The source of my insanity explained
Growing up, I thought all high schools in America had elaborate Homecoming rituals like Texas high schools. Apparently not. In the blog comments below this post, I was reminded of rituals for teenagers to show each other up in the "who's got the boyfriend with the biggest wallet?" contest, and no teenager ritual is worse than that of the Homecoming mum. Which, I find out from Google, is a Texas Thang.
Only Texans could take the humble corsage and turn it into a freak show.
Here is the standard corsage, from which the mum had its humble beginnings:
This is what Homecoming mums initially looked like, a kicky, fun, rah-rah version of the corsage:
You can see where this is going. In the pressure cooker enviroment of Texas high schools, one-upmanship with who could slap the most ribbons and shit on their mum spiralled quickly out of control. Also, since your boyfriend is the one who is to purchase your mum for you, this is training ground for the Diamond Olympics of adult womanhood. Yep, the bigger and more expensive your mum, the more lovable you are. There's a direct correlation.
My mum was roughly this big, though I didn't have anything as stupid as a teddy bear on it:
This means I was medium lovable. I was okay with being medium lovable, because to be truly lovable, Homecoming Queen level lovable, you had to let everyone know by parading around wearing something like this:
Yes, you tie it over your shoulders and behind your back.
If you think the adult pressures of Valentine's Day are difficult for single people to handle, imagine being the girl who had a small mum or no mum at all to wear to the Homecoming game.