When people hear those words, they usually sit up and pay attention because they know they’re probably about to be taken for a ride. Drop the “ity” and it seems that some not only don’t take notice, but choose to redefine the word.
We’re putting on a homeschool prom (I won’t go into the back story, but it’s in four days, on this Saturday) and one would think that “prom” conveyed a certain formality. But just in case…Andrea spent a lot of timing putting together a FAQ. And because she knew that somebody might want to push the envelope, #7 spells it out:
Dress code for Young Men:
- Tuxedos, dress suits (matching jacket and slacks), dress kilts or Military Dress Uniforms (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard)
- White dinner jacket with black trousers
- Neck ties, bow ties, or bolo ties
- Collared, button-up shirts
- Dress Shoes, appropriate for dancing
Dress code for Young Ladies:
- Formal dresses or evening gowns. Dresses can be long, tea length or above the knee
- Female Military Dress Uniforms (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard)
- Nice dress shoes – flats or heels
We aren’t trying to be controlling, but she also included dress we won’t allow:
- Jeans or shorts of any style or color
- Sport Coats (jacket and slacks must match except for a white dinner jacket/black trousers)
- A vest to be worn instead of a jacket
- Paramilitary Uniforms (ROTC, CAP, etc.)
- Regular tennis shoes, street shoes, or flip flops
- Ball caps
- Casual or “church” dresses
- Mini skirts
- Plunging necklines
Now, reasonable people would understand that these rules are in place to ensure a good experience for the attendees and to respect those who take the time (and money, we know) to dress to the nines.
Now, I learned that “formal” in Korea meant “business professional”. I found out when my Commanding Officer and I went to a dinner in our Dinner (“Mess”) Dress Uniforms because the invitation said “formal”. We were surprised to see few dressed like us and that most of the people there were in suits (and incredibly, there were Army officers in camouflage!)
But we aren’t in Korea. And here, “formal” usually means what’s in the FAQ. Still, to a couple of people, it apparently meant vest and tie (which is why that line had to be added to the thall-shalt-nots).
What’s worse, in addition to arguing for “flexibility”, Andrea was told that the dress code read like “suggestions” and that we wanted to give the homeschool kids a “school experience” (meaning the strict rules and all…_). Really? If the words “dress code” were confusing, I’m at a loss for more clear words.
Despite sending individual emails to all the ticket holders, Andrea was concerned enough that she bought three jackets from a thrift store. Just in case somebody didn’t get the message.
One parent somewhat graciously (with a little “but…” added) admitted she understood what we’re trying to do – “we” being 98% Andrea…I’m only the DJ.
The other parent should join this guy…