Do any of you know what "priming" means, offhand? This is my take on it: when I was a kid I used to go
camping with my parents. They had one of those little Coleman kerosene stoves that had to be primed before
it could work. So, it was the my job to prime it: First, I'd fill the tank with kerosene. Then I'd
turn the little dial part way. Then I'd pump the little rod to compress the kerosene and force it into the
burners. And then I'd put a match to it and Poof! I had a flame.
Okay, so that's what priming means, except that in this case you're priming your date, so that when the night
comes, Poof! he's off and running (with you hanging off his arm, of course).
Except that in this case, you obviously have neither to fill him up with kerosene, turn his little dials, or
pump his... ahem. Rather, there are a few things you should probably expect him to know, or be clear on, or
be aware of, or whatever.
The basic ones are these:
- The issue on who's paying for what on prom night should be settled.
I know I brought all this up in the budget section, but it's worth repeating. Prom night is
expensive. There's alot to pay for and it would be a shame if one or the
other of you got stuck paying for something you either cannot afford, or that you'd assumed you
wouldn't be paying for. So in other words, make your budget together if possible, and decide how
to split or cover the costs. This is important because a mistake here could really make the two of you
resent each other, so that whatever friendship you have, or whatever relationship you hope to build,
can be destroyed by something so stupid as not knowing who's paying what.
- He should probably also know something about what your parents are like.
Okay, he's your date. That's nice, and you're both happy. And your parents may be chewing their
fingernails down to the first knuckle with worry. See, they also know about the sex thing, and the drinking thing,
and the party thing, and what can happen prom night if you're not responsible and careful. And see,
no matter what happens, they will probably blame your date because, well, because that's what they always
do. So how do you avoid this? Talk to your date before prom night, especially if he's meeting your
parents for the first time, and explain what they might be like, and what he should expect from them. This
will alert your date, and he'll be able better to handle any questions or attitude they might heap on
him. The best thing, obviously, is for him to appear responsible to your parents, so that they can
relax a little and not worry that their girl is about to be stomped by a maniac. In both the long and
the short run, it will make not only your prom night, but your entire life, much easier.
- What you expect from him in terms of manners and treatment.
Most of you know about those couples that go to prom together and then he just takes off and hangs
with his friends while you sit at the table alone. Or maybe he's the kind of guy who'll show up in a
great tux but wearing battered Nikes. Or maybe he'll stay by your side all night but be an a**hole,
making stupid remarks about the way you look and about how dumb the whole idea of prom is, and how idiotic
your friends are, and so on. So what do you do? Well, if you've asked him, and you don't know him that well,
you might want to probe him a little, just to get some idea what his behavior might be once prom night rolls
around. And depending on what you think he'll be like, you should explain to him what you would hope from him,
especially when and if it concerns his treating you like a lady and being the kind of gentleman who stays
by your side.
- Maybe he should also know he's expected to dance--I mean, if you want that from him, you know?
What, you don't think this is a problem? Dancing is a big part of prom night, both slow and fast.
And most guys can get really stupid about dancing, and either not move from the table onto the
dance floor, or go hang with their friends when they should be out there with you. So let him
know you would like to dance, and try to convince him that he's got to be out there with you.
- The second most important issue to discuss with him are his party plans, especially
if they involve drinking and driving, or just drinking.
You're not stupid, and you haven't been living in a cave. You know what's up with drinking, and especially
with drinking and driving. Sometimes the guys feel they have to prove how tough or cool or whatever they
are, and they seem to believe that the best way to do this is by drinking 'til they turn into pigs, or
drinking and turning into pigs and then driving. Talk to your date about this before prom night. If he
looks like the sort who might feel he has to prove something, get a commitment from him that he won't
drink. Also get him to believe that there's nothing to prove, that he's great just as is. As far as drinking
is concerned, also keep this in mind: he might actually drink because he's trying to get up the courage
to be romantic and sexual. Make sure he sees that not only are those the wrong reasons to drink, but that
drinking will so turn you off that he can forget about anything romantic he might've had in mind.
- And finally and most important, just in case he's expecting sex and is under the strange
delusion that you have to do it prom night, then he should definitely know how you feel about it and what you
expect (meaning, don't expect) from him.
For some reason, so many guys these days have this belief that you have to have sex prom night. Is this
belief justified? No way no way no way. I don't know where it came from (actually, I do, but that's a
complicated sociological and cultural issue and I won't go into it here), but I do know beyond all doubt
that you do not have to have sex prom night. So, when, or if he asks for it, or expects it, you should be
able to say no. Or, better yet, before you even go to prom, and I mean long before, you'd better have a
talk with him about this whole sex deal--that is, of course, if it looks like he might think it's necessary.
Because if you're just going as friends, or you've only just hooked up and he's still in that shy and
romantic stage, he won't want sex (obviously), and having a talk about it might either spoil your
friendship, or ruin the romantic and still-getting-to-know-eachother mood. In any case, you will know
what your date is interested in probably before he does, and then you can plan to have a little talk--or