It's spring time, and you know what that means for our seniors- prom! This year's annual senior promenade is being held on June 4th, and a lot of our seniors are looking forward to it. However, is it all what it's built up to be? Or is it all hype? Editor Tori Brando gives us both sides to the prom story in this new article: "To Prom or NOT to Prom."
And be sure to look below the article for pictures!
What usually comes to many mind when you think of prom is an elegant dress, sleek up-do, tailored tuxedos, lavish limousines, fashionable pumps, cute couples and memorable after parties. Prom is meant to be a lush and sophisticated celebration for high school seniors to take a break, relax and look back at all the hard work that brought them to where they are now: approaching graduation and the end of their high school careers. Prom is notorious for being the “last big party” of your high school experience and the last chance for you and your closest friends to spend one more exciting night together before parting ways after graduation and the start of college. But is prom really all it’s cracked up to be, or is it just an overrated party that puts pressure on seniors to be perfect and popular?
“I think prom is very important. It’s something I’ve looked forward to ever since I was a freshman,” exclaims Port Senior Didem Yilmaz, one of many Port seniors who believe prom is an important event in commemorating one’s high school achievements, and a good excuse for glamorizing yourself and indulging in a luxurious party. Port Senior Amina Sattar agrees: “It’s something I’ve looked forward to ever since I was in the sixth grade.” Prom is special for many seniors for several obvious reasons. It’s one of the first and few times in a person’s life when they get to dress up like a prince or princess and have all of the focus and attention on them. Prom is one of two times (the other being graduation) in your long four-year high school life when everybody praises and dotes on you for all of the studying and hard work you’ve accomplished. The agony of Regents, the anguish of SATs, the torture of the college application process and the misery of non-stop homework, tests, report cards and endless summer reading lists are all finally vindicated by the glamour and exuberance of prom. Girls get to dress up and select from dozens of fabulous and elaborate dresses and have their hair, nails and make-up done by professionals. They truly are the princess of the night, with all eyes on them. Guys get to look suave and debonair in their form-fitting tuxes and swish loafers. Dressed-up guys possess a new sense of glamour, and once they arrive, they are the eye candy of the night. The right guy can be a girl’s best accessory. Prom Night truly marks the fairy tale ending for many seniors.
However, is all of the above a total load of hype? According to Port Senior Chris Donohue, “prom is a factor of your senior year, but it’s very overrated.” Even though prom may be a fairy tale for many, for others it’s nothing but a stress-inducing, wallet- bursting, pressure-filled anxiety attack waiting to happen. Donahue goes on to say, “There is so much pressure… you have to have a limo and you have to look the best.” We can’t say the man is wrong. Prom is one of the most pressured times for a senior. There is so much anxiety to look the best, have the best date, have the most friends, have the nicest limo and to be noticed that it could drive even the most stable of specimens to insanity. Nobody wants to be the girl standing in the corner next to the coats or the guy hovering over the snack table by himself.
Girls have the coronary artery blocking-inducing pressure of having the best dress and shoes, having the perfect hairstyle and having flawless make-up and nails. They are forced to look petite, perfect, primped and precise. One strand of hair out of place or misplaced ruffle can lead to non-stop scrutiny the following Monday. Girls also have the heart-stopping stress of finding a date. Every girl wants Prince Charming to ask her to the prom; God forbid a girl goes to the prom alone. There is also pressure for girls to arrive with and be a part of the biggest and most popular social groups. Seen in this light, prom is the epitome of social pressure. Guys also face difficulty; they must work up the nerve to ask the perfect girl to the prom, hoping she says yes. No one wants to be rejected when asking a girl to the prom. Guys must also look smooth and polished in their tuxes, shoes and gelled-back hair.
Figuring the financial burden for attending the prom is enough to put anyone into a frenzied panic. One prom ticket goes for $135, and if a guy is nice enough to pay for his date’s ticket also, that’s almost $300. I wonder how much overtime at McDonald’s it takes to be able to afford that. But the ticket is just the tip of the iceberg. The average prom dress goes for $150 to an upwards of $500. A Seventeen Magazine poll discovered that 94% of girls planning to attend the prom spent approximately $195 on their dresses. Add to that the cost of professional hairstyling, make-up, manicures/pedicures, shoes and accessories, we’re talking almost or even more than $1,000. It’s almost as bad for the guys too. Tuxedo rentals can range anywhere from $50 to upwards of $200 (and let’s not forget about those $300 tickets). Limo rentals are also a killer. The average prom night limo rental for four to eight hours will cost you anywhere from $400 to $800. It’s hard to imagine all that money for a night where you’ll end up in Wildwood anyway, drunk and partying on the beach looking every bit like a disheveled and hung over mess…
Which brings me to my next issue: the social pressures of prom. Prom Night is notorious for placing impressionable and naive teenagers in awkward and potentially dangerous social situations. We’ve all heard the term before, and we all usually roll our eyes when adults lecture us about it: peer pressure. But the truth is it does exist, and chances are we’ve all fallen prey to it once or twice, and will again in our young adulthood. Prom is notorious for underage drinking, drunk driving, drug experimentation and sexual pressure. Statistics show that Prom-Graduation season (April-June) is the most dangerous driving time for teenagers. One-third of alcohol related motor vehicle fatalities involving teens happen during this time of year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the 2005 Prom-Graduation season, 676 students under 21 were killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents. Prom after parties are notorious for drugs and sex (including date rape). For many high schools, it’s hard to tell the difference between a prom after party and a Motley Crue backstage bash. Girls are often pressured to lose their virginity on prom night, and it isn’t that hard. Port Richmond’s prom is held after all at the Staten Island Hilton Garden Inn, a nice and lavish hotel. Several rooms are available for you and your date just a few floors up. Wildwood, the hot post-prom go-to, is known for it. Guys are often pressured by their other male friends to “do it” after prom if they want to be “cool.” Prom after parties are also infamous for drugs like marijuana, acid and ecstasy. Several guys under the influence of these drugs try to force sex with their dates; several girls who are under the influence of these drugs are taken advantage of by their dates due to their weak states. If and when you attend prom, make sure you know you can trust your date and are wary of dangerous and sometimes fatal after parties. I’m not completely debunking prom after parties, just make sure you attend them with a good head on your shoulders and a date you know you can trust.
All in all, prom has been a hot topic among seniors for decades. For some it’s the fairy tale ending they’ve been waiting for four years, a magical night to look beautiful, relax, reminisce and party with friends before parting in just a couple of months. For others, it’s an over-hyped, glorified party that only leads to social out casting, pressure, stress, empty wallets and potential danger. Many seniors have conflicting opinions about the merits of this age-old tradition. To prom or not to prom? It’s your call.
Dan "Wolfie" Aliotta will be attending prom because "I only get one. I don't want to regret not going."
Veronica Cruz (pictured left) will be going to prom to have a huge celebration with her closest friends.
Why is Mike Scalera going to prom? "Because... I am!" he laughs.
Mike Mojica will not be going to prom. Why not, you ask? "Because I don't want to."
Another senior, Michael Tighe, will not be going to prom. "It's not my thing- I'm not into it."
Marc Dietrich will be going "because someone asked [me]."
Mara Langholtz gives her opinion on why is she going to prom: "It's the one time that most of the seniors are together, all done up, and even though I'm more stressed than ever [because of] planning everything, I know the outcome will be an unforgettable night! I mean come on- who doesn't want a prom to remember? And if you're not going, what is there to remember?"
Meanwhile, Josue Cabrera is not going, because he "doesn't want to pay that much."
Jasmine Gary is attending the prom to spend a final night with her friends.
David Winnick is going mainly because "[he has] nothing else to do that weekend."
Why is Beleah Kollue (pictured right) going to prom? "To be with my friends, duh."
Well, whether or not you're going to prom, be sure to have a safe and fun weekend, seniors. Remember- this is your night to shine.