The Prom Season Sparks National Debate on Dances

The Prom Season Sparks National Debate on Dances

By Sam Larson What goes through your head when you think of prom?  If you’re a guy, like me, you probably think of it as an inevitably awkward situation.  Even the thought of having “pre-prom” pictures taken is enough to make me cringe.  The parental paparazzi (consisting notably of your date’s parents [i.e. her father])

By Sam Larson
What goes through your head when you think of prom?  If you’re a guy, like me, you probably think of it as an inevitably awkward situation.  Even the thought of having “pre-prom” pictures taken is enough to make me cringe.  The parental paparazzi (consisting notably of your date’s parents [i.e. her father]) is a scenario that cannot end too soon.  Then, as custom dictates, comes the dinner, which always tends to take place at a restaurant too fancy for my liking. (I still can’t understand why students are not okay with swinging by a burger shack on their way to the dance). However, it all culminates with the most dreaded part of all… the dance, itself.  Now, I’m fine with shaking my groove thing but I’ve really never felt completely comfortable with doing so in the prom environment.  After all, there are teachers watching.  And given recent national trends, prom often becomes a public concern.
For me, prom is awkward.  It becomes an interesting contrast:  on one hand, it’s fear-inducing, on the other hand, it’s a great deal of fun.  Therein is the life of the teenager.  The culmination of the teen years is concluded by an experience that is equally unbalanced and disjointed: so it is an event that basically all teens can relate to.  If you pulled any random person off the street, odds are they’d be able to tell you a thing or two about their prom back in the day and what an awesome time they had, but this article isn’t about how weird I think tuxes and fancy dinners are.  This is about what could be looming.  There is change in the air and schools are beginning to change proms, and the rules applied at social events.  One need only think back to the Lincoln High Homecoming to know that lighting and playlists are a first step, and some American school districts are simply ending prom all together.  Typically there are the rumors of musical content, in order to encourage the students to dance in a more “respectable” manner.  This is interesting because the DJ for a past Lincoln East High School prom was quoted in an article by the Journal Star to have said, “Blaming the music for your bad dancing is like saying your handwriting is bad because of your pencil.”
The rumors are flying when it comes to prom-decency-enforcement.  Here is one I heard  this prom season:  schools could have some form of “mark” system where you get a mark on your hand if you dance inappropriately and if you get another mark, you’re out of the ball game.  The chatter is so great that a Facebook page was created about the matter by students at a Lincoln high school.  Many schools, including an Ohio high school, have used a “penalty box” to keep shocking moves at bay. Prom has become hockey, apparently.
Many people think that if the dirty dancing continues, proms will no longer exist.  This already awkward rite-of-passage has grown even more complex and school districts are attempting to address the issue.  Teenagers are often thrown into confusing situations (like adjusted schedules and parental paparazzi); however, students do have the ability to act responsibly.  We need to take control of prom and make sure that it remains a fun, safe, enjoyable time for teens rather than a raunchy cluster that, ultimately, dooms the entire concept of prom.  It’s not every day we wear tuxes and prom dresses, endure photos, eat at nice restaurants, and, maybe, approach a school dance with a new perspective.  It could one of the lasting lessons that follows us out of these awkward years… until we become members of the parental prom paparazzi.

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