and paste them from this blog and forward to him. Explain they are from author, entrepreneur, scientist, inventor and raconteur athlete [     ] (fill in the blank with a male your son admires).

No thanks necessary. I'm happy to help.  Enjoy the prom!


  1. Speaking of prom, I saw some comments on another weather chat forum last week (during the thick of the KS/OK tornado outbreak) stating that several high schools in Wichita that were supposed to have prom last Saturday night postponed those events due to the high risk of tornadoes. Did that happen? If so, I bet those schools are glad they did!


  2. One of AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions is HawkerBeech. They had a prom in progress at their Activities Center. They were extremely complimentary about our warnings and how it kept the kids safe and secure.


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