Originally Published in the June 2014 Issue 7 of "The Mainsheet"
So it’s prom season, juniors and seniors! While I have previously written on the financial burdens of the school dances, I have decided to talk about the other kinds of burdens that dances inflict on students: the self-esteem burden.
Dances can either be a major confidence boost or a major downer. Maybe that’s a little extreme of me to say, but for many students, dances are a very real form of anxiety. Will I get asked? Who should I ask? What if they say no? What if no one asks me? What does it mean if I ask him or her?
I would like to simplify this whole process. It doesn’t need to be this stressful or hurtful or frustrating. So here’s my Kate breakdown of how to survive prom season. Godspeed to the classes of 2014 and 2015!
1) Don’t let someone stop you from doing your thang
I think it goes without saying that everyone wants to get asked to prom or ask his or her dream date. The tough reality is that doesn’t happen for everyone. Not everyone gets asked. Not everyone gets to ask his or her “first” choice. Please remember prom is just one night. It’s a dance! And while a perfect prom asking would be nice, it ultimately shouldn’t stop you from going to prom. You are letting the evil prom demons win if you skip prom just because you didn’t asked, you can’t ask the person whom you originally wanted to ask, or the “wrong” person asks you (more on that later).
2) Go with your gut
That being said, if there is someone you want to ask to prom or someone who you want to ask you, make it clear, and just do it! Let’s cut out the games. Ask the great friend. Ask your crush. Ask someone who wouldn’t normally get asked.
I find it strange that it is still taboo for a girl to ask a guy or for girls or guys to go in groups of friends. To be honest, it’s ridiculous. Yes, it’s a great confidence boost to have someone ask you to prom and validate you. But it doesn’t make prom less special if you ask someone you care about, ladies, or if you go with a group of fun, single friends. I know this is easier said than done, but take this as food for thought.
3) Don’t be “that guy”
When someone asks you to prom, he or she is putting himself or herself out there in a big way. While there are people that may be less than ideal or dreamy to go with (in your eyes), you should appreciate the gesture he or she is making. I hate hearing people make hurtful comments about how awful this date would be or how no one would ask this person. It’s cruel. Bite your tongue. Be grateful to be asked. Be grateful to be asking someone. Leave it at that.
4) Beauty is pain, but prom night doesn’t have to be
From previous dance experience, I can say confidently that comfortable shoes and clothes should be higher priority. At formal, I was constantly worried about my tight dress. At homecoming, I was stressing about my sky-high shoes. I think prom clothes should be three things. First, clothes should be reasonably priced. Don’t spend money you don’t have or splurge on a ridiculous dress or tie you know you will only wear once. Second, find something that makes you feel good. It might not be in vogue right now, but when you feel beautiful, you will look beautiful. When you feel handsome and confident, you will look handsome and confident. And third, wear clothes that aren’t going to constrict you from having fun and enjoying yourself. Save your date or friends from hearing about your bloody feet or your too scratchy shirt.
5) Stop and take a second
Whether or not you go to prom or not, you have made it through a new school year. I am sure we all have had our rough patches, disappointments, and our moments of glory. Be proud of how far you have made it! Don’t get too swept up in the crazy busy end of school and all of the prom primping that you forget to take everything in (if only for a second.) You are young. You have the world at your feet. Just enjoy the moment.
Don’t give prom the power to steal your joy or make you feel bad about yourself. Stand tall and proud. Work that high-low dress, the bodycon, the maxi, the tux, the suit and tie. Date or not, don’t forget that you are beautiful and deserve to have a great night. Have a memorable prom and rest of the year, Upper School!
Photo Courtesy of Kate McEvilly