During this time of year, high school students are all excited about the big dress-up event -- PROM! My school's prom is this weekend, and my students have talked about nothing else for the past few weeks.
|My brother and my future |
college roommate at her prom
in 1973. Check out his shoes.
|Me and my date before my senior prom. My |
grandmother made my dress. It was
much prettier in my vision than in real life.
For the most part, we all felt so awkward, like we were playing adult dress-up. Most of the girls knew how to play the dress-up role, but the boys were different. I remember most of them just looking at their dates and their eyes were asking, "Am I doing this right?"
Today, you can forget having the prom at the gym. Now they have a venue, somewhere big and dark, that costs a bunch to rent. That cost filters down to the price of tickets -- $55-85 per couple. And that's just the beginning of the money spent to go.
Another new thing about prom is being the most creative in simply asking someone to go. It's no longer the simple "Would you go to prom with me?" but instead it's the "prom-posal" and guys will go to all lengths to be creative in their asking.
Some interesting prom-posals at my school this year involved Post-It Notes printed with the young man's request covering the girl's car, a boy wearing a horse mask coming into class to ask a very embarrassed girl, and a sail on the boy's boat with EMILY PROM? written in duct tape. He sailed by the girl as she was lying on the beach. My female students said the latter was the best invite this year.
|Prom-posal of the year at the high school where I teach|
|Random group of prom-goers in front of their limobus|
|The inside of a limobus|
Other costs for prom can include
- spray tan = $20
- dinner = $50
- flowers = $35
- pictures = $50
- hair/makeup/eyebrow wax/nails = $125
- dress/shoes = $50-$500
- tux rental = $100
There are other costs that can factor in like entertainment after prom and other food and drink.
All together, in 2014 the average prom cost the couple in the South about $926, with parents paying over half.
Now if people want to spend that much money to play dress-up and go out with friends for the last time before they graduate, I'm all for it. But in my experience as a two-time prom attender, the actual event is anti-climactic to the preparation -- sort of like my colonoscopy.
I always built up prom in my mind so that it was going to be a magical night. I fantasized about it for weeks and made it into a fun but romantic event. However, nothing turned out that way. It reminds me of The Great Gatsby and how Jay Gatsby built up Daisy and all the riches surrounding her in his mind but then everything fell flat in the end. All of that dressing-up that Jay did changed nothing.
When my students left my classroom yesterday, I spoke the words I use every Friday -- Stay Safe, Sober and Seat-belted -- to them but also put in some more cautionary words. I hope that all of the young people going to prom have a wonderful time and the night turns out to be as magical as they imagined. I'm sure I'll hear about it on Monday.
|Me at the prom during my sophomore year of high school. I did have a date, a nice young man named Joey Griswold, and we had our picture taken together but I couldn't find one.|