The unnecessary stigma associated with attending prom dateless

Emilia Charno and David Han

With May and June just around the corner, ‘tis the season!  No, not for Christmas, but for a much more stressful and apparently much more “defining” experience: the prom.

At Schreiber, only upperclassmen are given school dances, with juniors attending Junior Prom on May 6 and seniors attending Gambol on June 23.  This is in contrast with many other high schools in which the freshman and sophomore classes also are given prom-like dances.  Perhaps it is from the lack of dances throughout high school or a pop culture portrayal of prom as the pinnacle of the high school experience, but utter the word “prom” in a Schreiber hallway and stigma and stress are likely to ensue.

School dances are a source of excitement and anticipation, as well as gossip and drama.  With the dates of the proms approaching, many students actually have different dates to worry about: the ones that will be accompanying them.

“All of the prom stuff happens earlier than you would think because it starts with promposals.  Even with these there’s pressure to talk to your potential date’s friends and do something funny.  It’s a lot of work,” said senior Andrew Falzone.

These promposals have begun, and there are many more to come.  However, so much emphasis is placed on the process of finding a date that we seem to forget about students who opt to attend the event alone or with a group of friends as opposed to a single prom date.  In fact, the prom environment is so centered around going with a date that students often feel they must have one, even if it just for pictures.

“Prom is fun because you are with friends.  If I could redo Junior Prom, I would go with my best friend,” said senior Krissy McCann.

There is no rule anywhere that requires students to have a date to attend school dance.  No student should ever feel left out if they are unable to acquire a date, as this event accepts every student whether or not they have one.  The Schreiber student body should work harder to make it clear to everyone that finding a date for prom is by no means a necessary task.

The stigma and pressure towards students to find a date is augmented perhaps most for the Gambol, or Senior Prom.  Walking into prom down a luxurious red carpet with hundreds of prying eyes is not exactly an event conducive to flying solo.  Yet while the red carpet walk is memorable for sure, it is not the epitome of what prom, and especially Gambol, is meant to represent.

“Many people think the most important part of prom is the date.  However, for me it’s truly about ending high school with my friends.  For seniors, this is your last high school memory, and it is the one you are going to remember forever.  No one cares if you have a date or you go with friends, or if you walk down the red carpet with a date or with your best friend like my older brother’s friend did with him and his girlfriend.  All that truly matters is making lasting memories with your friends,” said senior Emily Epstein.

At the end of the day, prom is hopefully something that you will remember for years, not because you brought a date but because of the fun you had during it.  If there is no one you genuinely want to bring, then why bother?  You’ll have your friends, great music, and memories to bring with you to senior year or to freshman year of college.