But you still don’t know how many are coming. You’ve asked. And asked.
You’ve received an information sheet from the school. Of your RESPONSIBILITIES. An A4 sheet, typeface Ariel, font size about 6. A black page of warnings. You take note to supervise and serve food. You’ve taken care of ‘licensing arrangements’. Transport on to the main event is sorted.
After a day of pushing back the furniture and anointing your house and verandah with mood lighting.
Your evening may go something like this.
*Some guests may arrive 40 minutes ahead of time when unbeknownst to you your daughter has changed the start time due to her hair and makeup running over. Do not fret they will be of great assistance in the kitchen preparing the finger food you still have not finished preparing because you had to get ready yourself so you didn’t get mistaken for the hired help. Plus naturally your kids instructed you to dress like a MILF.
*A woman you have never met before, although you have just complimented her daughter on her pretty dress, may say something like, ‘Have you got plenty of food there’s going to be a lot of them? Around 40.’ This advice may be given while you are staggering with a lumberjack sized cheese board out to the food table. Most likely the cautionary advice giver forgot to bring a plate.
*Lighting a couple of scented candles will help mask the Alison Holst’s sausage roll odour.
*A father might say, ‘I’ve brought wine for my daughters.’ To which you can only reply, ‘the glasses are on the table.’ And point. ‘There are soft drinks too.’ You know the rules. It’s illegal to serve alcohol to minors in your own home. The home now bursting with 40 minors and their parents, and siblings.
*Be prepared for wardrobe malfunctions. And try not be caught saying helpful things like, ‘I could sew him in.’ When you’re running around the house trying to find that easy to access ex dry cleaning safety pin you stashed in an overflowing bowl of bits about a year and a half ago; for the distressed youth who’s experiencing Asos zipper failure.
*Your house may become jammed with round about 100 people at peak party point. Do your best to keep mingling and more importantly keep ‘supervising’.
*Young belles may flock to your kitchen sink to moisten fake tattoos onto their bronzed limbs. Keep a pile of clean cotton cloths nearby. And the bench pristine so’s they don’t get beetroot dip smears on their frocks.
*As the night draws on you will notice some young attendees tying-one-on as we used to say in the old days. At that point, you’ll encourage them to drink the untouched expensive Italian fantas, while regretting not serving the 60 frozen spring rolls you shied away from blasting in the oven after reading – for best results DEEP FRY. Boys don’t do baba ghanoush.
*The music may get way past ten and you might want to dance in your living room to your daughter’s most excellent playlist but control yourself and stick to taking out of focus snaps. Better still, employ a savvy teenager to record your offspring and friends looking so fine. So sophisticated. So carefree. You can never have too many photos.
*Word may get out that YOUR pre-formal is going-off and more youth will gather. Try and feel confident they’re in control. Soon they’ll be shaking the hands of the deputy, the assistant and the principal. They can be refused entry. Breathalyzed. Mmmmm.
*The 44 seater bus taking your temporary charges to the formal formal may be late. Revellers will spill onto the lawn and the inside temperature of your house may drop to around 5 degrees. Some will hug you as they depart and say,‘thank you! That was the best pre-formal ever!’ Others will already be on the bus singing along.
*Parents will help stack hire glasses as the now closed house heats and you set the table for the dinner you’d planned. The ham is only mildly warm. But somehow you fluked caramalizing the pomegranate molasses glaze. Phew. Thank heavens friends brought salads and you own 20+ plates. You’ll sit quietly and talk of your children. How they’ve grown. How beautiful and handsome they looked. What a night they’ll be having. You’ll dine and drink lightly. Thankful to share this time with the friends you don’t always txt to acknowledge and thank for hosting your children. I suspect you’ll feel thankful you live in a small and great community. It takes a village to raise a child…
*Moreover you’ll be darn over the moon your job is done. Two hours max of full on madness. Kaboom. You can relax and put the dips back in the fridge. Other lucky parents have opted for the graveyard shift. Because somewhere along the line in the history of formals the ‘after party’ became a requirement. A four hour rave from 12am - 4 to complete what’s become a crazy 12 hour party marathon.
*Lastly, you may have chunky ham sandwich school lunches for a week. Your house will be littered with the florist boxes and pearl pins that held the corsages and matching buttonholes. The welcoming trail of tea light candles will still be outside your front door a month later. And if you’re lucky there’ll be a bottle of Jacob’s Creek Moscato Sparkling 8.4% left behind that you can bring out next year when you do it all again.