The Pressures of Prom

By Mara Shapiro

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10th Period Editor Mara Shapiro on going to Prom stag

10th Period Editor Mara Shapiro on going to Prom stag

Let’s face it: we’re not all Mia Thermopolis from “The Princess Diaries.” We’re not all going to have a Michael Moscovitz to take us to a dance, in this case, prom. But, you know what?  That’s okay.

What is the main reason everyone goes crazy over finding prom dates? If you are not dating someone prior to the dance, or even are interested in someone, why do we still want dates? The simple answer: the pictures. Of course we all want to take those cute pictures by a body of water or beautiful building with a significant other to put as our profile or cover picture on Facebook. It will get a lot of “likes” and will make us feel great until two weeks later when we change them for our graduation pictures (if the people are seniors.) The truth of the matter  is a girl will look just as beautiful next to her girls and a boy will look just as handsome next to his guys as the people who have dates do.

Of course, then we have the awkward group photos.  Five couples and you, lovely. If someone really feels down about those group photos, the simple solution is don’t pose in the ones with the couples. Pictures should not be a reason for finding a prom date and they certainly shouldn’t make you feel bad about not having one.

Maybe it’s because our school is pretty blatant about prom being a senior dance that people feel the need to swarm over the preferred  gender a month before prom to get someone to go with them.  Homecoming is interesting for freshmen because it’s their first high school dance and of course the teenage books, television shows, and movies depict couples attending high school dances together, so they think they cannot go because they don’t have dates. Hopefully by sophomore year they realize that they were missing out and are perfectly content going with a group of close friends.

Prom doesn’t offer this same luxury. Number one, it’s expensive. Number two, the seniors make it known that it’s their dance. Most seniors only go to prom once, so the date should make this first and last chance complete, right? No! Prom is the night to dance the stress of high school, AP tests, and life away. It’s the last high school dance for seniors. There is going to be excellent food, beautiful dresses, the excitement of staying out all night, but most importantly, an opportunity to cherish your friends before everyone graduates. So, if not having a date is keeping you from all this, maybe it’s time you start evaluating what’s important to you.

I think girls get more worked up about finding dates than boys do.  Girls have to find the perfect dress, the perfect shoes, the perfect hairstyle, the works. The date is the finalization of these plans.  The bottom line, ladies, is that you are dealing with high school boys. Yeah, a lot of them are 18, but we all know that they don’t magically mature over night. Some boys really do go all out when asking girls to prom, but others just don’t want to go. It’s not their “thing.” Or they’re simply too scared to ask someone, which is funny because so many of them love to say they live the “YOLO life.” If a guy doesn’t ask you, girls, it’s his loss. And guys, if not having a date is the reason for not going, here’s the solution, ask someone.  But there are easy solutions if prom ticket sales come around and you are still flying solo.

One solution is kindly asking another single friend if they want to split the ticket price so that money is not a reason for holding attending the dance back.  It’s not as if having a date would have kept you from hanging out with that friend at the dance anyway. Another solution would be going platonically with a good guy friend or girl friend so that asking out the other isn’t  so stressful.

The bottom line is that people are allowed to go to prom without dates. Just go with a large group of friends, even if they do all happen to have dates. They’ll still take pictures with you and will hang out with you at the dance. Yeah, it might sting a little if someone asks you if you have found a date yet, or if you keep seeing all the cute asking videos and pictures constantly uploaded, but seniors especially need to realize that no one in college is going to ask you if you had a date to prom. It no longer matters. And underclassmen, if you choose to attend dateless, there is always next year. Prom is a celebration of the end of the school year. The weather is beautiful, the dance is a rite of passage, don’t let not having a date ruin a night full of memories and happiness.