Emily Vanek and Rachel Leff
Prom, one of the most formative events of a teen’s high school years, and the last big hurrah before graduation is nearing. Prom may be as little as a few days away, but to have a smooth night, seniors at Milken start preparing for their class prom as early as the beginning of senior year. This includes scavenging for the perfect dress, tuxedo, date, limo, hair, and makeup. With all these amazing things comes massive expenses, in addition to prom and after-prom tickets. Since freshman year, the Class of 2018 has been raising money through fundraising events to place towards enriching their magical night.
Finding the perfect prom dress is every teenage girl’s dream, and so wearing the same dress as another girl can feel like a nightmare. Typically, girls believe that prom is their night to shine, and wearing the same dress as another girl might stir up competition between who wears the dress “better.” To ensure that this does not happen, the girls of the 2018 class created a Facebook page way back in September to put all of their dress options in to guarantee no one wears the same dress as someone else. At the end of the day, to some girls, it would not be a big deal to wear the same dress, but others intend to be unique and stand out. In addition to worrying about the design of the dress, it can also be extremely expensive and definitely more costly than renting a tuxedo. Girls feel obligated to get their makeup and hair done which also adds to the cost, whereas guys tend to have very few other expenses added onto renting a tuxedo.
When it comes to the guys’ attire, typically black, grey, or blue tuxedos are worn, meaning that it is not often one would be seen wearing a uniquely patterned tuxedo. In a group discussion, one senior boy remarked, “I wish I could wear a funky printed tuxedo, but I am too scared to be judged.” While girls have the opportunity to express themselves through their dress choices, guys are expected to wear similar attire, preventing them from expressing individuality. Another norm in terms of mens’ attire is matching their ties with the color scheme of their date’s dress, which gives the guy very little room to stand out and express himself.
In between all of the dress preparation and chaos, possibly the most stressful aspect of prom is finding a date. Milken tends to follow the typical “promposal norms,” where only guys ask girls to prom in some extravagant way, which can be frustrating for many girls who are afraid that they will not be asked to prom or that they will have to say “no” to someone who asks them. This can also be nerve-racking for guys who do not know if the girl they want to ask will say “yes” or “no.” For the past few months, some senior guys have publicly proposed in front of the entire school at lunch and at Oneg, which is both entertaining to watch and gives some students “prom feels.” Other students, mostly girls, freak out, worrying if they will ever be asked to prom. They feel that the waiting game is tiring and very cliche. This dilemma raises questions on why these norms exist in the first place, and why students are afraid to go against them. Although it is not common for girls to ask guys, Levine actually challenged this norm by asking one of her best friends to prom. She revealed, “Although it is a classic tradition for the boy to ask a girl out, times have changed, and women are more powerful than ever. I think it’s awesome for girls to ask guys.”
As prom approaches, the seniors have mixed feelings of excitement and angst towards the night that, for many, will mark the end of their high school experience.