In my school, we had one seating. You showed up to school about the same time as we did today, and I was one of a few kids there. They made me take off my shirt, put on a half-suit, they snapped my picture, and that was that. Looking at my senior picture, I was glad they airbrushed out the acne. And I took it with my glasses on because I was proud to have glasses (and I still am).
But with this setup, it was all fancy. It took up two classrooms which had a folding wall put away to make one big area. They had THREE setups. One was casual. One was formal with a tuxedo dickie. And the final one was in purple cap and gown. The people working these sets were very ... I wish I had a word for this. Maybe only I can detect it. I have to give it a word.
Patroscent: adj. The act of treating younger people like brainless children with a generalized form of distance, smarminess, and shallow sympathy. Patroscent adults often use broad keywords, exaggerated movements, and stereotypes and apply them in conversation with teenagers and children as if to suggest mere words, candy, and shiny baubles distract them like monkeys. If this were applied to a fellow adult, it would be seen as patronizing and insulting, if not slightly mentally retarded.
It's a subtle thing. Like some wide-eyed sorority bimbo saying to a 12 year old, "You like football? All right! Grr! Football, right? Yeah! Uh huh! We like football! That's right. Okay!" It's the same approach used in the 1970s to describe how drug dealers would sell you "some marijuana, man... it makes you FLY real HIGH in the SKY! Outta sight! Records! Disco! Roller skates and Farrah Fawcett!"
That came off as a little mean, but I did think words like "arrogant" and "patronizing" were a little too strong. The patroscence was strong in this room. It wasn't just delivered to the guys, but to the girls, too. There were two girls who got their photos taken while we were there, and I actually heard one of the photographers say, "You look so pretty! Like a princess! Do you parents call you princess? Or 'hip hop' princess? Am I right? Yeah, that's cool!" I'd like to note the "hip hop princess" was as suburban modest as they come. She kept looking around like, "mommy says hip hop is not Christian!"
CR's came out okay, but the gown and tux had padded shoulders. Why on EARTH would you have a large sized suit WITH padded shoulders? He looked like a 1980s David Byrne. "Same as it ever was!" The senior picture for the yearbook we decided on with the tux makes him look sort of like a classical musician with the long hair. I'll post it later.
I have not been a fan of CR's long hair, and he knows it, but I choose my battles. I have to admit, I see a lot of kids with that same hair. I had long hair for two years to give it a try, and hated it by the end. Got everywhere. I don't know how girls stand it.
Anyway, it was a good experience. Those who know Eugene would smirk when I tell you that he was there, and ONLY because CR told him last night. "When did you think it was, Eugene?" he asked. "Huh. I dunno," Eugene replied with that sheepish grin that makes him popular with the ladies. Thank God we're there for him, sometimes. CR and I laughed a little at the procedure.
"Why do they take more than one picture? Why a casual, gown, AND tux?" he asked.
"In case you get in a car wreck and die," I suggested. "So they'll have something for the yearbook where you're not formal, because that's going to remind people of what you were buried in. It can't be cap and gown, you haven't graduated if you are dead, you probably flunked every class you didn't show up in after death. 'He doesn't deserve to graduate,' they'll say, 'he didn't show up on senior skip day, and death is no excuse. Senior skip day is NOT SCHOOL SANCTIONED!' Now, if you went on a killing spree, they put your photo up with the tux, because casual would see too personal, and the school does want its colors associated with the madman who slaughtered 20 campers, two cows, and took a shot at the president. It's like Jack's picture at the end of 'The Shining.' Everyone likes to think of their killer as formal. Now, the cap and gown is after you graduate, and do something heroic. 'Local boy does good: saves baby in stroller from runaway hot dog cart and circus rhino! See! The SOL's DO work!'"
There was a lot of giggling.