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A Boy's Guide to Corsage Flowers

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OK, so it's prom time. Boys, it's time for that most odious of tasks, on which much rides: the choice of corsage. This is a tricky business, as men don't tend to 'do' flowers all that much, and you can't just rely on a traditional red rose or a bouquet grabbed from the garage this time. Your prom date will have worked very hard on looking gorgeous for you, so the choice you make of corsage is vitally important. It could be make or break for the whole night.

First off, think about your date and her tastes. Pluck up the courage to ask her what she likes. Think about how she dresses – but bear in mind even the most hardened goth may turn very girly for Senior Prom. One of the key choices is colour. It's worth trying to ask her what colour she's wearing, as she isn't going to appreciate a flower arrangement that violently clashes with her dress or hair.

If she objects on the grounds of secrecy, remind her that she kind of needs to tell you, so that you can say what colour the corsage will be. Otherwise, how is she going to know what colour of matching boutonniere to get you. Yes, girls are responsible for this so are not being let off that easily. Anyhow, you're showing you are caring: taking HER tastes into account.

Next, it's down to wrist or pin on. Traditionally, a single flower from a bouquet presented to the girl when you collect her was fastened to her dress. This is still VERY classy, and may well suit a young woman who is definitely not into big frills and showiness. Wrist corsages have become popular in recent years. Now, these can get quite big and elaborate: but size isn't everything. Again, consider the girl carefully when deciding. If in doubt, ask her … or one of her close friends.

Now, to choose the flowers. This is where a lot of guys start to glaze over. Yet, there's a whole language of flowers so you can send her a message through what you choose. Let's start with the ultra romantic and traditional: the rose. The very symbol of love, it shows you're serious. Red roses are for true love and passion, white for innocence. Yellow for friendship, orange for desire. So tread carefully.

Freesias are a really delicate choice: no big showy blooms, they have small, pristine flowers, often in purple and orange and will suit an understated, slim boned and beautiful girl. They also smell wonderful. They stand for innocence and friendship, so are a great choice if you're going with a friend rather than a romantic interest.

Orchids are top of the range when it comes to price. These incredibly rare, highly sought after exotics are out to impress, so good if that's what you want to do. They really should be worn singly to show off their fragile beauty with the wow factor. They symbolise nobility and wealth, but you might find them a bit too showy. Or pricey. On the other end of the scale comes the popular carnation: but watch out, you don't want to look like a cheapskate either. On the plus side, they can be dyed almost any colour to match your girl's dress.

Don't despair. Men have been pulling this trick off for decades and not getting dumped. You're not on your own. OK, it can be a bit embarrassing to have to ask your mum's advice or … horror … discuss it with the florist, so just follow our simple guide. Use it, and you wont go too far wrong.

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