Prom is worth it

Elise Dudley, News Editor

As prom approaches, so does the pessimism and stress associated with it. The annual dances for upperclassmen serve as a final opportunity for memories to be created, people to dress up, photos to be taken, and for people to feel luxurious for one extravagant and sequin-studded night. Though the dance is supposed to be a fun night, accompanied by pretty dresses and tuxedos, to some it has become a ‘mainstream’ event to be avoided.

The word prom is short for promenade, the formal, introductory parading of guests at a party. The prom can be traced back to the simple co-ed banquets that 19th century American universities held for each year’s graduating class. A growing teenage culture pushed proms younger and younger, and by the 1940s, the adolescent dance we know today had almost entirely taken hold. In the 1950s, a thriving postwar economy allowed high schools to eschew the traditional gymnasium in favor of proms held in hotels or at country clubs.

Ever since, prom has become something of an grand event, a chance for people to have a night in the spotlight. As socially-constructed ideals become looser, there becomes an incentive to avoid the dance. Having a date isn’t as serious as it was in years past, with many people shying away from taking a date, often opting to go with a friend, or in a group. With multiple ways to lower the overall cost of the dance, it becomes easier for more people to go. Many students take their own cars, or borrow a car from a parent. A limo isn’t necessary to have a fun time! There is also the possibility of renting a dress or tuxedo, borrowing one from a friend, or getting one from an older student, for a lower cost.

Getting dressed up can be fun. The days spent wearing black leggings and a college hoodie add up, and your khakis need a break. You can say that ties are uncomfortable, or that dress shopping is a waste of time, but in the end looking in the mirror and feeling like a solid 13 out of 10 is indescribable, and something every teen should afford themselves every once and awhile. The excitement of taking photos with friends, being complemented, and doing something different from your usual routine is refreshing.

In addition, you may only get the chance to go to prom two times during your high school career, once if you chose not to go to your junior prom. There are many reasons to go, a lot of things to do, and a lot that you can gain from going. It is not just another dance; this is one of the last times you have to celebrate with your class. As someone who has already been to a prom, watching the bonding that ensues as an outsider was really powerful. I attended the class of 2017 prom as a sophomore, with one of my close friends, who hardly ever branched out beyond his friend group. Watching him interact with people he had never talked to, take silly photos in the photobooth, and dance with no regrets made me appreciate my classmates more, because I realized that there are fun and interesting sides to people that no one would ever expect. Throughout the night people gradually become less reserved, and by the end everyone was dancing and singing 2000’s classics as a class, rather than individual friend groups.

If you do choose to opt out of the dance, it will hopefully be for a reason other than avoiding the status quo. Prom has been incorporated in countless movies, and advertised as an event with endless opportunities and chances to leave your highschool career on a magical note.  If you don’t afford yourself the chance, you may never have the experience that is has been shared by high schoolers for decades.