The Forest Scout

OPINION: Dear Prom, You’ve Changed

Holly Malnati

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The ideas represented within this article are opinions in nature and are solely that of the author. They may not wholly reflect the stance of The Forest Scout newspaper as a publication. 

Prom dates all the way back to the 1800s when colleges would put on dances to display and practice social etiquette. Despite its long history, it is easy to say that its format has changed over time. We can’t assume that this tradition would be kept exactly the same for two centuries, but even if we look at Prom at LFHS only five years ago, a lot has changed.

The idea of prom used to be that a guy would ask a girl of his choosing to the dance. It might a little awkward– considering he had to go to her door and ask if her parents if she was home while timidly holding a sign– but that was just part of it. However, flash forward to now and it is completely different, and anyone at LFHS can attest to this.

Nowadays, the entire production of prom is orchestrated by the girls. A group of girls will come in and, “swoop up” a mutual guy friend group and finagle their own way until each and every one of their friends has a date with a boy in the other group. If you thought the boys had any say, there’s a large chance that the guy had no idea what was going on until he was texted, “You’re going with so and so. This way we can all be at the same table.” It has become evident to most that there is a lot more done in preparation by the girls compared to the guys. Girls find all their friends a date in order to become “table captain,” and most often coordinate the details of both the pre and post parties. A lot of times girls become so consumed with the idea of being with their friends that they completely neglect the opinions of their date.

It would be unfair to say that this is just an issue amongst the girls, but it is often times forgotten that the guys are the ones asking the girls, not vice versa. Boys are the ones who normally pay the $190 dollars for the two tickets. This should be taken into account when a boy is deciding who to ask. Boys are paying for themselves and their dates at prom, so they should ask the girl they want to ask, not the one they’re set up with.

Not only this, but there is a lot of additional stress added on to students with the red carpet. Yes, the red carpet somehow draws one of the biggest crowds in the Lake Forest and Lake Bluff area, but while it is nice to have professional photos taken with both you and your date, this causes people to think that they must attend the dance with someone in fear that they will have to walk alone in front of all their community members. In response, many have said that there is the option to not walk across the red carpet, but it is naive to believe that the underlying peer pressure to walk is not enough to get someone not to attend if they don’t have a date. The red carpet is not the only factor, but also the price, location, constant idea of bigger is better is beginning to have effects on the student population. The fact that there was an uproar that prom wasn’t in the city last year goes to show people strive for this idea of excellence. For most schools, their prom is in the gym, not a Hyatt Regency.

I would like to make it clear that I am not trying to put a damper on Prom, but am more appropriately trying to make a point that Prom does not need to be the stress that it is. It is a dance after all. It is disappointing to see how the stresses of prom have changed from a nerve-wracking asking to a full blown girl-run operation. There is this idea that our Prom has to be overwhelmingly perfect for it to even be worth it. After being at LFHS for four years, it can be said by most that dances never go the way you planned. So instead of focusing on the little things such as where our prom is, what table you’re at, or what pre and post you’re invited to, focus on who you’ll be spending that time with. All prom should be is having fun with the people you care about. So for the seniors, this will be our last dance ever at LFHS. Take advantage of this opportunity and try to enjoy yourself.

About the Writer
Holly Malnati, Author

Holly Malnati is a senior at Lake Forest High School. You can most commonly find her at the pool as she is the JV Swim Captain and an active member of the Girls’ Varsity Water Polo Team. She loves Broadway musicals, twice-baked potatoes, and her summer job as a lifeguard at the Lake Bluff Pool. Look for her articles under In LFHS and In Our Opinion.

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