Then and Now: Prom Pressure

Erin Byrnes, Editor

 It’s currently 2012, you and your mom are on your way to the mall to find the perfect 5th grade dance dress. You have it all pictured in your head: a short dress with cheetah print and sequins or maybe a maxi dress with the trendiest tribal print pattern. You walk into your local Delia’s or Justice and begin the hunt. The racks are filled and your anthem “We Are Never Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift is blasting as you shop. Now the dreaded part… trying to convince your mom that the dress is perfect and not “too mature for your age” as she always claims with anything you choose. After a few pouty faces and maybe a tear or two the perfect dress is obtained. Next you hit Claire’s for a new hair feather to complete the outfit. You go home and try it all on together and take pictures to send to your friends on your IPod touch or IPad. All that’s left is waiting until the day of the dance.

Flash forward now into 2018; it’s junior year and that means the dReAdEd pRoM!! The idea that has a love, hate relationship in all high school girls’ hearts. It’s a struggle to find the so called “perfect dress” for the special night. You walk into the boutiques and are overwhelmed by dresses in bags from the ceiling to the floor, tons of rows, and you have nowhere to start. You try on your first dress and a worker in the store helps you get into the evening gown that has a whole lot going on. As you walk out your mom immediately smiles and whips out her phone to snap a pic only to be scolded by every employee saying “NO PICTURES UNTIL YOU SAY YES TO THE DRESS!” Shocked at the reaction you go to try on the next dress, having a hard time deciding what style you want. You try on 15 at one store and like none. The hunt continues. Finally, three stores and over 45 dresses later, your mom sends one into the room. You look at it through the bag, an all black lace mermaid style dress with peach embroidered flowers going down it; not at all what you pictured yourself wearing to your Junior Prom. You make a nasty face towards your mom but she begs you just give it a try. Reluctantly, you turn around and put it on. It zips perfectly. You look in the mirror. This is the dress. Your face immediately lights up and you swing open the curtain, striking a pose. You are on cloud nine, you feel perfect in this dress.

Nowadays to find this so called “perfect dress” people pay anywhere from 100 to 600 dollars or over before alterations. Yes, crazy.  A huge jump from buying one for twenty dollars that made the same girl just as happy. And as the price increases, the less and less fabric there is to the dress. These dresses are over the top with long trains and huge dips in the front and backs. They can be anywhere from a nude dress with a lace overlay giving off a barely there look or one that is fully beaded and ends up weighing half the weight of the girl wearing it. The idea of having to prepare all of this starts with the dress but doesn’t end there. Along with the dress, girls need to make hair, makeup, and nail appointments, and find jewelry and shoes to go perfectly with the dress. And lets not forget this so called “prom bod” that causes all these girls to sign up for a new gym membership and post a mirror selfie on their Snapchat story daily of them on that “grind.” Yes ridiculous, I am well aware but guess what…it doesn’t stop there. Next step is the hunt for a date.

Now comes the part with others. If you aren’t in a relationship with anyone, the search to find a date starts with awkward set-ups by your best friends. Personally this is the worst part. Most girls have these ideas of the “hottest” guy or someone who would “look good” with them in their pictures. In reality though, this should be an opportunity to go with your best guy friend or just a group and have fun riding solo. In 5th grade if you had a date you got awkwardly asked on the lunch line or the playground but there was no need for a date due to the fact that you would be with all your friends regardless. For prom however, if your “promposal” isn’t perfect and over the top to meet the girl’s standards, chances are you will be denied. Sad right? As a person who is going through this currently, it angers me. When did prom turn into something with such high standards? The whole idea is to have some fun the last years of high school with the people you grew up with; nothing more, nothing less.   

Prom is one thing that most people think should be a big deal, but in reality, it shouldn’t. Reflecting back on the easier fifth grade times, the prep was a breeze and everyone showed up ready to have a good time with no stress on their mind.  In the end, everyone will most likely have fun at prom; however, all the stress for something as simple as getting dressed up to have a good time, doesn’t need to turn into a production.


* photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons license