I write this post with all the wisdom and maturity of a 28-year-old who knows better.
High school proms are the pinnacle of any teenage girl’s secondary education career. The notion of this particular gala is hyped-up and romanticized from the first conception that this event even exists. It’s “I get to be a princess day.”
High school boys capitalize on prom with the cliché notion that girl’s are way more willing to lose their virginity on this particular date. They even where a flower on their chest as a symbol of purity before defloweration. This symbol is known as a boutineer.
Look, I was once a teenage girl too, with a short-lived fancy for the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync, fashion choices of butterfly clips and sparkles, hearts and flower doodles all over my geometry notebook (they are shapes, thus it was related to the subject matter), and occasional tirades against parental units. I was also more than once a girl getting ready for a dance.
Truthfully, I never really liked high school dances. I liked getting dolled-up and hanging out with my friends, but I didn’t like dancing at the time—I was way too self-conscious (after all, I didn’t discover alcohol till long after high school)—and I didn’t like this whole “find-a-date” thing. I took my best friend one year as a way to buck the system; she had an androgynous name so it was only a shock when she handed her ticket over. Oh, small towns.
Look, I graduated with about 63 students in my class and it was awkward to go to a dance with a guy friend and I sure as hell didn’t want to date any of those guys. Maybe I lost some sort of prom magic by not going with someone “special.” (Gag.)
My inspiration to look back on my own prom revolves around a radio exposé I heard on NPR about how much families fork over for a daughter’s prom. According to a study, lower-income families actually pay more than higher-income families on prom. Time Magazine agrees and states that the average American family spends $1139 on prom. PROM. I’ll say that again, HIGH SCHOOL PROM. I don’t know who is more out of touch, the parents or the children.
Look, I used to read the special edition magazines “Seventeen,” “YM,” and “Teen” (RIP, all these magazines have gone the way of the dinosaurs) and had fun picking out a dress. There was even a fiasco about me having the same dress as somebody else, but guess what, none of that matters anymore because high school issues are not real life issues. Leave it in the locker, kids. After freshmen year of college or a first year in the work force, people drift away from all the nonsense that was high school. You keep some friends, lose a lot more, encounter new experiences and you change from a 16-year-old to a 20-year-old to a 28-year-old.
That $1139 can go to college tuition, a computer, a wedding fund, an IRA (for those teens really looking to the future), or an international trip.
Be creative juniors and seniors in high school! The world is so big and you have yet to step out into it.
However, I guess this is a matter of maturity and blah blah blah. In my high school dance days, I wore borrowed dresses from friends, bought great gowns discounted, and only once spent $200 once on, yes, my senior prom dress. But in all fairness, when I go home for the holidays to see my family, I go up to my archived clothing closet and, for fun, I still throw on that dress with a tiara and boa to boot! I’ve never loved a dress like that one—and it still fits. Go self.
High school girls, I get that dress thing. But skip the limo and save it for someone better.