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OMPM: Overkill April 4, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Mindfulness, People.

Happiness surfaces of its own accord when we are fully in the moment engaged in simple pleasures.


Wikipedia (in Public Domain)

That’s why I smile at the folly of spending vast sums of money and time to create magical memories which will grow dusty in short order requiring a new outlay of capital.

Let’s take Senior Proms, for example.

Instead of hosting a Come-As-You-Are Party with great music playing, and laughter flowing, teens become obsessive about excess:

Tickets ~ Tux ~ Gown ~ Shoes (dyed to match, natch) ~ Alterations ~ Handbag  ~ Haircut  ~ Stylish Updo ~ Manicure ~ Pedicure ~ Make Up ~  Limo ~ Driver ~ Dinner ~ Corsage . . .

For what?

A few hours of playing grown up?

No rules.  Just write!

What say you?  Do you think that spending this much time, energy, and money on one night makes sense?

Or is it Overkill?

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1. Cindy - April 4, 2011

We spent R20 000 on my stepdaughter’s prom dress. She got drunk on the night, fell over and ripped it. nuff said.

nrhatch - April 4, 2011

Exactly! And, even if she hadn’t ripped it, the chance of her wearing it a 2nd time would be slim . . . to none. 😎

2. Maggie - April 4, 2011

I didn’t go to the prom. Not because I couldn’t go, but because I didn’t want to… for the reasons you listed above. Too much bother for just one night.

nrhatch - April 4, 2011

Some teens spend more on Prom Night than I did on my wedding. 😀

Then, down the road, people look at Photos taken on Prom Night and groan, “OMG! What was I wearing?”

3. pattyabr - April 4, 2011

what does OMPM stand for?

Any way – I think proms are absolutely horrible in the pressures that are put on girls and boys. For girls it is about the dress, the date, and appearances. For boys it’s about the pressure to have sex or get drunk.

Neither my husband or I went to prom. I personally was devastated by the entire event my senior year because of all the reasons above, I didn’t have a date and going in a group of girls in the 70s was not cool. My son went to after prom (the fun stuff) his junior year and didn’t go senior year (again too much pressure). His entire baseball team (sans 2 boys) didn’t even go to the prom, they all got drunk at somebody’s house and skipped the dance and the after prom.

My daughter got whipped up in two girls anxieties about the appearances of not having dates junior year. She went with a couple of girls. She said after prom was awkward because everyone was a couple and they didn’t want to associate with her.

Senior year she had a date and was voted prom queen. We paid $40 for her dress at Macy’s on the sale rack. It was a beautiful dress. She had fun because it was about friendship and fun. Which is what it should be but rarely is.

nrhatch - April 4, 2011

I’ve heard more bad memories associated with Prom Night than good memories.

Love that you bought a beautiful dress off the sale rack. Playing “Dress Up” for a night should be a fun and relaxing event . . . not a competition to see who can spend the most.

OMPM = One Mistake People Make 😀

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Patty.

4. linda - April 4, 2011

I do think all the dress up would be fun but they do overspend way too much.

nrhatch - April 4, 2011


5. Baxter Bunny - April 4, 2011

If someone invited me to a prom, I would go! I think it would be really fun.

nrhatch - April 4, 2011

Of course playing grown up can be fun.

But it’s not the money expended that makes it so . . . it’s the people and the laughter.

6. kateshrewsday - April 4, 2011

The posh frock is a wonderful thing. I never hesitate to accept a chance to wear it. But it is the language of elegance and accomplishment. In the days of coming out balls maybe this age group could take it: but the theatre of an elegant night out cannot be conjured up simply by props. It requires manners, too.

nrhatch - April 4, 2011

Good point, Kate. 😀

7. granny1947 - April 4, 2011

The same thing happens here…parents get into debt for their brats…absolute madness!!!

nrhatch - April 4, 2011

Thank you, Granny. Insanity runs in some families. 🙂

8. 1959duke - April 4, 2011

Proms are like that show on marriages in which people pay huge sums to get married. The funny thing is the couple who goes to the local courthouse is just as married.

nrhatch - April 4, 2011

Proms and Weddings can be special and magical without vast infusions of cash. Ka~Ching!

9. Tilly Bud - April 4, 2011

We had a school leavers’ disco and I wore a tshirt and jeans. Great fun!

nrhatch - April 4, 2011

Exactly. The clothes don’t make the man . . . or the woman. And prom dresses need not cost more than my first car. 😀

10. barb19 - April 4, 2011

I love Tilly’s comment and fully agree – we didn’t have prom nights in the UK, just a school leavers’ disco and wear what you want! No pressure on parents or their children!

nrhatch - April 4, 2011

You Brits are bright! 😀

11. oldancestor - April 4, 2011

Didn’t go to mine either, and I’ve never cared for a second.

nrhatch - April 4, 2011

Same here. In college, I went to several semi-formal dances wearing dresses borrowed from friends . . . who didn’t want to wear the same thing twice. Borrowing = a budget friendly alternative.

12. Debra - April 4, 2011

I did not go to mine either.

Had a lovely mint green dress…well lovely then and yes maybe now:) The dress was ultra nice and ultra inexpensive. But family life changed so no prom…and you know…I did not care. 🙂

Too much money spent on the parent’s living vicariously & spoiling their children. A waste of money that sadly the parents really should not spend

Plus, I do not care for what happens before, during , and after Proms.

nrhatch - April 4, 2011

Excellent points, Debra. Unnecessary opulence creates the sense that happiness is “out there” somewhere and we MUST spend money to find it in the perfect gown, handbag, or shoes.

13. jannatwrites - April 4, 2011

I went to prom, but I didn’t spend a ton of money…and the money I did spend was my own (saved up from working my job in a fast food restaurant.)

In my opinion, making a child pay for their own excess is a great way to limit it. I’ve seen it even with my eight year old son. He wanted us to buy him a football jersey (it was nearly $50.) We told him we wouldn’t pay that much, but he could buy one with his Christmas/birthday money. He opted for a $20 one instead, so he had money left over 🙂

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Yay!!!! Good for you. That’s the way my parents handled it too.

That type of discipline teaches kids that money does NOT grow on trees and encourages them to spend wisely.

If parents would stop forking over the dough, maybe teens would wake up and realize when Enough is Enough.

14. souldipper - April 5, 2011

Thinking about what parents put out for their kids puts shivers in my timbers. I would be a terrible parent – I would not put on a wedding that costs the same as a healthy down payment on a home.

I paid for my grad dress by doing a p/t job selling shoes. I was happy to do that because I was free to buy what I wanted at a price I could afford.

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

How would that make you a “terrible” parent? 😛

It would make you TIGGERIFIC in my book.

15. eof737 - April 5, 2011

My twins are graduating in June and heading to college in the fall. We have been swamped with the college visits and more… Thankfully, they are not interested in the prom, let alone its excesses. Phew!

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Awesome! I’ve got 2 nieces headed off to college in the fall.

One is participating in the Prom scene . . . new dress, new shoes, $75 pp tickets. I’m not sure about the other.

16. William D'Andrea - April 5, 2011

A few years ago, I was in a local restaurant on what happened to be Prom night. As I was leaving, a stretch limo pulled up and a large group of formally dressed teens got out.
I made a comment about “spoiled rich kids.”
I was informed that the rented limos are a safety precaution. The kid’s parents chip in to pay for the limos; so that if they’re going to be drinking, they will have a sober, responsible adult at the wheel. I think that’s a good idea.
There are always news reports about kids getting killed in traffic accidents by drunken drivers on Prom nights. If they didn’t have all those rented limos, I can’t imagine just how many more fatal, prom night accidents there would be.
I think that’s worth the cost. On the other hand, I’m not sure about any of the other excessive expensives.

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

Limos are a status symbol. If safety alone mattered . . . parents could drive their little darlings to and from the Prom in minivans. 🙂

17. Richard W Scott - April 5, 2011

I’m not sure it does make sense, Nancy. I agree.
I think back to the times I’ve been on vacation, out in the world, up in the mountains, for example. Even then, I would take photographs, trying to capture the magic of it all. But, when I got back and showed the photos, they were only snapshots. None of the fresh air, the bright sunlight, the warmth of the sun, or the chill of a sharp, pine-scented breeze made it into the photos. You just can’t save emotional experience. It is a thing of the moment. You can only make fantasies out of your memories… and if you’re going to do that, why spend the money in the first place?

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

There are lots of trips I’ve taken that added experiences and quality to my life, even if I can’t re-create the magical moments down to the last sensation.

But . . . usually the BEST moments weren’t the ones that cost the most ~ they involved quietly sitting and watching the waves in Acadia National Park, or hiking to waterfalls in North Carolina, or wandering up and down the Duke of Gloucester Street in Williamsburg while admiring the fall foliage, or paddling a canoe up the New River.

Perhaps it boils down to balance, like much of life. Enjoying a prom night is fine ~ getting together with teens to dance the night away is FUN. Spending $1000 to enjoy a night on the dance floor seems absurd. 😀

18. Tokeloshe - April 5, 2011

Well said!

I think one can say the same about some weddings.

nrhatch - April 5, 2011

I agree! Some receptions are just over-the-top. We had a very low key reception and I’ve never thought, “Wow. I wish we’d spent more.” 😉

Some of the most expensive weddings result in the shortest marriages. In contrast, we spent very little and have been happily married for 27 years.

19. OMPM: Television & Blogging | Spirit Lights The Way - March 14, 2014

[…] posts:  75 Waggish Ways to Waste Time * OMPM ~ Overkill *  OMPM ~ Hanging on to Anger * Blogging: A Waggish Waste of […]

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