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NOT FOR NUTHIN’ - ‘Sweet’ Sixteen: Ugh, it’s all too much

In a column long ago, I complained about the excesses of “My Super Sweet Sixteen,” a reality TV show, that, to my dismay, is still running. The girls were all spoiled, self-indulged and had parents with too much money and not enough sense to know what to do with it all. Ha! I could tell them a thing or too, I proclaimed.

Well, the dawn has brightened, and my foray into the ubiquitous Sweet Sixteen season has begun. You see this year, my darling teenager will attain that golden age in September, and we are in the process of planning the party of parties, in a hall, with a DJ and with almost all of the bells and whistles, too.

Be careful what you say. There is an old Italian expression – don’t spit up at heaven because it falls right back on your own head – and it has come to pass. The spit (warm pigeon poop) has hit me squarely in the forehead.

The road to our Sweet Sixteen, some eight months away, is jam-packed and studded with the Sweet Sixteens of all the friends that were born in the early winter of 1993 – 14 so far and counting. These young ladies are party-heartying the night away from one end of the island to the next. There isn’t a catering hall, American Legion, Foreign or Elks club that isn’t pressed into service, somewhere or somewhen, filled with dressed-up, gussied-up and overindulged 16-year-olds, mine included.

The newest craze to hit is, drum roll please, “Matching Dais Attire,” or MDA. I don’t remember any requirement from my youth that all the girls who sit next to the princess have to be color coordinated with said princess – but then again, at my age, memory is just a luxury.

So far this year we have bubble-gum pink, candy color (any candy but bubble gum), purple, teal and some pastel almost exactly like but not to be confused with bubble-gum pink, along with a host of colors yet to be determined. There is also the “More Than Once” dilemma, or MTO – that is, with the pool of friends overlapping, the same gaggle of royalty attend all the same parties, and these teenfashionistas can’t wear the same dress more than once. “No-No-No” is the cry heard ’round the world, it’s new dresses for all, along with shoes, bags and accessories, or off with your heads. If you’re lucky enough and your daughter is the same size as three or four of her friends, they can possibly swap dresses, but that doesn’t happen often – and besides, they would all remember who wore it last.

The affairs are on a Friday night (one Friday in May we have two on the same night, same time, on opposite sides of the island; she sits on the dais of both), and one on a Tuesday night. They’re about four-and-a-half hours long and consist of the standard cocktail hour, dinner with choice of three entrees, cake, candle-lighting ceremony and the ever-present candy/ice-cream/goodie cart at the end. Let’s not forget the favors, one package for the girls and one for the boys.

If this isn’t enough, most of all the DJ companies now offer a combined package of montages & music: your darling, your family and whatever else you can cram onto a DVD are shown to your guests as they shimmy, cha-cha and Cotton-Eye Joe on giant screens strategically placed around the room. The technology is such that they can also show your guests their own images on the screen while they swing, sway and trip over themselves avoiding the lens. You can fall but you can’t hide.

Not for nuthin’, the room might be booked, but I know that the hardest part is yet to come: invitations, favors, color, theme, dress – and who will make it to the coveted dais. Ugh.

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