Homecoming in Texas. September 22, 2008
Do you know what’s happening in this picture?
(That’s me, third from the left.)
It’s homecoming season around here. Yesterday I was talking to some of the girls about dress shopping and dates and football games. But one thing we did not talk about was the mum.
If you didn’t grow up in Texas, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about. But if you did, you just flashed back to giant fake flowers, industrial strength pins, tiny teddy bears and sticky glitter letters.
The mum is a Texas homecoming tradition. They are meant to be a gift from your homecoming date, but can also come from parents, friends, or you can just get one for yourself. A mum is a big fake flower (chrysanthemum), mounted onto a piece of cardboard and covered in ribbons. The ribbons are decorated with school colors, mascots, names, jokes, activities. The have bells, whistles, plastic football helmets… anything you can hang from a flower is fair game.
Girls dress up for school on homecoming and then attach these giant creations to their fancy clothes. This gets tricky, because those things are freakishly heavy. Mine always worked pretty well with giant pins, but some girls had to resort to ropes and balance weights. No, I am not making that up.
We would walk around all day in dresses and heels, hunched over to one side to support the weight of the mum. The ribbon would cut into our shins and rip holes in our pantyhose. It was impossible to sit down while wearing them, so classes were pretty useless.
Mums are insane, y’all. INSANE. Why on earth did we do that to ourselves? They are uncomfortable, heavy, and… oh, yeah. UGLY. Seriously. Whose idea what that? Boys hated buying them, I’m sure, and we stressed ourselves out over who we were getting ours from and what they would look like. All for the privilege of back pain and shoulder strain. Awesome.
The male equivalent of the mum is the garter, though if memory serves me correctly they were only for the football players. I was never a football player dating kind of girl, so I don’t know for sure. What I do remember is big burly guys wearing garters around their biceps with lace, little plastic footballs and ribbons bearing their numbers and girlfriend’s name. Manly.
It’s my understanding that this is a strictly Texas tradition. Am I right? Did any of you guys do mums in other states? Are you from Texas? Tell me about your mum experience. I’m sure it’s a fond memory.