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Nathan Hansen's column: Getting a leg up on prom season

Let’s talk for a second about prom, shall we?

Prom season is right around the corner in Farmington and Rosemount. At most it’s around the corner and, like, halfway down the block. But it’s close.

By at least one report, area malls are teeming with teen girls and their mothers presumably looking for the perfect dress. Or maybe shoes. Or, I don’t know. Hair stuff? Is that a thing teen girls look for at the mall?

Whatever they’re looking for, I imagine malls are mildly terrifying places right now. Although, full disclosure, I find malls vaguely terrifying — or at least mildly annoying — even in the best of conditions.

I went to prom once. Not recently. I rented a tux and bought a corsage. We showed up too late for the grand march and I drove my date to the dance, which was held at St. Paul’s Town Square. No limo. Nothing extravagant. It wasn’t a big thing.

I get the impression my experience was perhaps not the representative prom evening, though. For one thing, it didn’t feature, as movies have taught us it must, two young sweethearts overcoming some misunderstanding and pledging their love to one another as the people around them clap and a bully gets his comeuppance.

Prom, it seems, makes people do crazy things. Every year there are stories about promgoers making their tuxedos out of duct tape or their dresses out of pop tabs. For a while, we got a call about every year in our office about somebody going to prom in a tractor. Or a combine. Or some other piece of farm equipment. I don’t really know farming.

A few years ago, a Minnesota teen caused a stir by inviting every porn star he could find to attend prom with him. It turned into a whole big thing, but I’m guessing not the kind of big thing that kid was hoping for.

As part of my research for this column — OK, basically all of my research — I Googled “strange prom.” Apparently, in 2012, a Seattle mother tried to find her daughter and her friends prom dates on online classified site Craigslist. She offered $350 for four “hot male teens” willing to spend seven hours with the girl and her friends. Presumably she was willing to negotiate down to one “creepy middle aged dude” who lives in his parents’ garage, hasn’t had washed his hair in a month and would take the girls to prom on the bus.

She eventually took the ad down, which is probably the best, least murdery ending that story could possibly have had.

That same year an Ohio girl invited a Cleveland Browns football player to prom at the last minute to stand in for a date who backed out at the last minute. Taking an NFL player to prom is probably pretty cool, even if he does play for the Browns.

It’s certainly better than the girl who sent a Twitter invitation to Tim Tebow but got no response. She brought a cardboard cutout of the football player instead. I feel like maybe the cutout had the better personality.

See? Crazy things. And yet I’m not sure any of those things is as odd as the story that got me thinking about all of this. Apparently, KFC, the restaurant that is too hip to have chicken in its name, is offering a $20 drumstick corsage to promgoers this year. It includes baby’s breath and, I swear on the Colonel’s secret spices, a real fried drumstick. To make sure it’s fresh, you have to go out of your way to pick it up on the way to prom. Which will probably annoy everyone else in the limo you’re sharing.

KFC is promoting the fleshy flower substitute as something any teen girl would want. And maybe it is. I don’t know what the kids are into these days.

I suppose it might be nice if you don’t want your date to get hungry later that night. It’s less good if your date would rather not have her wrist covered with hot grease.

But, hey, no prom is perfect.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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