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The Craziness of HoCo

If you're under thirty, the title of this blog will immediately conjure memories of giant mums, the sound of tiny bells ringing down hallways, and maybe even a guy or girl standing outside your math class waiting to ask you to homecoming.

I'm not sure exactly when the homecoming poster/invitation became more of a big deal than homecoming. It didn't happen when I was in high school, and I didn't notice it the first few years I was a teacher. The first time I saw a student with a homecoming proposal posterboard, I told the guy, "But you two have been a couple for over a year." The response was, "Yeah, but I have to make an official proposal. Everybody does it." "Everyone?" I asked. He said, "Maybe not everyone, but all the girlfriends expect it, and you don't wanna piss off your girlfriend before homecoming."

I can totally agree with that statement. No matter what kind of coupleness you have, whether it be hetero, gay, lesbian, or non-binary of any kind, you do NOT want to piss off your partner right before a big event like homecoming. HoCo, along with prom, graduation, and the school musical are memories that will stick with you when you're old and senile and can't remember your own name.

I have to wonder how the whole HoCo and Promposal thing got out of hand. Surely there was one year when a few desperate students said, "Well maybe if I make my HoCo proposal whacky enough, my crush will say yes." So he dressed up in a weird clown suit, paid for thirty red helium balloons, and showed up to his object of affection's lunch period with a sign that said, "I May Be a Clown, but You're IT!! Wanna Float to HoCo with Me?" Then somebody got jealous. "I wish you'd ask me to homecoming like that," a girl said, and her boyfriend replied, "Sweetheart, everybody knows we're going to Homecoming together. You're my girlfriend." Then she said, "So I have to break up with you to get a decent HoCo proposal?" "Nay nay," said the boyfriend. "Let's not go through all that. Gimme a day." The next day, bam! Poster, tears, pictures taken on his flip phone--hey, we're talkin' fifteen, twenty years ago. iPhones didn't come along until 2007.

Fast forward to today. The HoCo proposal, at least in Texas, is a huge ritual, one that I wanted to include in my novel. I thought it would be easy, because the captain of the football team and quarterback, Josh, was going to ask my banshee, Caoimhe ('kee vuh) to Homecoming. I figured it would be a simple poster, very low-key. Then someone else became interested in Caoimhe. Avery, the head cheerleader, kind of fell in love with her after the choir concert. Or is she in love with Caoimhe? Maybe it's just a ploy, or the siren-esque properties of Caoimhe's singing voice. Maybe it's to keep Caoimhe away from Avery's ex-boyfriend, Josh. I mean, there are too many possibilities! I don't know what's happening.

So it might surprise you to discover that both the starting QB and the head cheerleader asked Caoimhe to homecoming at the exact same time, at the end of school in the student parking lot. I won't go into detail, but it might be the most massive HoCo proposal ever seen. Well, maybe not. You can't underestimate the creativity and lavishness of Texas high school students. It did, however, involve a makeshift dance off. The funny thing for me was that I didn't know it was going to happen until about ten seconds before Caoimhe did. She was leaving school, on her way to the public library, and WHAM!

So what did Caoimhe do? Whom did she agree to go with? I can't reveal that yet. She might still change her mind. Like I mentioned in my last blog, fictional characters, given a little rein, can totally change the direction of the story. We'll just have to see where this one goes. Cheers!


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