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Having Bigger Is Better
January 31, 2013 3:47 PM   Subscribe

"In the 80's, our knack for conspicuous consumption ensured that we added more ribbons, more flowers, more ribbons, some letters, some feathers, chains, toys, and even more flowers. By this time they're getting pretty heavy." SGP Homecoming Mums 1989
posted by the young rope-rider (112 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Get ready for this, folks... This still happens. And to at least the same degree.
posted by cmoj at 3:50 PM on January 31, 2013


Homecoming mums are still a really big deal, in Texas at least. None of those mums would look out of place in 2013.
posted by muddgirl at 3:50 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Although I will say we didn't have mums in California and so I find them to be delightful. A similar phenomenon for adults here in San Antonio: Fiesta Hats.
posted by muddgirl at 3:52 PM on January 31, 2013


Some excellent examples of my favorite 80s hairstyle, "The Claw".
posted by Fnarf at 3:56 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


So for homecoming, kids in Texas dress as World of Warcraft characters?
posted by HeroZero at 3:57 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


*clicks link*
*stares*
*closes YouTube window*

"I don't have to see it, the young rope-rider. I lived it."
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:58 PM on January 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


My mother was the only florist in the small town I grew up in around this time period. Despite it being a fucking miserable time for her getting them all ready, I can't hate on Homecoming mums because $$.*

But our school's remained low priced and without a bunch of shitty adoration. I like to think that was my mom's doing.

And, spoiler, is there a more illustrative teenage moment than the end of this video? "So let me tell you for 3 and half minutes why this tradition is pretty ridiculously out of hand, but in the end, fuck it, I'm conforming." So true (and familiar) it hurts.

* Also weird - knowing that somebody dying in town means your mom gets to do the funeral and it might be easier to pay the bills that month.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:58 PM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


oh man, in the late 90s mums were a huge deal in texas and arkansas. i never had one, but i was totally seen as less than for not participating.
posted by nadawi at 3:59 PM on January 31, 2013


If riding an ivory chariot pulled by only two albino tigers was good enough for me it's gott-damned well good enough for my kids.
posted by codswallop at 3:59 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


If Gordon Gecko took the form of flowers, he would look like these mums.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:05 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


How widespread is the mum thing? Having grown up in Texas, I'm not sure I never knew how regional it is.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:07 PM on January 31, 2013


I have no idea if my school did mums for homecoming; I wasn't the slightest interested in homecoming and the people who were interested in it were not themselves the slightest interested in me.

But OH MY GOD that hair and those clothes are giving me FLASHBACKS
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:09 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow is there a lot of why-the-'80s-sucked-so-very-very-hard packed into that report. Debbie Trevino, you are one helluva reporter.

Also, if you grew up in the '80s and have felt nothing but mounting relief with each day that's passed between then and now, that thing should come with a trigger warning.

I mean, goddamn. The Cosby sweaters. The shoulder pads. The bangs.

The . . . vacuity. The . . . . . . . . vacuity.

*slaughters fatted calf*

*gets killed by Martin Sheen*
posted by gompa at 4:09 PM on January 31, 2013 [14 favorites]


Oh yeah, now I remember why punk rock.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:09 PM on January 31, 2013 [49 favorites]


I'd never heard of them until now, I grew up in Miami.

It's hard to believe that something quite so excessive never made in Miami, but there it is.
posted by oddman at 4:09 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


From California, and I was completely confused for the whole first half of this video.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 4:10 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


> How widespread is the mum thing? Having grown up in Texas, I'm not sure I never knew how regional it is.

I grew up in northwestern Pennsylvania, and I don't recall ever hearing about homecoming mums before seeing this post. I'm not even sure what they are, since I haven't followed the link yet. Some kind of flower thing, I guess?
posted by ardgedee at 4:11 PM on January 31, 2013


I grew up in Minnesota and this is the first I've heard of it.
posted by ckape at 4:14 PM on January 31, 2013


if you don't know if your school did mums for homecoming they probably didn't, because, at least at my schools, they were worn all day at school and were constantly hitting me as girls whipped around to shriek out "OMG CYNDI! THAT TINY SHITTY TEDDY BEAR IS SOOOOOOOOOO CUTE"
posted by nadawi at 4:15 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some kind of flower thing, I guess?

Yes. A chrysanthemum the size of a melon. With the contents of a well-stocked dollar store hanging off it for some reason, leaving everyone looking like they're wearing military insignia and garland designed by Liberace for Ghadafi.
posted by gompa at 4:15 PM on January 31, 2013 [80 favorites]


W. T. F.
posted by GuyZero at 4:16 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


How widespread is the mum thing? Having grown up in Texas, I'm not sure I never knew how regional it is.

My understanding is that it's really only a Texas thing. I guess that means maybe Oklahoma does it, too.
posted by cmoj at 4:18 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Weren't the '00s pretty much the '80s redux?
posted by Apocryphon at 4:18 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember getting a mum for homecoming in Pennsylvania in the 80s but it was just a mum. No extra adornments.
posted by interplanetjanet at 4:19 PM on January 31, 2013


a Texas thing
arkansas too.
posted by nadawi at 4:19 PM on January 31, 2013


And I wore mine on my band jacket! For extra nerdiness.
posted by interplanetjanet at 4:20 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


But OH MY GOD that hair and those clothes are giving me FLASHBACKS

No, they're not. They're giving you FLASHDANCE!

(what a feeling!)
posted by yoink at 4:20 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


and just in case you think they've gone back to a more respectable size...there's this.
posted by nadawi at 4:23 PM on January 31, 2013


Weren't the '00s pretty much the '80s redux?

No. Not even remotely. The 00s were an 80s redux to the same extent that the 90s were a 70s redux or the 80s were a 50s redux.
posted by The World Famous at 4:26 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


You see? This is why I sometimes get the urge to grab and shake the shit out of a 20-year-old 1980s-worshiping hipster. It's much like what an elderly Cuban refugee must feel when he sees some young punk walking around in a Che Guevara t-shirt.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:31 PM on January 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


My high school had homecoming flowers (they might traditionally have been mums, I don't know) but nothing, nothing compared to this.

Thank the FSM.
posted by cooker girl at 4:31 PM on January 31, 2013


Well, I thought the '00s were supposed to be a replay of the '80s for all of the horrible news reasons (war, pollution, economic corruption). Not so much the fashion/film/music trend-setting. Conspicuous consumption would fall into both categories.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:33 PM on January 31, 2013


"Do I need to summon spirits from the Book of Warriors to teach you kids values?"
posted by orme at 4:33 PM on January 31, 2013


I suddenly feel like Friday Night Lights lied to me.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:33 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Further confirmation that growing up in NYC is really not the same thing as growing up in America. Not at all.
posted by elizardbits at 4:34 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


I love everything about this video. These are so fantastic!

And thankfully, mums were not a feature of my high school experience in Illinois.
posted by WowLookStars at 4:35 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Growing up in **insert city here** is really not the same thing as growing up in America.
posted by muddgirl at 4:36 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yow, this is....something, isn't it? I grew up in Reno and never heard of such a thing as a heavily adorned mum until now.
posted by but no cigar at 4:36 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Weren't the '00s pretty much the '80s redux?

I'll have to assume you were a zygote or younger during the '80s, because other than Bush being a kind of weak parody of Reagan and indie kids resurrecting synth pop for some lunatic reason, there's simply no comparison.

Watch those kids in that video. The blank stares, the use of conformity as an argument for conformity. They are trapped. Their world has roughly 99.7% fewer options in it than the oughts kids would have. Their TV has barely more than 3 channels, and one of them shows Manimal. They have not heard any of the '80s music people now recognize as cool, because wherever the hell that high school is, it isn't Manhattan or Athens, GA. They went to Cocktail at the cineplex and cheered for the careerist sociopath throwing bottles in the air because he was structurally the hero of the movie. They wore parachute pants. They thought Twisted Sister was genuinely transgressive.

Kids in the '00s had a junk-stock bubble and then economic hardship and virtually limitless opportunities to imagine the world another way. The kids in the '80s had the first two, and the third one's the only one that matters, at least in high school.

The '80s were singularly wretched. I will not abide this fact being wiped from our memory of it. We children of the '80s must remain vigilant. Michael Jackson died for our sins.
posted by gompa at 4:39 PM on January 31, 2013 [66 favorites]


I suddenly feel like Friday Night Lights lied to me.

It's more likely that, like most of the rest of us, the writers of FNL have never heard of 'Homecoming Mums' either.
I was expecting something to do with mothers.
posted by Flashman at 4:39 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


This school was not 20 miles away from mine and that was my senior year. What a time capsule! The reigning girl in OUR school had a 5-mum arrangement over her shoulder...with lights! And a dress her mom got her from Paris. I had a small 2-mum jobber, that had those damn tiny cowbells that drove me crazy halfway through the school day.
posted by emjaybee at 4:40 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am suddenly glad that I was culturally oblivious at the time.
posted by brundlefly at 4:41 PM on January 31, 2013


Thank goodness I went to homecoming in the 70's?
posted by Mojojojo at 4:43 PM on January 31, 2013


I am impressed that the menfolk are wearing mums. And that their mums are configured to make them look as much like the Ultimate Warrior as a floral adornment reasonably can.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:44 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Didn't those '80s kids find solace in John Hughes?
posted by Apocryphon at 4:47 PM on January 31, 2013


Oh sweet Jesus that video...I can smell it. It smells like Aqua Net and Love's Baby Soft.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:47 PM on January 31, 2013 [13 favorites]


How widespread is the mum thing? Having grown up in Texas, I'm not sure I never knew how regional it is.

I graduated high school in St. Louis in 1989, and I've never heard of it.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:49 PM on January 31, 2013


One of the related videos is for Homecoming Supplies Superstore, LLC. not just your local florist: SUPERSTORE!!

I feel so sheltered having grown up in California....
posted by vespabelle at 4:50 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's as if the Rose Bowl Parade grew sentient and started spores that grew on our children.
posted by xingcat at 4:52 PM on January 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


running order, those were called "arm mums" "arm bands" or even "garter belts." (!) The girlfriend didn't pay for those either, they guy had to buy his own fluffy arm jewelry. Or have his mom make it. You could buy the components fairly cheaply (unlike in the video...a dollar for a tiny silver plastic geegaw in 1989? Highway obbery!) and of course, we had invented hot glue by then.

Though at least at our school, mums were bought/made by parents more than boyfriends, so it wasn't as much about Having a Date as it apparently was at SGPH.

It was still profoundly dumb, but no dumber than the rest of highschool "traditions."
posted by emjaybee at 4:53 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a good thing we didn't do this in Wisconsin.


I can totally see myself making some sort of purposefully awful sculptural parody mum and then wearing it all day along with a smug snotty little smirk on my face.

This of course would barely disguise the sting of not being asked to homecoming, and would also totally explain why.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:53 PM on January 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ok, so apparently it's still a thing, at least in Texas. Here's a gloriously fantastic picture from 2011 (those things are so huge that they're practically dresses!) And the article that goes with it. They interviewed a kid who bought one with lights on it. I am in awe. And giggling.
posted by WowLookStars at 4:55 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


This video is really well-edited. I wonder what the person/people who made it are doing now?
posted by the young rope-rider at 4:56 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


To me this is like reading something out of National Geographic. It's like looking at a bunch of African girls with gigantic lip plates. It just makes no rational sense yet clearly it's a really huge deal to them.
posted by GuyZero at 4:58 PM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


In the first or second episode of FNL, Lila has a mum hanging in her room (on her bulletin board, I think). That's when I knew I loved that show more than anything else in the world.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:59 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Was this photographer's mum series not posted here? You guys are seriously missing out.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:01 PM on January 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


Holy crap. Part of my family business was growing and selling homecoming mums. But they looked like this. They still do. I remember there were only a few options. You could buy the plain mum, you could get it with the paper I logo, or the paper I logo with a little football on it and two short ribbons in black and gold. The max price was like $5 for that ultra-deluxe version.

I used to grow the mums, and I'd sell them on game day. It took one hell of a lot of labor. We would contact the grower and tell them exactly when we needed to harvest the mums. They'd send a schedule and we'd check it, it had exact days when you had to plant, pinch, debud, and force them. Here's how it goes.

1. Styrofoam box of about 5000 cuttings arrives. Plant them carefully by hand, so the tiny roots don't break. Water as needed, weed by hand.
2. A few weeks later, at the computer-calculated time, pinch off the tip of each plant. This will make the plant fork into several branches.
3. Weeks later, at the computer-calculated time, pinch off all but two branches. The plant will now make two large flowers. Pinching and budding is stoop labor and very tedious. It is one reason I have stoop shoulders.
4. Weeks later, at the computer-calculated time, every night at 6PM pull the large blackout curtains over the growing racks, putting the plants into total darkness until ~8AM. Mums are photoperiodic, they will bloom when the day and night lengths are right. Artificially creating the right period of night-time is called "forcing."
5. Every plant blooms at about Homecoming time, just as calculated. Cut them to get as long a stem as possible, which will help the flower suck water up the stem. Cut carefully at an angle to get the largest surface area of the xylem, to aid absorption. Put them all in water containing nutrients, and store in refrigerators until sold.
6. On homecoming day, stand out on a high traffic spot on campus, in the freezing cold, with a tall bucket of long stem mums, and a board with the corsages (with the 2 short ribbons) on them. Be prepared to trim the stems as necessary and pin on the corsages. Stand there from 6AM (so you get to the best spot before anyone else) until game time in the afternoon. Hope that it isn't too far below freezing, which will ruin the mums, they'll freeze.

A few mums will bloom a few days early, so you can sell a few to early customers. But you don't want to sell them too early. Mums are very fragile, they will "shatter." Pluck out a petal, and all the rest of the petals will start falling out. So you really only have a lifetime of one or two days. That is why they are grown to bloom at that specific date. If they bloomed a few days too early, they'd start to shatter on their own.

So for gods sakes, people, I worked for about 6 months growing you a fragile chrysanthemum that will perish in one day, it's already a luxury item, it would not exist if I didn't make it happen just for you. So you don't need to futz it up with tchotchkes and feathers and crap.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:01 PM on January 31, 2013 [64 favorites]


I guess that means maybe Oklahoma does it, too.

Yep. Graduated from a county-seat small-town (~5K people) Oklahoma high school in '93 and this is giving me flashbacks.
posted by mrbill at 5:04 PM on January 31, 2013


I graduated HS in 1989. We did not do this at my school in Virginia.

The hairstyles though, yeah that looks familiar.
posted by smoothvirus at 5:10 PM on January 31, 2013


They look like prize cows wearing their show ribbons! Yikes!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 5:15 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was already happy that I went to nerd school with no sports and no Homecoming, but this just cements it.
posted by Sara C. at 5:30 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, re the question about regionalism and this tradition, I grew up in southeastern Louisiana, an area that shares a lot of culture and local traditions with Texas, and even the normal football worshipping high schools in my social sphere did not do this. I mean, there was equally stupid and excessive bullshit, but not this specific thing.

When I saw the term "Homecoming Mums" before I watched the video, I thought it was going to be a British video about the mothers in a small Southern town who become obsessed with their daughter becoming Homecoming Queen. Sort of like Dance Moms, but about Homecoming? Because that was definitely a thing where I grew up.
posted by Sara C. at 5:34 PM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh man, class of 1989 represent! I rocked a Flock of Seagulls/JAMC peroxided sideways haircut, listened to N.W.A., Hüsker Dü and Big Black, and had the best backyard half-pipe in town.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:41 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's odd...I can instantly tell that's '89 and not say '93 but '93 doesn't seem all that different from now.
posted by aerotive at 5:42 PM on January 31, 2013


Sara C.: "When I saw the term "Homecoming Mums" before I watched the video, I thought it was going to be a British video about the mothers in a small Southern town who become obsessed with their daughter becoming Homecoming Queen. Sort of like Dance Moms, but about Homecoming? Because that was definitely a thing where I grew up."

This is pretty much exactly what I expected as well.
posted by brundlefly at 5:43 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


OK so I was rewatching this, just to soak in the 80's period wonderfulness and remind myself that waterfall bangs and Cosby sweaters are teh evil, and I noticed something.

One of the gewgaw options for the mums, towards the beginning of the video when they're showing B-roll of the florist is a pair of crossed confederate flags.

Yeah, guys. You can wear your dolman sleeved slouchy tops and wear leggings as pants and, shit, tease your hair if that really appeals to you. BUT THE 80'S SUUUCCCCKKKKKED.
posted by Sara C. at 5:46 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Would that the Confederate flag were 80s specific.
posted by brundlefly at 5:52 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Eh, I grew up in the South and feel like that would not really be "done" nowadays.

It certainly seems to me that the stars and bars would not be allowed on high school premises in suburban Dallas (which is where Grand Prairie is).
posted by Sara C. at 5:57 PM on January 31, 2013


At our high school (mid-1990's), mums and garters (the boy's version of the mum) were usually made by your mom or your date's mom (or your "big brother/sister" if you were in marching band, but those were bare bones and considered pathetic on a few levels). There would be a big display at the local Michael's craft store, with all the fixin's laid out for folks to pick and choose from. Even a DIY mum could end up costing between $30-60, from what I remember. This was in addition to the wardrobe cost, if girls didn't own the right outer and undergarments to support the weight of the mum. And not only did the mums jinglejangle nonstop, they also played music, like those obnoxious musical greeting cards. At the beginning of class, teachers would ask everyone to turn off their mums. It sounded like a bizarre toyland in the halls all day. Plus, the shrieking. Anyhow, I did not find out until after college that this was just a Texas thing. People from outside Texas did not ever know what I was talking about, and they really didn't believe me. Understandably. But so strange to discover that what had been a massive, inescapable, oppressive social phenomenon for years of my life was meaningless to most people.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:00 PM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


Of course, now, they are one of my favorite memories of home and growing up there.
posted by unknowncommand at 6:05 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


unknowncommand, that explains why so many of the girls are wearing oddly stiff-looking clothing -- even for the 80's -- and walking around with such strange posture.

What types of undergarments or clothes were necessary?
posted by Sara C. at 6:10 PM on January 31, 2013


Surely it's one of your favorite mummeries.

My favorite bit of "only in Texas" (and maybe OK) sights is the roadside mum and garter stand. Entrepreneurial neighbors will set up shop on their front lawn during homecoming season and sell mums to kids/parents as they're going in to school.
posted by muddgirl at 6:10 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sara C., they're held on with pins (or ours were) and could weigh 1-3 pounds, so you couldn't wear a top made of any fabric that would get holes in it or tear from the pins+weight, or anything that was so stretchy that it would pull the neck down in an unflattering/inappropriate way. A sturdy bra helped because you could put the pin(s) through the shirt, and then through the bra strap, which would support most of the weight.

muddgirl, that too :)
posted by unknowncommand at 6:33 PM on January 31, 2013


Sweet Christ, those are hideous.

One more thing to hold Texas accountable for.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:49 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Franken-mum
posted by book 'em dano at 7:06 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


The definitely did not do this at my SoCal high school.

I would have remembered that. Probably because I would have kept lighting them on fire, because (as noted above) that's why punk rock. I think all the rich kids at my school were too busy buying cocaine and acid wash jeans.
posted by loquacious at 7:14 PM on January 31, 2013


I graduated from high school in 1990 in New Orleans, and I had never heard of homecoming mums at all until I went to the Homecoming Game at Mississippi State. The guy I was dating gave me a mum, but just a normal one with some little hanging ribbons and a tiny football stuck to it. I thought it was really crazy looking and couldn't figure out how to make such an enormous flower stay on my dress. I had no idea just how lucky I was. (Just to add another bit of bizarre 90s fashion trivia - at Mississippi State, the sorority girls wore brightly colored onesie romper things. Like a big collar, puffy sleeves and long poufy pants all in one garment. And they wore Keds with bows that matched the bows in their hair. With the claw bangs and big earrings. It was a dark time. Strangely,when I searched for that outfit, this metafilter post came up, and there I am talking about those crazy outfits.)
posted by artychoke at 7:27 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, Charlie don't surf, mum growing sounds like a total pain in the ass. If it's any consolation, I kept that mum in a box in my closet for years.
posted by artychoke at 7:34 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, my god, artychoke, I remember those outfits. I think my mom sewed me one from a pattern just like that. It was a bitch and a half to go to the bathroom in.

I was 9, for the record.
posted by Sara C. at 7:38 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


i had some many of those outfits!

i was 11 or so? but the lady who sewed them for me also wore them, as did other older teens and moms (as a mormon child, there weren't a lot of over-teen women who weren't moms).

when i wasn't wearing that i wore home-sewn, more modest, multiples. i also had the keds (or the payless knock off keds) and the bows and the claw bangs.
posted by nadawi at 7:53 PM on January 31, 2013


Ooooh units/multiples! (I don't remember multiples, but I remember wanting units stuff when I was probably too little for it. I think I mostly just loved how the store looked with all the cubbies and instructional diagrams.) My mom did make us homemade Jams. Nice. Clothes were really really hideous back when I was young and cute and skinny. I do want units belts to come back to cover everyone's low rider jean ass crack.
posted by artychoke at 8:31 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I did not have claw bangs. I had a bowl cut. When I was not wearing "party suits" I was wearing home-sewn dresses a la something Cindy Brady would have worn, except it was the 80's. I think Burdick just didn't update the Little Girls' Dresses patterns that often.

Once my mom made me wear homemade jams. It did not go over well.

I was way too little to be aware of units/multiples. Though I remember that aesthetic and maybe seeing people wearing them? I don't know, I'm from the deeply redneck south. Nobody in my hometown would ever have worn anything like that.
posted by Sara C. at 8:43 PM on January 31, 2013


I did pretty much exclusively wear Keds (and generic Ked-esque plimsoll sneakers) until I got my first pair of Doc Martens when I turned 12 and stopped wearing home sewn Laura Ashley knockoffs.
posted by Sara C. at 8:48 PM on January 31, 2013


Wow. I was a junior in 1989. Thank you, suburbs of Baltimore, for not discovering this.
posted by desuetude at 9:05 PM on January 31, 2013


Secede away, you spangly oddballs.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:17 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Another thing I'm curious about...

Where I grew up, the homecoming mum was pretty much an extension of the Friday football ribbon. Every Friday, from 7th grade on, the school cheerleaders would sell go-team ribbons (silk-scereened kinds of things, with players' pictures on them) for $.25 . That was every football day. The homecoming mums were just more extravagent versions,and they always incorporated the football ribbons.

Anyone else remember this?

Texas, our Texas, all hail our mighty state....
posted by mudpuppie at 9:25 PM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


My original non-nerdy high school had game-day ribbons. We didn't have silkscreened players' pictures on them, though! Just generic "GO TEAM" "#1" graphics and maybe the school logo or letters.
posted by Sara C. at 9:28 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I graduated from high school in Houston, TX in 1993, and I had never even heard of this tradition. It was a fancy private high school, maybe that had something to do with it?
posted by KathrynT at 9:57 PM on January 31, 2013


I don't remember the hair being quite so horrible. But then I had short hair with a long rat-tail.
posted by deborah at 10:35 PM on January 31, 2013


I continued to think this was about mothers until a full minute into the video (where there was the first close-up of a flower). "Wow, some of those mothers are super young-looking" I thought to myself. Almost all of the metafilter comments (which I was reading concurrently in another tab) made sense with the mum=mom interpretation too, until I got to "I remember getting a mum for homecoming in Pennsylvania in the 80s but it was just a mum. No extra adornments."

It didn't even occur to me that you would all have been saying "mom" instead of "mum".

Part of the issue is that I have never even heard the term "mum" for Chrysanthemum before.
posted by lollusc at 10:46 PM on January 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


i think we got units/multiples in the mid-90s, not late 80s/early 90s - and pretty sure they were all sewn by the same lady who sewed the collar/button down/pant/jumper thing. there were also homemade jams. hancock had a sale on faux vintage cheap cotton patriotic material and my mom made me a stack of jams for girls camp.
posted by nadawi at 11:17 PM on January 31, 2013


From Mississippi.... we didn't do this.
posted by nile_red at 2:35 AM on February 1, 2013


But we had the game day ribbons!! It was a 'thing' to collect them from your friends and pin them together to make a super-long mega ribbon, ESPECIALLY at homecoming. I collected those things for YEARS and then threw them all away in a fit when I changed schools.
posted by nile_red at 2:38 AM on February 1, 2013


No. Not even remotely. The 00s were an 80s redux to the same extent that the 90s were a 70s redux or the 80s were a 50s redux.

Actually, 50s style was a big thing in the 80s (Athena sold tons of James Dean and Marilyn posters) and the 90s did the 70s in the form of bands wearing charity shop polyester.

We had new rave in the 00s, which was kids too young to have been to warehouse parties dressing up like it was 1988 all over again, and mainstream emo was the moisturised and more openly homoerotic version of hair metal - the goths came back, but this time they could buy their gear from Accessorize and Topman.

And the 10s so far seem to be drawing influence from the 90s, at least in terms of fashion.

US teen rituals are so different. No yearbooks, 'homecoming' (I need to look this up) or sororities/fraternites; nobody really cares about school or college sports. They have proms, now, though, which just appear to be an excuse to buy an expensive dress and a hipflask rather than a formal dates-and-corsages thing.
posted by mippy at 4:17 AM on February 1, 2013


mudpuppie, we had single carnations (just the flower/stem, no ribbons) for sale on Fridays during football season.
posted by unknowncommand at 4:51 AM on February 1, 2013


I really have nothing to contribute to this thread save to say that, reading it in the UK where "mum" simply means "mother", 90% of the comments are unintentionally hilarious to me.
posted by primer_dimer at 5:12 AM on February 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


My mom also did not have extra adornments. She was a good Baptist lady.
posted by interplanetjanet at 5:31 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


ooooh, this is one of my favorite crazy texan things. they're insane! i remember girls having to rig up harnesses to attach them to because the sheer weight of the things would stretch their shirt out.

it's the only thing that i feel like friday night lights didn't get exactly quite right with regard to texas high school football culture, and something that i would go on at length to my NYC friends about whenever FNL came up and i'd been drinking. i had the same experience as unknowncommand... all of my friends who were not from texas were baffled by these things. as they should be.
posted by marshmallow peep at 6:42 AM on February 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can totally see myself making some sort of purposefully awful sculptural parody mum and then wearing it all day along with a smug snotty little smirk on my face.

So, senior year. I'd always been in with the drama nerds and honor students and modifying my own clothing and being pretty distinctly uncool. I spent a few days making myself a homecoming mum, with a giant black-and-white silk mum flower and Kermit the Frog in the middle, where the little teddy bears usually go. I had a pack of battery-operated Christmas lights that went all around the flower, and instead of the ribbons being school colors (red, white, and blue) I basically picked everything at the fabric store I liked. Rainbow, glitter, those plastic chains, whatever. And a million bells, because those tiny stupid cowbells are obnoxious.

About that time my friends and I also got the idea: why don't we try to get me on the homecoming ballot? We took an inexplicable picture I had of me on a pier in a 1950s vintage swimsuit, holding a tennis racket, and made flyers positing me as "the alternative choice fnord." My friends were brought into the office and tactfully informed that "homecoming is not something we generally campaign for," but no one got in trouble, at least.

I didn't win queen, but I was in the court, and I have a picture of my dad looking distinctly uncomfortable escorting me down the football field. That was the only high school football game I ever attended and the only convertible I've ever waved from the back of. And I'm glad it happened, and now I'm dying to see if my mum is still hanging around my parents' house somewhere.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:16 AM on February 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh, Charlie don't surf, mum growing sounds like a total pain in the ass. If it's any consolation, I kept that mum in a box in my closet for years.

LOL well we also sold silica gel kits so you could make dried flowers.

It's like any other crop, low capital investment, high labor investment. In a way, it was kind of fun watching a big profitable crop grow from tiny 1 inch seedlings, out of dirt and water and the sweat of your brow. And it's especially profitable if you can get your own kids to do the labor, which is exempt from child labor laws if it's agriculture and the family business. But a family greenhouse is kinda stretching the law a bit (which I often pointed out to my dad). I suppose I shouldn't complain since I did get paid and it was the family business which put food on our table. But it was also the reason I decided at a very early age that I would be a white-collar worker because I never ever wanted to do manual labor ever again.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:31 PM on February 1, 2013


And I'm glad it happened, and now I'm dying to see if my mum is still hanging around my parents' house somewhere.

For the record, I'm sure I can speak for many others to say "we are too" -- and I'm not just saying it sounds like the perfect prop from you story that sounds like exactly the type of high school movie I'm a HUGE sucker for.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:23 PM on February 1, 2013


Those kids in in the late 80s are now in their 40s ( I graduated 1991, and am 40 ). It seems a lifetime ago. That hair. The concerns.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 7:49 PM on February 1, 2013


I went to high school in the mid 80s (in CT) and do not recall this at all. I remember Homecoming floats, but not mums. Maybe it's because I was one of those weirdos who hung out in the art room and the smoking section most of the time. Seriously - looking back, I kind of regret that I wasn't more engaged back then.
posted by sundrop at 9:14 AM on February 2, 2013


This tradition is alive and well in Texas but in most places the mums are not quite so big anymore, something like these. (Not connected to that link, just showing some examples) I think the big, bigger, biggest craze simmered down some after most schools stopped letting the kids wear them during the school day because of the commotion and distraction, as you can imagine.

This has been a thing since I was in high school in the '70s. My daughters all had them in the 1990s and 2000s. I just packed up my daughter's high school bedroom and that included a tub full of football mums. We used to have mum making parties when they were in high school and the girls all brought $15 for the supplies so it wasn't that extravagant. You can get the supplies at any hobby store.

I'm very surprised to learn that this is regional too.
posted by tamitang at 2:03 PM on February 2, 2013


Lest y'all think this is just a high school thing, I was in the 4th grade in 1989 and I had friends who had mums. This was in a small town south of Dallas, about 40-50 miles from Grand Prairie. We all went to the football games (I had to go because my sister was in the high school marching band), and homecoming was a big f'ing deal, so yeah, even the little girls had little mums. There's a picture somewhere of my girl scout troop on a homecoming float, and about half the girls have mums. My mom wouldn't let me make one, though. I probably had a homemade mum in junior high, but most of those two years have been repressed so I don't recall specifically. By the time I got to high school I realized how stupid the whole thing was (plus I was too nerdy and poor to ever be in the trendy crowd), so I never had one of the big, multi-flower monstrosities.
posted by donajo at 6:52 PM on February 2, 2013


MCMikeNamara, my dad says he'll check for me. At the very least I'll post the flyer; I think I've still got one of those somewhere.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:16 PM on February 4, 2013


Neither of my high schools had homecomings, so although this is the right era for me I have absolutely no idea what's going on.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:40 PM on February 5, 2013


I went to high school from '94-'97 in the Bay Area and this is all completely new to me.

What we had instead were wrist corsages with loooooooooong ribbons that almost hit the floor, but that was just at the dance, not in school.
posted by like_neon at 10:43 AM on February 6, 2013


I think this doesn't happen in the Deep South, but it's a big deal in small towns in Texas. Here's Katy Magazine's 2012 feature "Wild About Mums," which has detailed photos. Apparently, wearing overalls with them is the done thing now, because they've hypertrophied to the point where that's the only thing that holds them up (especially if you get more than one from, uh, competing suitors).
posted by Monsieur Caution at 4:44 PM on February 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I had never heard of them until my wife, who is from Fort Worth, started showing me her high school pictures. She made her own homecoming mum ... out of duct tape. *swoons*
posted by eritain at 6:34 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sadly, there was no Debi Trevino to speak truth to power in my small West Texas town. Even elementary and junior high kids (mostly girls) had to get in on the act there, and I never heard a single soul question it. I was so confused. Then, in high school, I was all, "feck this noise." Then I left Texas. The End!
posted by nosila at 12:58 PM on February 12, 2013


I'm late to the party on this, but I worked in an HS in Austin, TX last year and I loved seeing the girls' homecoming mums. I'd post a post except that I'm not that technologically advanced.
posted by raccoon409 at 10:33 AM on February 19, 2013


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