Our son is a senior this year, which means the year has been swallowed by college visits, college applications, scholarship applications, Free Application for Federal Student Aid forms (also known as the ninth circle of hell), graduation party planning and, this weekend, prom.
And prom means one thing is certain: We will be forking over an unholy amount of money to rent a tux for one single night.
On a trip up to the college of his choice last weekend, we had the TV on in the hotel room and it happened to be tuned to the show “Say Yes to the Dress” on The Learning Channel.
For those of you who don’t know what this show is, let me give you my best synopsis. It’s about a bride, her mother, and her bridesmaids shopping for the perfect wedding dress (hence the title). And it doesn’t paint women in the most flattering light. Seeing that it’s a reality show, of course it capitalizes on hissy fits, power struggles and ridiculous one-liners such as “You don’t like my dress because you’ve never liked me!” or “Does this make my shoulders look fat?”
I sat in the hotel eating breakfast, mouth agape as I watched the horror show of catty women in search of a dress that helped reflect their genteel, kind and feminine sides. Oh, the irony.
My son, Natty, sat next to me for a few minutes, watching the train wreck as it happened, and said, “You know, it would be funny if they had a show called ‘Say Yes to the Tux.’ My best guess is that it would last a whole three minutes.”
We discussed how the show might play out: A tuxedo store clerk would bring out the first tux.
Natty: “I’ll take it.”
Tuxedo clerk: “But it’s only the first one, and it’s black. We have many other shades of gray, charcoal, slate, brown, taupe … ”
Natty: “Wrap it up. That’s the one.”
Tuxedo clerk: “Okay, just give me a second to get my measuring tape and we’ll take some measurements.”
Natty: “Not necessary. I’ll just take that one. It looks just about right.”
Tuxedo clerk: “That’s not how this works, sir. I show you a tux, you choose the one you like, and then we measure you for the perfect fit.”
Natty: “There’s where you’re wrong. I don’t care about a perfect fit; I just want the cheapest tux in the shortest time possible.”
You can see how TLC might not think this would make for riveting, juicy programming.
To stretch it out, they could follow the male customer into a floral shop to help him pick out the corsage, but our guess is that might take less than a minute.
Floral clerk: “Can I help you?”
Natty: “Do you have red roses?”
Floral clerk: “We have many roses in various colors, along with other lovely varieties of flowers.”
Natty: “Yeah, that’s not necessary.”
If this is what a career in reality programming looks like, I think I’ll keep my day job, thank you very much.
Eileen Burmeister is a Winchester-based freelance writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.