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swimmermom3

Trying to be gracious about prom

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Have you talked with the other parents? As parents we were in communication as to what was going on with preparations for the prom.

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I've been following this, because I really hoped that sanity would prevail after a conversation or two. I guess not. :( I thought surely she was just being a little self-absorbed, but when she understood that he really and truly can't afford it she'd be sweet about the whole thing and have a great time in the Magical World of Reality where nice boys are worth more than fancy cars. But no. She thinks fancy cars are worth more than nice boys. Huh.

 

Has anybody coined the term, "Promzilla?"

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What I read in the OP is an imbalance of what she is expecting and what she is willing to pay for. Her ds seems hesitant to see it as a necessary expense. IMO, that's a mature viewpoint. Boys shouldn't be coerced into paying more than they can afford or their parents are willing to budget for a one evening event.

 

Using the old analogy, if all of your friends jumped off the cliff, would you? There is not standard minimum protocol for a prom, I believe that is what many of us are responding to, that prom can't somehow be a memorable experience without all the bells and whistles. If a person is important enough to take to prom, they should be important enough to have a conversation and a compromise about what the prom event means to them.

 

I don't disagree with you that this girl is behaving poorly. If she wants a prom that her boyfriend cannot afford, then she should step up to the plate herself. She can babysit, find a part-time job, or ask her affluent parents for help if they share the same values re the importance of this prom. I was simply commenting on the original post that made it seem (IMO) that the expectations for prom were unreasonable when, from my perspective, they were completely within the bounds of normal at my middle class public school 20+ years ago.

 

I also agree that if this girl was really into him, she likely would be more willing to compromise. I wouldn't want my son to drop a ton of money (that it sounds like he doesn't really have) on a girl who likely doesn't care for him in the same way he does her. I am sure that this must be very painful for the OP and her son, but I agree that it is likely a good lesson about finding someone who respects you and your limitations.

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I've been following this, because I really hoped that sanity would prevail after a conversation or two. I guess not. :( I thought surely she was just being a little self-absorbed, but when she understood that he really and truly can't afford it she'd be sweet about the whole thing and have a great time in the Magical World of Reality where nice boys are worth more than fancy cars. But no. She thinks fancy cars are worth more than nice boys. Huh.

 

:iagree: well said, Tibbie

 

Has anybody coined the term, "Promzilla?"

 

:lol: I'm shocked there isn't already a reality show!

 

 

Lisa, I'm so sorry your son is going through this, and so sorry you have to watch him be hurt. :grouphug:

He may learn a really important lesson about relationships, though, that may save him a lot of heartache — and money — down the road.

 

Jackie

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Where is the emoticon with the dropping jaw?

 

What I want to know is how many of these kids are borrowing money for college. One would think that they could have a grand time on $100 and put the rest toward their educations. $1000 won't pay for a semester of college but $1000 less debt is a good thing.

 

Jane the Curmudeon

 

Tuition for the state university that my boys attend is $3500/semester. $1000 is just a bit more than 1/3 of that!!!

 

We don't spend that kind of money very easily. I did not buy a dishwasher when mine broke because I decided I could wash the dishes by hand for a whole lot less, and we could put that money towards paying off the farm.

 

No, spending money like that just doesn't happen in my world. I don't care if others have the money and they want to spend it that way. It just isn't how we live. If the people we associate with don't understand, it isn't going to change how we do things. I can't make my budget like the Washington D.C. -- we have to pay what we borrow.

 

J

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Well. This is just the stink. I'm sorry. I hope she one day realizes how lucky she was to have such a dear and caring boyfriend.

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I am curious to know about the conversations between her and her dad.

 

Yeah, that's part of why I put what I did at the end. This girl is apparently out of control on the spending front. If her dad can't reign her in, will her boyfriend or husband be able to???

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What a silly girl! We've all seen better proms on much less money. Particularly one of the most romantic proms ever - Zack and Kelly's Prom.

 

344335.jpg

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I am curious to know about the conversations between her and her dad.

 

Yeah, that's part of why I put what I did at the end. This girl is apparently out of control on the spending front. If her dad can't reign her in, will her boyfriend or husband be able to???

 

 

I wouldn't assume that the girl is "out of control on the spending front." I would assume that her father can afford to buy her whatever she wants, so she doesn't think about how much she spends.

 

I could be mistaken, but based on my own experiences, I would seriously doubt that the father has tried to reign her in. He and the mom probably assume it's Lisa's ds's responsibility to pay for the prom, so I doubt he'd receive any support on that front. Unless they are absolutely crazy about Lisa's ds, they would probably tell their dd to find a new boyfriend if Lisa's ds can't afford to give her the Dream Night she wants.

 

OTOH, the parents may be lovely people, and the dd is getting her grand ideas from her ditzy friends. You just never know!

 

Whatever the case, I think Lisa's ds should put her to the test about this whole prom thing, and see how she reacts. I keep thinking that she's using him.

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Gasp. She sounds like a real piece of work! Your son sounds so sweet and sensible.

 

This sounds like one of those learning experiences that you know your kid has to work through, but you'd sure rather he not have to! No matter how it turns out, he's learning about relationships and finances and communication . . . and hopefully, those lessons will ULTIMATELY help him grow to be an even wiser man. We learn more from our mistakes than our successes. If he blows his savings on this and spends the summer scraping quarters out of the couch cushions when he wants to go to the pool . . . well, he'll remember, and he sounds like the kind of kid who WILL learn from this.

 

So, I'd try to squeeze my eyes tight and just support and hug him . . . and, if you can afford it, then help him out later this summer by throwing some good honest work his way to help him rebuild that savings. I wouldn't just pony up the $$ for the prom, but I might just find some big yard projects that need doing and that I'm willing to pay him for . . .

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What a silly girl! We've all seen better proms on much less money. Particularly one of the most romantic proms ever - Zack and Kelly's Prom.

 

344335.jpg

 

I seriously puffy heart LOVE you! My favorite show of my upper elementary, jr. high, and high school years. I even watched the college edition. I was Team Zack 100% and Jesse was my favorite girl on the show.

 

Sorry for the hijack, but I just had to share in the Saved by the Bell love!

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I wouldn't assume that the girl is "out of control on the spending front." I would assume that her father can afford to buy her whatever she wants, so she doesn't think about how much she spends.

 

I could be mistaken, but based on my own experiences, I would seriously doubt that the father has tried to reign her in. He and the mom probably assume it's Lisa's ds's responsibility to pay for the prom, so I doubt he'd receive any support on that front. Unless they are absolutely crazy about Lisa's ds, they would probably tell their dd to find a new boyfriend if Lisa's ds can't afford to give her the Dream Night she wants.

 

OTOH, the parents may be lovely people, and the dd is getting her grand ideas from her ditzy friends. You just never know!

 

Whatever the case, I think Lisa's ds should put her to the test about this whole prom thing, and see how she reacts. I keep thinking that she's using him.

 

 

I don't expect that the Dad will help, but the girl did say the only thing he talks to her about is $$$. So he is aware she is spending too much. Does he do something about it? I don't know.

 

What I said in the end was Lisa should hope that her son goes to a different college than this girl and the relationship doesn't continue to marriage because obviously the dad hasn't reigned her in and if he can't does boyfriend or husband stand a chance? Dad's obviously tried and failed, hard to know exactly what he has done, since most dads would have the power to succeed.

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You son sounds like a gem.

 

I have all boys, and we have spent a pretty penny on dances and prom. It is sort of shocking.

 

However, I do tend to feel the weight of what is 'expected.' I would probably just tell my sons not to invite a girl to the prom if he couldn't more or less do what boys are expected to do. That would include the tux (really, all the boys wear them here, except for a few that go stag and want to draw attention to how cool and radical they are, lol). That would also include the tickets and dinner somewhere with their friends. Frankly I would rather pay for the restaurant then host the group, and I do think it is normal that she wants to do something with her group of friends. But if what he chooses is dinner hosted by his parents, that seems ok to me.

 

I guess thd bottom line for me, though, is that this is going to be a bit expensive even if you economize on dinner. That is just the cost of doing business. I wish the whole prom culture would change, but it is what it is and this girl didn't create it. She has expectations based on the norm where she is. Part of me thinks your son shouldn't have asked her if he wasn't prepared to operate within those norms. But since this is a girlfriend, I guess it would be hard not to ask her.

 

As a parent I would try to help him reduce some costs but then to pay for the others.

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Gently, be prepared. The update makes the young lady sound like some of the girls I went to high school with who treated boys as their own personal ATM's for the mall, the prom, the homecoming dance, their birthdays, Christmas, you name it. My 18 year old nephew is currently engaged to such a girl. It's frightening to watch. She is ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL about the money spent on her. Very high maintenance and any time he says he can't afford this or that, she threatens to leave him. He's immature enough to somehow think she really loves him. It's maddening to watch.

 

The girls I knew, generally dumped the young man after the prom...nearly, always and especially if they thought they could "trade up" for a more well endowed boy...one that recently got a better car or truck, or whose parents bought a nicer home, or the boy that got a better job, or.....you get the picture. They weren't attached to any of their boyfriends at all. They were attached to the idea of "boyfriend to adore me and spend lots of money on me."

 

I hope your son weathers this well. My cousin's boy had it happen to him, but thankfully going away to college put him in with a different crowd of young ladies and now, as a college senior, he is engaged to a lovely, peach of a young woman whom we all adore and are thrilled to welcome to the family.

 

Faith

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A bit off-topic, but the reference to the pic-nic table prom on TV reminded me of this....

One of DH and my first dates (we were 16 and 17)- probably about 4 dates in - he surprised me with a dinner in his room. Kinda odd- but he has 4 siblings who would have been all over us if we were in the dining room... Anyway - he set it up like a restaurant - flowers, candles, nice china, and cooked the whole meal. He asked his neighbor for help with the recipes :) He spent the evening going between the room and the kitchen serving me a 4 course meal and dessert. His mom later told me (after we were engaged) she had never seen him act like that, never seen him care so much and try so hard. She said she thought then that I was "it" for him.

It was truly one of the most romantic things I've ever experienced - and not because the food was perfect or the décor was gorgeous - but because of all the time and love he put in to it.

 

OP - your son sounds like he could be this guy if he finds the right girl who will look on his time and love as being 10,000 times more important than his money.

 

Hang in there <<<hugs>>>

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What saddens me is that lower income teens may be priced out of a special experience. My prom didn't cost very much, but that was a long time ago. My boyfriend and I split the costs. I loved the prom even without all the extras that are now considered essential.

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Danestress I just cannot wrap my brain around your post. Should men not propose if they are not able to give their wife a wedding of usual size? I think the average wedding these days is $28k. Are bridezillas and promzillas an acceptable part of culture as they are just want what has come to be expected these days? Are you supposed to spend what is "normal" regardless of how much you can actually afford? I always thought it was considered bad manners to complain about such things. People of all income brackets should be able to enjoy proms and weddings and other special occasions, the amount of money spent on such things should be secondary. I'd have a hard time if this was my son's girlfriend because my thoughts about her at this point would not be good. Hopefully she wakes up and realizes what a gem of a young man he is or he realizes that perhaps he deserves to be more appreciated.

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Danestress I just cannot wrap my brain around your post. Should men not propose if they are not able to give their wife a wedding of usual size? I think the average wedding these days is $28k.

 

Nope. Just because some people expect something doesn't make it a rule. Lots of people have tiny weddings on the cheap, including my own son. Their wedding, their choices. Figuring this out is part of getting married. But the proposal is "let's get married.'. Not 'would you like to have a wedding with me."

 

An invitation to a prom implies that certain things will happen. What those things are may vary place to place. Here, it would include the boy showing up in what all the other boys wear - which is to say a tux. Jeans won't do. A suit would make a kid stand out like a sore thumb, and I would feel badly for a girl who didn't know her date was going to show up in a suit. Elsewhere that may be different. But if I were the OP I wouldn't just send him in a suit without checking.

 

I do think dinner out is also expected, though dinner in a home would certainly count, and a lot of families here do that, but typically for a group of kids.

 

Like I said, I have three sons. I hate the whole prom scene, but if my son wants to take a girl, he is going to do the basics - dress appropriately, take her to dinner, and for our family, buy the tickets.. If he wanted to go in casual wear and not have to pay for a meal and an extra ticket, I would suggest he go with guy friends (which one of my sons did one year). That said, we were the ones who paid for the tux and tickets.

 

Maybe I am old fashioned. I don't expect all dates to be paid for by a boy. I don't expect boys to have to date at all. But I want my boys to know how to treat a girl very well, and prom night is a good time to practice that. If he had a steady girl and they worked out some other agreement, great. But the fall back position for me is that If you ask a girl to the prom, you are asking her to dinner and will dress appropriately.

 

I will say that those were ridiculously expensive tickets, and I don't think a limo is necessary or expected, and I actually think it is tacky.

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What saddens me is that lower income teens may be priced out of a special experience. My prom didn't cost very much, but that was a long time ago. My boyfriend and I split the costs. I loved the prom even without all the extras that are now considered essential.

 

What really sickens me is that the local school districts (the two closest to us) decided to have "upscale" graduations. The kids have to pay $500.00 in order to walk. Otherwise, their diplomas are mailed to them. The $500.00 gets their name in the paper (not an expensive adventure for the school since the locally owned one does this FOR FREE, but they advertise it to parents as though it costs them a bundle to run an article), 8 tickets to graduation (no, you cannot invite more than 12 people due to seating issues), 8 graduation invites and 12 graduation announcements (professionally done and probably they cost $3.00 each if purchased separately), your diploma, an embossed presentation folder, one red rose, one 8x10 photo, and cap/gown combo. It's a rip off. The graduation doesn't look any more "upscale" than they used to be, the music is still provided free by the school band, the school choir sings, and the special speakers are local community leaders that do it for free too! Nobody is paying to have the governor talk! It's ridiculous. Of course, lower income kids can't afford this and stay home. Makes.my.blood.boil.

 

Faith

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But I want my boys to know how to treat a girl very well, and prom night is a good time to practice that.

 

I am puzzled by this statement. Yes, I agree that boys should learn to treat girls well, but I disagree that the artificial situation "prom" is any way to practice this or has any connection with the reality of man "treating a woman well".

 

When I think about ways my husband "treats me very well", respect, support, empathy, care, responsibility come to mind - but dressing up in fancy clothing and spending large amounts of money (large as in: out of proportion for our income) on an outing do not enter the picture.

 

I do not believe that spoiling a girl on prom night is any practice for "treating a girl very well".

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Danestress I just cannot wrap my brain around your post. Should men not propose if they are not able to give their wife a wedding of usual size? I think the average wedding these days is $28k. Are bridezillas and promzillas an acceptable part of culture as they are just want what has come to be expected these days? Are you supposed to spend what is "normal" regardless of how much you can actually afford? I always thought it was considered bad manners to complain about such things. People of all income brackets should be able to enjoy proms and weddings and other special occasions, the amount of money spent on such things should be secondary. I'd have a hard time if this was my son's girlfriend because my thoughts about her at this point would not be good. Hopefully she wakes up and realizes what a gem of a young man he is or he realizes that perhaps he deserves to be more appreciated.

 

I had a similar reaction. Just b/c we live in a culture that does not respect fiscal responsibility, saving, and avoiding unnecessary debt does not mean that the culture is correct. It makes me cringe b/c just look around. Teen unemployment is at an all time high. College grads are struggling to find jobs. Full-level employment is a blessing in this economy. Suggesting that simply b/c it is the "cultural thing to do" means it is a perfectly acceptable request is turning a blind eye to the fiscal reality these teens face.

 

It is one thing to have a good time within your budget. It is completely another to go into significant debt for just pleasure. (and $400 for a teen is sign debt.)

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I am puzzled by this statement. Yes, I agree that boys should learn to treat girls well, but I disagree that the artificial situation "prom" is any way to practice this or has any connection with the reality of man "treating a woman well".

 

When I think about ways my husband "treats me very well", respect, support, empathy, care, responsibility come to mind - but dressing up in fancy clothing and spending large amounts of money (large as in: out of proportion for our income) on an outing do not enter the picture.

 

I do not believe that spoiling a girl on prom night is any practice for "treating a girl very well".

 

 

Thank you!

 

I think my boys get more practical experience in this with their interactions with the gals on our rocket team, in our 4-H club, on the church worship team, and in my parents' place of business when they help out there, than they would at the prom. The prom is an artificial environment that has no resemblance to day to day life. In terms of formal manners, we teach those at home and they are prepared to go to a four star restaurant, dress appropriately, pull out a chair, hold the door, treat their companion like a lady, and all of those "chivalrous" actions that many women hold near and dear.

 

I don't think there is anything about prom that is integral to teaching a boy to be a gentleman. Having successfully raised a wonderful young lady without a prom, a homecoming dance, a Snowball, or a Coutillion, I have to say I don't think there is anything integral about a prom for the female either. All of the necessary character development can take place without spending scads of money on non-real world experiences.

 

A prom is a luxury. One should be very careful about placing expectations on others to provide luxuries.

 

Faith

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I'll be the outlier here. I think that prom is kind of a ritual, with certain elements that are 'normal'. Those are the tux, the fancy dress, some kind of elegant transportation, dinner out with friends, and maybe some kind of after party. If you're going to do the prom, do the prom. If you are not, then don't. This girl will probably spend more than the budget for the boy on her dress and shoes, (maybe special hair and makeup, too) and she won't blink an eye because of the significance of this particular ritual. (And because her family does not worry about money.) There are certain things that people expect from relationships, and participating in rituals of this type are among those things.

 

It sounds like, as is often the case, the girls in this situation have looked forward to this a lot more than the boys have. They have imagined it, they have dreamed of it, they have considered the options and planned out something more or less perfect, and that they hope for and look forward to with great, eager anticipation.That's the real conflict here. She values this experience, this ritual, very highly and considers it one of the 'normal parts' of a good relationship. He views it as optional and negotiable. There are ways to compromise on this, but prom is something they will both look back on as unique for the rest of their lives. My view is that they should figure out ways to make it very special, and if they can manage it, to overspend on it. It's the ritual.

 

So if it were me, if they are going to pay twice as much for a big limo, find some other couples to share with and rent two limos to reduce the cost per couple. Or maybe they could rent a few Lincoln Town Cars or something similar and ask older siblings to be drivers for the evening, or borrow classic cars likewise. These are all options that fulfil the ritual without breaking the bank. DS might be able to find an inexpensive tux for purchase at the Nordstrom Rack. If he is more or less stable in size, he will be able to use a classic tux for quite a few years and it won't cost much more than a rental--maybe even less. If they are going to have a dinner party at a parent's house, it should be very special--a variety of foods, beautifully presented, full privacy, outstanding service.

 

The weight of expectations on this is very high. If you can support this, I would do so. I understand that your values are different, but the hopes of this girl for this evening are well within the norm. In my opinion, fulfilling the ritual is important, AS WELL AS not breaking the bank is important. ONLY thinking about price implies that the ritual is not important. That's really the issue.

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I may be derailing the thread (again) but I see this whole prom thing as a symptom of cultural artifice and financial irresponsibility.

 

It is my hope that a group of students somewhere gets together for an Anti-prom. Have a potluck dinner, wear jeans if you want or vintage clothing from the thrift shop. Rent bicycles-built-for-two for transportation. Have Mom and Aunt Lulu pull out their old tablecloths and light up the tiki candles.

 

Yeah, yeah. My hippie roots are showing.

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An invitation to a prom implies that certain things will happen. What those things are may vary place to place. Here, it would include the boy showing up in what all the other boys wear - which is to say a tux. Jeans won't do. A suit would make a kid stand out like a sore thumb, and I would feel badly for a girl who didn't know her date was going to show up in a suit. Elsewhere that may be different. But if I were the OP I wouldn't just send him in a suit without checking.

 

 

Maybe I am old fashioned. I don't expect all dates to be paid for by a boy. I don't expect boys to have to date at all. But I want my boys to know how to treat a girl very well, and prom night is a good time to practice that. If he had a steady girl and they worked out some other agreement, great. But the fall back position for me is that If you ask a girl to the prom, you are asking her to dinner and will dress appropriately.

 

 

An invitation to prom to me implies going to prom to me. Treating a girl like a lady to me has nothing to do with the amount of money spent. I'd say his behavior is the epitome of being a gentlemen. I wouldn't want to reinforce this skewed cultural perception that money= respect, love, etc. As 8 stated our country is a financial mess, "normal" is not working very well for "us" right now.

 

I do agree however that of course they should discuss what they are doing together, that is a good chance to practice communication.

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I am puzzled by this statement. Yes, I agree that boys should learn to treat girls well, but I disagree that the artificial situation "prom" is any way to practice this or has any connection with the reality of man "treating a woman well".

 

When I think about ways my husband "treats me very well", respect, support, empathy, care, responsibility come to mind - but dressing up in fancy clothing and spending large amounts of money (large as in: out of proportion for our income) on an outing do not enter the picture.

 

I do not believe that spoiling a girl on prom night is any practice for "treating a girl very well".

 

 

Knowing how to dress appropriately to a given situation is part of growing up. DH and I have occasion to attend all sorts of functions. It is important to know which one needs a suit, which one needs a floor length ball gown and which one needs crisp aloha. If dh took me out to an expensive French restaurant for my birthday wearing an aloha shirt when I had dressed up and had my hair done, I might not feel cherished. (Actually dh and I notice this at restaurants all the time, when a couple or a few couples are out and the girls have gotten very dressed up while the guys are wearing tshirts. We always wonder what each side thinks is going on. Maybe the guy isn't being considerate? Or maybe the girl is presuming that it's a higher stake date than it really is?)

 

I think a lot of the tension in this particular situation is that there may not have been an invitation, since the op's ds and the girl are dating. If I had a steady boyfriend in high school, I would have assumed that we were attending school dances together or not at all. Having said that, I think that it's not thoughtful or courteous to mandate that someone spend a lot of money on you because only that will make you happy. While dh dresses up to take me out to high scale restaurants, we've also done birthdays and anniversaries at Chinese and Mexican restaurants, reset several birthdays by a month because we weren't in a position to celebrate, and done with just a phone call (and counted ourselves lucky to have that).

 

I feel for both kids. The end of senior year has a double scoop of angst. It is pretty tough to tell your girl that what she wants isn't what you want (especially if it would also mean sticking out within your group of friends). I went to my senior prom solo, because no one asked me. My parents and grandmother dropped me off in the family econoline van. Going alone was not a normal thing in my high school in Texas. (But then this was also a milieu where the homecoming mums were a signal of how much your boyfriend or parents cared for you.)

 

I don't think the boy and the girl in this case are speaking the same love language. It seems like the girl is saying, "If you cared about me, you'd find a way of making this the prom I've dreamed of." The boy seems to be thinking, "This is a lot of hours of work for something that I don't care about." If the boy says no, is he saying he doesn't care about the girl's dreams? If the girl says that it's dream event or nothing, does that mean she doesn't really care about the guy? Or are they both showing signs of being teenagers without a mature long view? Hard to say?

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The weight of expectations on this is very high. If you can support this, I would do so. I understand that your values are different, but the hopes of this girl for this evening are well within the norm. In my opinion, fulfilling the ritual is important, AS WELL AS not breaking the bank is important. ONLY thinking about price implies that the ritual is not important. That's really the issue.

 

He didn't just think about the price though. He put a lot of thought into making a special evening for his date, even though it is not near as significant for him. If I opened my mouth at all it would be to encourage him to think closely about his future if he stays with her. I'm more inclined though to encourage my children to try to find someone that has similar values.

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, but prom is something they will both look back on as unique for the rest of their lives.

 

 

Do people really?

(I would not know, not having grown up as part of this culture.)

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He didn't just think about the price though. He put a lot of thought into making a special evening for his date, even though it is not near as significant for him. If I opened my mouth at all it would be to encourage him to think closely for his future if he stays with her. I'm more inclined though to encourage my children to try to find someone that has similar values.

 

 

It doesn't sound like it, although that certainly could be true, and he does sound like a very sweet boy. What the OP sounds like is that he took the plans that the group as a whole made and figured out (and announced) how to reduce the price for he and his date in ways that the others in the group are not. He doesn't sound like he is trying to make the evening more special. And I get this. It's a lot of money.

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If dh took me out to an expensive French restaurant for my birthday wearing an aloha shirt when I had dressed up and had my hair done, I might not feel cherished. (Actually dh and I notice this at restaurants all the time, when a couple or a few couples are out and the girls have gotten very dressed up while the guys are wearing tshirts. We always wonder what each side thinks is going on. Maybe the guy isn't being considerate? Or maybe the girl is presuming that it's a higher stake date than it really is?)

 

 

Or maybe the girls just enjoy dressing up?

Honestly, I sometimes just like to wear a nice dress. It would not occur to me that this should mean my DH is expected to wear a suit (which he hates), just because *I* feel like dressing up. And I certainly would not feel "not cherished" by my DH's choice of clothing.

 

Says the wife of a man who has made a point of not wearing a suit ever if he can help it - with 3 or 4 exceptions over the last 25 years.

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I agree with Danetress 100%

 

Should men not propose if they are not able to give their wife a wedding of usual size? I think the average wedding these days is $28k. Are bridezillas and promzillas an acceptable part of culture as they are just want what has come to be expected these days? Are you supposed to spend what is "normal" regardless of how much you can actually afford? I always thought it was considered bad manners to complain about such things. People of all income brackets should be able to enjoy proms and weddings and other special occasions, the amount of money spent on such things should be secondary. I'd have a hard time if this was my son's girlfriend because my thoughts about her at this point would not be good. Hopefully she wakes up and realizes what a gem of a young man he is or he realizes that perhaps he deserves to be more appreciated.

 

 

No men shouldn't propose to women that want what they are unwilling or unable to give. Simple as that. It's not a sign of either being good or bad. It's simple as two people wanting two different things.

 

And yes, prom has been a big deal for a very very long time. It was for all the other girls I went to school with 20-22 years ago. It was for my sisters 34 years ago. The standard minimum even way back then has always been a nice dinner and prom in a tux and formal dress. Some dinners were more or less nice. Some did an after party thing. Some did limos.

 

To me, this is clear cut. When I invite someone to dinner, I pay the tab. When a guy invites a girl to prom and a dinner, he pays the tab unless they have another arrangement. If she isn't interested in another arrangement with a guy who must have another arrangement, then frankly, she needs to be interested in another guy for both their sakes.

 

Prom is no different than any other formal social function. It comes with some basic expectations. If a couple decided together to toss those expectations, that's certainly their choice. Otherwise they need to either not be a couple or accept these things are just part of life and they can choose to partake of it or not.

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I agree with Danetress 100%

 

 

 

No men shouldn't propose to women that want what they are unwilling or unable to give. Simple as that. It's not a sign of either being good or bad. It's simple as two people wanting two different things.

 

Willing to give how much? Should that not be relative to how much one has? I don't see how one could just have these big expectations without respect for one's financial position. I'm much more interested in a giving spirit than a giving wallet.

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I may be derailing the thread (again) but I see this whole prom thing as a symptom of cultural artifice and financial irresponsibility.

 

It is my hope that a group of students somewhere gets together for an Anti-prom. Have a potluck dinner, wear jeans if you want or vintage clothing from the thrift shop. Rent bicycles-built-for-two for transportation. Have Mom and Aunt Lulu pull out their old tablecloths and light up the tiki candles.

 

Yeah, yeah. My hippie roots are showing.

 

Jane, I'm with you. I really think there is something wrong with perpetuating a cultural ritual that requires kids to hyper focus and spend gobs of money on something that in the grand scheme of things so inconsequential in reality. Really, it's just a sad state of affairs when young ladies spend so much time imagining themselves as Cinderella. In my book, it's practically encouraging serious immaturity. Frankly, go to college, get good grades, earn a position on the dean's list, and go to the dean's reception. You dress to the nines if you like - at my alma mater people really dressed up for this because it was SERIOUS FORMAL occasion - and you don't have to pay for anything but your clothes...plus the professors were always kind enough to let students borrow their tuxes and evening gowns if one couldn't afford your own.

 

I guess I'm pragmatic. I really cannot justify this kind of money for any reason for a prom no matter how much a young lady as "dreamed" about it.

 

We were anti-prom, completely. A boy from the local PS invited DD to the prom when she was a junior. It was going to cost him a bundle and dd was appalled. She didn't know him particularly well either so it seemed even crazier. When she looked at what her costs would be if they split the "check", vs. the kind of food and what not that was offered, she thought it was ridiculous. However, we knew she had secretly kind of wished for an event where she would have an excuse to wear an evening gown. So, we decided to provide something worthwhile.

 

This is what we did:

 

Tickets to the Opera - nosebleed seats so they picked from my collection of opera glasses (I know, I know...I'm a classical music nerd) - used Dh's company discount - $18.00 each (thankfully, he got a big discount) and invited my sister and her fiance as chaperones (drivers needed since Detroit proper at night is, well, somewhat scary if you don't know where you are going), so four people - $72.00. Dinner at a very nice restaurant on the river - $110.00. Boy wore his best suit. My mom made dd an exquisite evening gown - better than any prom dress I've ever seen. A dear friend did dd's hair in a pretty updo and another friend did her make-up. Sis's fiance wore his military dress uniform which means he looked like a million bucks and sis wore one of her tea length vintage 1950's chiffon dresses. They all looked great. Dh took pics that were better than anyone's prom picks that I've ever seen. We provided the gas money...they drove in my parents' mini-van. Dh was tempted to put a decal on the side that said, "Family Limo" but refrained. :D Yes, they were the best dressed patrons at the opera that night and you know what? They received a lot of very positive comments and attention because of it too. The restaurant threw in dessert for free just because the manager thought it was such a great idea!

 

They had the most wonderful evening! Our cost, $202.00 dollars since my mother-in-law was determined to contribute and provided small corsages and boutenierres. They saw either Cosi Fan Tutti or La Boheme (can't remember which one), ate excellent food...much better than the prom...danced at the restaurant, etc. DD loved it and given that it was a meaningful, cultural evening, we didn't mind the money outlay so much.

 

Faith

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It sounds like, as is often the case, the girls in this situation have looked forward to this a lot more than the boys have. They have imagined it, they have dreamed of it, they have considered the options and planned out something more or less perfect, and that they hope for and look forward to with great, eager anticipation.That's the real conflict here. She values this experience, this ritual, very highly and considers it one of the 'normal parts' of a good relationship. He views it as optional and negotiable. There are ways to compromise on this, but prom is something they will both look back on as unique for the rest of their lives. My view is that they should figure out ways to make it very special, and if they can manage it, to overspend on it. It's the ritual.

 

Do people really?

(I would not know, not having grown up as part of this culture.)

 

Dear Regentrude,

 

I grew up in this culture and never spent any time imagining a prom experience. Prom is indeed unique--whether that is a good thing or not is obviously a personal opinion.

 

The only thing that I can think of that replicates prom is part of Greek culture on certain college campuses. Two of my friends' daughters are sorority members who have had a number of formal obligations with their memberships. One girl has since quit. She has felt that the sorority's demands on her time and finances were not worth it.

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Or maybe the girls just enjoy dressing up?

Honestly, I sometimes just like to wear a nice dress. It would not occur to me that this should mean my DH is expected to wear a suit (which he hates), just because *I* feel like dressing up. And I certainly would not feel "not cherished" by my DH's choice of clothing.

 

Says the wife of a man who has made a point of not wearing a suit ever if he can help it - with 3 or 4 exceptions over the last 25 years.

 

And maybe that is what is happening with the couples we see. Perhaps I have too much imagination in the time we're waiting to be seated.

 

One of the differences I see between teens dating and a long married couple is the ability to judge when something is important and when it's of little consequence.

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I may be derailing the thread (again) but I see this whole prom thing as a symptom of cultural artifice and financial irresponsibility.

 

It is my hope that a group of students somewhere gets together for an Anti-prom. Have a potluck dinner, wear jeans if you want or vintage clothing from the thrift shop. Rent bicycles-built-for-two for transportation. Have Mom and Aunt Lulu pull out their old tablecloths and light up the tiki candles.

 

Yeah, yeah. My hippie roots are showing.

 

Joining Jane in the hippie corner.

 

 

Do people really?

(I would not know, not having grown up as part of this culture.)

 

I remember who I went with, circa 1984 & 85. I don't remember details. I did run across my 1984 photo not long ago. I went with my best friend, a foreign exchange student. He wore a white tux, I wore a pink dress (Pretty in Pink, the movie, was big that year I think). I do remember we ate dinner at his host family's home along with the other exchange students and their dates. It was special, but that whole year was special. I remember more the day they left for home and my tears of despair that day not knowing if I'd ever see him again. *He* was important in my life, prom was just a one night event.

 

A few years ago we found each on facebook. We happened to discuss life a few times. We wanted to know that one year was really as fun as we remembered. He thought it was too, we discussed some specific events, prom was never mentioned. When you realize how precious the PEOPLE in your life are, the events that involve them take second place. We could have eaten at a picnic table with tiki torches, maybe we did, I don't remember. It was a lake house with a great backyard. As the quote goes, make people more important that the stuff in your life. Hair and limos and expensive dinners are just stuff. They don't make the experience better, the people involved do that.

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Jane, I'm with you. I really think there is something wrong with perpetuating a cultural ritual that requires kids to hyper focus and spend gobs of money on something that in the grand scheme of things so inconsequential in reality. Really, it's just a sad state of affairs when young ladies spend so much time imagining themselves as Cinderella. In my book, it's practically encouraging serious immaturity. Frankly, go to college, get good grades, earn a position on the dean's list, and go to the dean's reception. You dress to the nines if you like - at my alma mater people really dressed up for this because it was SERIOUS FORMAL occasion - and you don't have to pay for anything but your clothes...plus the professors were always kind enough to let students borrow their tuxes and evening gowns if one couldn't afford your own.

 

I guess I'm pragmatic. I really cannot justify this kind of money for any reason for a prom no matter how much a young lady as "dreamed" about it.

 

We were anti-prom, completely. A boy from the local PS invited DD to the prom when she was a junior. It was going to cost him a bundle and dd was appalled. She didn't know him particularly well either so it seemed even crazier. When she looked at what her costs would be if they split the "check", vs. the kind of food and what not that was offered, she thought it was ridiculous. However, we knew she had secretly kind of wished for an event where she would have an excuse to wear an evening gown. So, we decided to provide something worthwhile.

 

This is what we did:

 

Tickets to the Opera - nosebleed seats so they picked from my collection of opera glasses (I know, I know...I'm a classical music nerd) - used Dh's company discount - $18.00 each (thankfully, he got a big discount) and invited my sister and her fiance as chaperones (drivers needed since Detroit proper at night is, well, somewhat scary if you don't know where you are going), so four people - $72.00. Dinner at a very nice restaurant on the river - $110.00. Boy wore his best suit. My mom made dd an exquisite evening gown - better than any prom dress I've ever seen. A dear friend did dd's hair in a pretty updo and another friend did her make-up. Sis's fiance wore his military dress uniform which means he looked like a million bucks and sis wore one of her tea length vintage 1950's chiffon dresses. They all looked great. Dh took pics that were better than anyone's prom picks that I've ever seen. We provided the gas money...they drove in my parents' mini-van. Dh was tempted to put a decal on the side that said, "Family Limo" but refrained. :D Yes, they were the best dressed patrons at the opera that night and you know what? They received a lot of very positive comments and attention because of it too. The restaurant threw in dessert for free just because the manager thought it was such a great idea!

 

They had the most wonderful evening! Our cost, $202.00 dollars since my mother-in-law was determined to contribute and provided small corsages and boutenierres. They saw either Cosi Fan Tutti or La Boheme (can't remember which one), ate excellent food...much better than the prom...danced at the restaurant, etc. DD loved it and given that it was a meaningful, cultural evening, we didn't mind the money outlay so much.

 

Faith

 

This sounds lovely.

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I may be derailing the thread (again) but I see this whole prom thing as a symptom of cultural artifice and financial irresponsibility.

 

It is my hope that a group of students somewhere gets together for an Anti-prom. Have a potluck dinner, wear jeans if you want or vintage clothing from the thrift shop. Rent bicycles-built-for-two for transportation. Have Mom and Aunt Lulu pull out their old tablecloths and light up the tiki candles.

 

Yeah, yeah. My hippie roots are showing.

 

I've got some hippie tendencies and this makes me really happy. I bet I could talk DD into easily. Of course, she's eight so I've got a ways to go.

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This is what we did:

 

Tickets to the Opera - nosebleed seats so they picked from my collection of opera glasses (I know, I know...I'm a classical music nerd) - used Dh's company discount - $18.00 each (thankfully, he got a big discount) and invited my sister and her fiance as chaperones (drivers needed since Detroit proper at night is, well, somewhat scary if you don't know where you are going), so four people - $72.00. Dinner at a very nice restaurant on the river - $110.00. Boy wore his best suit. My mom made dd an exquisite evening gown - better than any prom dress I've ever seen. A dear friend did dd's hair in a pretty updo and another friend did her make-up. Sis's fiance wore his military dress uniform which means he looked like a million bucks and sis wore one of her tea length vintage 1950's chiffon dresses. They all looked great. Dh took pics that were better than anyone's prom picks that I've ever seen. We provided the gas money...they drove in my parents' mini-van. Dh was tempted to put a decal on the side that said, "Family Limo" but refrained. :D Yes, they were the best dressed patrons at the opera that night and you know what? They received a lot of very positive comments and attention because of it too. The restaurant threw in dessert for free just because the manager thought it was such a great idea!

 

They had the most wonderful evening! Our cost, $202.00 dollars since my mother-in-law was determined to contribute and provided small corsages and boutenierres. They saw either Cosi Fan Tutti or La Boheme (can't remember which one), ate excellent food...much better than the prom...danced at the restaurant, etc. DD loved it and given that it was a meaningful, cultural evening, we didn't mind the money outlay so much.

 

Faith

 

 

This sounds really nice, and very creative. And no one got hurt! :)

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Willing to give how much? Should that not be relative to how much one has? I don't see how one could just have these big expectations without respect for one's financial position. I'm much more interested in a giving spirit than a giving wallet.

 

Sure. If he can't afford it, then he can't afford it. And if he can't give her what she wants and she doesn't want to change her wants, then he shouldn't go to the prom with her. This is life folks. There are lots of social occassions we don't attend because of finances. It's fairly normal.

 

Dear Regentrude,

I grew up in this culture and never spent any time imagining a prom experience. Prom is indeed unique--whether that is a good thing or not is obviously a personal opinion.

The only thing that I can think of that replicates prom is part of Greek culture on certain college campuses. Two of my friends' daughters are sorority members who have had a number of formal obligations with their memberships. One girl has since quit. She has felt that the sorority's demands on her time and finances were not worth it.

 

And I'd say she made the right choice.

 

Knowing how to dress and act appropriately for an occassion is part of growing up. Prom is usually a tux, fancy dress, tickets, dinner. Can't do it? That's certainly fine. Go do something else then.

 

And like I said, most of the time parents help out if not entirely foot the bill.

 

This is true for lots of different things in different cultures.

 

Let me put it this way.

 

If someone sends an invitation that is black tie, you don't complain about it being black tie it ask them to buy you a black tie or pay half of it. You either get on your black tie or you decline.

 

Apparently, for better or worse, this prom is a black tie event with all that such a formal occasion entails.

 

Personally? I'm not a fan of any loud crowded event, so the allure of prom was always a mystery to me. But when my dh wanted to go to his prom, I accepted and plunked down the money for the dress, shoes, hair, and nails without complaint because that was appropriate for the occassion.

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Why do so many people have to turn everything into a big, huge It's All About Me Special Event? It's the girl's prom, not her first trip to the moon,

 

Yes indeed! Every bloody thing has to be a contest, no one can just have fun.

 

I totally agree. I went to a regular, middle class, public school in Southern California and the expenses you have described are way less than we spent in 1992! I flipped pizzas and worked retail in high school to be able to afford nice things, but my parents certainly never got up and arms about the expenses of prom. Our prom tickets were around $100, we all went in limos, rented hotel rooms for after-parties, had nice dresses and tuxes, hair done, etc. As a public school kid, what you described seems very normal to me and I am surprised that so many people here think otherwise.

 

It's fine that you were able to spend your paycheck on nice things, but keep in mind that many teens work and don't have the luxury of spending all their money on extras. Being willing to work hard does not automatically equal being able to afford nice things.

 

 

I'll be the outlier here. I think that prom is kind of a ritual, with certain elements that are 'normal'. Those are the tux, the fancy dress, some kind of elegant transportation, dinner out with friends, and maybe some kind of after party. If you're going to do the prom, do the prom. If you are not, then don't.

<snip> There are ways to compromise on this, but prom is something they will both look back on as unique for the rest of their lives. My view is that they should figure out ways to make it very special, and if they can manage it, to overspend on it. It's the ritual.

 

Do you really mean the first bolded statement? Because in one breath you are saying how important and memorable prom is, but then you are saying kids who don't conform to the norm shouldn't bother attending. That's particularly harsh on kids who can't afford it. And I think that norms should be questioned. Always.

 

In response to the second bolded statement - eh, really? My proms were fun enough, but certainly not something I do/will 'look back on' for the rest of my life.

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Yeahhh. I don't look back on dh's for the rest of life. It's more of a tragedy kind of event. LOL

 

But yes, it's usually a memorable event. So either do it or don't.

 

Being low income sucks for kids and limits what they can do sometimes. That's really not news is it? Such is life at any age.

 

*shrugs*

 

I can get worked up about kids who can't afford to be in an after school math program. Not being able to attend prom in the manner that most of their classmates are? Meh. Not so much getting worked up from me.

 

Tho really this has gone off the OP path... I don't think any of that is the issue for her son. I think the problem is he needs to ditch the limo or the girl.

 

 

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The graduation thing? $500 is nuts. But they mailed the diploma here. The thingy they hand out at graduation is actually empty and just for looks. Personally, I only went to my graduation because my dh wanted me to and his family expected it. Mine didn't even show up. Again, loud and crowds is just not my thing. But I spent iirc $30 on those stupid plasticy gown thing and cap and tassels. I *think* the tassels are still in a box in a bigger box somewhere. The cap I tossed and didn't bother picking back up. The gown I tossed in a donation bin for the next years graduates on my way out the door. Mostly I just remember being bored out of my ever lovin mind.

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To me, this is clear cut. When I invite someone to dinner, I pay the tab.

 

 

If you invite me out to dinner, though, I'm polite enough not to order the $5,000 bottle of wine.

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If you invite me out to dinner, though, I'm polite enough not to order the $5,000 bottle of wine.

 

 

True. Neither is this girl. She is wanting to eat the same meal and such as the 8 other people in their party. Basicly he is saying he will take her to dinner, but she should stick to salad while everyone else orders steak.

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Holy cow! I'm seriously happy right now that I grew up in such a small town. Sure, we had some show up in gowns and tuxes, but many guys showed in boots and jeans while many girls had very simple dresses (or boots and jeans themselves). No one would have felt odd to not go overboard on clothes and those who showed in a limo were definitely in the minority. Dinner for most was a Chili's in the next town over and the afterparty was just hanging at someone's house. I honestly don't think I will be comfortable with it if either of my dds want to spend a huge amount on clothes, hair, and whatever just to go to a high school dance.

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Has your son looked on ebay for a tux? I know some guys who bought older designer tuxes for less than a rental. They look amazing. High quality cut and fabric. Plus, they now own a tux! Men look so great in a tux.

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Oh come on ladies.

 

I'm all for championing the OP's son. He sounds like a nice chap who needs a girl with both feet on the ground instead of her head in the clouds.

 

But this is not just a high school dance. It's prom. I didn't even like prom and I know that.

 

ONCE in TWELVE years, they want to eat a fancy meal in formal attire and go to the biggest social event of senior year. It sounds like if this young man doesn't do the limo, which he can't anyways bc it doesn't seat everyone, he can manage this big event for under $400. ONCE in TWELVE years. That's really not exactly living some kind of high society fast and loose life.

 

Come on ladies. None of you have ever in the last TWELVE years bought a Coach purse? Went to an out of town wedding? Bought some new clothes and shoes? Bought a kitchen aid mixer? Nothing that was expensive and could have been avoided, but you didn't want to?

 

I concede the limo. I concede that it'd be nice if they could agree on a less expensive nice restaurant. But really? $400 for one major event in twelve years isn't particuliarly extravagant or beyond reason to me.

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<snip>

 

But yes, it's usually a memorable event. So either do it or don't.

<snip>

 

I can get worked up about kids who can't afford to be in an after school math program. Not being able to attend prom in the manner that most of their classmates are? Meh. Not so much getting worked up from me.

 

I'm not a bit worked up about that, either. The attitude that you shouldn't do prom at all if you can't attend in the manner of your classmates? yeah, that bothers me.

 

Tho really this has gone off the OP path... I don't think any of that is the issue for her son. I think the problem is he needs to ditch the limo or the girl.

 

What a surprise, lol!

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