Prom, glittery, extravagant, and just now wrapping up across the country. It is often characterized by people popping the question like they’re asking for something that ends in veils and tax benefits rather than a room filled with sweaty teens and abysmal music. Students spend enough money on the night that their confusion can be easily understood. It’s has become so ingrained into our society that we rarely take a step back to recognize how absurd the whole thing can be.
The dance itself is not necessary the problem; close quarters and uncomfortable flashing lights are unavoidable components of any school dance. The problem comes when excessive amounts of expectation, and resources are heaped onto one night. It will inevitably fail to fulfill the hype, no matter how well it goes.
When high schoolers put on their glittering heels, $60, or that sharp tux, $150, and those heels inevitably begin to feel more like medieval torture devices than footwear, and the fear of spilling dinner all over that rented tux starts to kick in, the magic of the perfect night often dissolves.
With the average family spending upwards of $1,000 on the night, according to the fortune.com the absence of the perfection that was promised to students by TV shows and movies alike is a huge letdown. Aside from that disappointment, the vast amounts of cash dropped on a single night is absurd. The lavish spending on dresses, limos, flowers and spray tans has created a $4 billion industry according to the American Business Journal.
This is not to try to rail against the tradition completely. Plenty of people had a fun time at prom and remember it fondly as an enjoyable part of their high school experience. Yet, there are many who are left with unfulfilled expectations, and expensive accessories that will never be used again .
A tentative solution to the issue might be putting less expectation on the event, viewing it as simply another school function rather than the end all, be all of the four years in high school. Why not put some of that $1,000 towards traveling, or donate it to a local charity, or even just do something else for the night? If only two people donated the money they were planning to spend on Prom to building the library in Nepal, the goal of $2,000 would be met in full.
If Prom sounds appealing, have fun. For many, it’s the last high school dance they will ever attended and at the very least, it’s a fun chance to get dressed up. But don’t place unreasonable expectations on Prom and maybe use a chunk of that money for something that lasts for more than four hours.