Prom dates may be overrated


Prom is a costly event in high school, from purchasing the dress or tuxedo, shoes, boutonniere or corsage, paying for a party bus or limo, and the tab only increases for girls when it comes to hair, nails, makeup, and tanning. However, there is one thing for prom that some seniors consider necessary, but has no price tag: a date.

The pressure to find a date can afflict both boys and girls, but in varying ways on an emotional level. An idea has evolved in society that a person may look lonely or unpopular without a date.

Senior Sarah Pereira said, “Prom is something that you are supposed to have a date for. To go alone is embarrassing, you can’t just show up alone. It’s too formal to just go with friends. It’s not like homecoming.” For her, a primary reason to bring a date is to have someone to take pictures with.

On one hand, this is true – homecoming is a fairly informal event. Not nearly the same amount of preparation goes into homecoming as for prom. Students often meet up with friends before the dance, eat, get ready, take pictures, go party, then the rest of the night is in their own hands. Unless a guy or girl already has a significant other, it’s fairly uncommon for one to go out of her way to ask another to be a homecoming date.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could take this feeling of nonchalance and sprinkle a pinch of it onto the high school-culmination-celebration cake that is prom?

So many responsibilities come with having a prom date. There is the organizing of groups and location for pictures, figuring out transportation, picking out seating for tables, and essentially making sure that you and your date have a good time. Take the date out of the equation and the stress levels decrease by 50 percent.

Even to the people who believe that they can have a great time unattached as a prom bachelor/bachelorette, there has to be that feeling niggling at the back of their minds, telling them they may look like that person who comes to a wedding alone, gets super drunk, then makes an embarrassing toast about the bride and groom despite their not knowing either party very well.

Additionally, boys now not only have the worry of finding a date, but the stress of planning how they will obtain the date. Promposals have become heavily endorsed in teen culture, and because it is seen as something left up to the boys to do, coming up with the perfect promposal can be a lot of pressure weighing on someone’s shoulders. This stress to make an elaborate, grand, and still unique gesture is present even when the person being asked to prom may only be considered a platonic friend.

“When you’re being asked to prom, you don’t really have to think about anything. In my experience, asking someone to prom is a big deal,” said senior Austen Vincent. “For my promposal that I planned, it took me a month to coordinate the whole thing. There is much more pressure on the person asking than the person being asked.”

But really, is the promposal all that it’s cracked up to be? Is the prom date even what it is cracked up to be? Promposals are just going that extra, superfluous but appreciated, mile above flat-out asking someone to prom, which is a kind gesture in itself.

DHS senior James Cassell said, “It just feels nice that, even if in the most platonic way ever, it is someone saying that they don’t mind you. My escort for Mr. Dartmouth was a mop, so obviously I don’t really care if I go alone or not.”

As long as you have someone by your side, whether it be a friend, friend/prom date, or significant other, during prom to engage in epic dance battles like the one from Grease, the night should be considered complete.

DHS senior Patricia Magpayo is an advocate for going to prom with friends. “Having a prom date isn’t the most important thing about prom because it’s more about having fun with friends, but I also think it’s fun to have a special person to spend it with. I think most people worry about having a date because having a date has become the norm,” she said.

Now, I hope that I have not sounded like some cynical, anti-prom hater for the duration of this article. The truth is, I have a date for prom (yes, he did ask with a promposal) and I am excited to go, but I know I would feel the same way even if I didn’t have a date.

Prom is the one last event in high school before graduation where you can be with all of your friends (and acquaintances and some people you could swear you have never seen before in your life), looking fly as ever, and partying it up together before splitting ways on the path to college.

I will be turning my tassel with much enthusiasm once graduation is upon us, but I still plan on making the most of the fun opportunities we have remaining in high school – opportunities not including boring, by-class assemblies.

The differences between homecoming and prom that Sarah Pereira mentioned before are true, but I believe they do have one strong similarity – that in order to have fun, you have to make your own fun. Neither homecoming nor prom are fun if you choose to stand in a corner or sit at a table the whole night. What makes events like these fun is letting loose, singing, dancing, and laughing with friends.

So, in order to have all of the funs at prom, just have fun. If you want a date, bring a date. But don’t feel like it’s the end of the world if you haven’t asked someone, haven’t asked someone in an elaborate fashion, or haven’t been asked yourself. You can even go with friends without having one of them be your date! It’s all good, man.

And if you still can’t find a date (or a friend), but are looking to have an excitement-loving companion by your side on prom night, bring your pet – they sell tuxedos and dresses for dogs on (trust me, I’ve checked).