I have recently received a bit of criticism based on a decision I have made about prom. I am not going. Even though I am a senior and I did not go to prom last year, I do not plan on going to prom this year. This is my decision.
When I tell people that I am not going to prom, I get “that look”. It’s a look that seems to say, “What is wrong with you? Are you crazy?” The next thing people say is, “Why?” and after that there are a couple variations of “You have to go to prom.” Okay, you say that I have to go to prom, but why? “You just have to.” Well, I don’t believe that is a valid reason.
Okay first of all, I am not against prom. I completely understand why people go to prom and why people think that I should go, but I spent enough time thinking through my options before I finally made my choice. Here are the reasons that people have given for why I should go to prom, as well as my reasons for not going. Tell me if any of this is unreasonable.
1. You must go to prom because it is a tradition.
I understand that this is a tradition. Just like graduation, senior sunrise/sunset, grad night and all other senior events, prom is a rite of passage that must be completed during your senior year of high school. However, it is only a social custom. A social custom which I find completely unnecessary. It is an artificial event created and given excessive hype so that teenagers can have an excuse for getting all dressed up, spending tons of money and partying all night long. Sound familiar? Yeah, it sounds just like grad night except just without the dressing up and spending tons of money part. Okay, I don’t mean to be too critical, and I apologize if I am, but this is how I see it. Yes, it’s fun to get dressed up and go to a dance, but it’s just a dance. I’ve been to homecoming; I know how it goes. And yes, I know that it’s completely different from homecoming, but it’s still a high school dance and that’s something I am just not that interested in.
2. You must go to prom because it’s fun.
Okay, well there are plenty of things that I find are fun. Yes, going out with friends for a night is fun, but I’ve done that before. I’ve done the whole getting dressed and taking pictures and going to a dance thing. I don’t find this one to be any different from the others except that it is bigger and held in a different location.
3. You must go to prom because you’ll get to get all dressed up.
Hmm, yeah, dressing up is fun, but can’t I just do that for other things instead of spending tons of money on a dress I may only wear a few times? My dad and I were at Costco the other day looking at new TVs and one of my first thoughts when looking at the price tag was that I could buy a new, expensive TV for the amount of money that some people are spending on dresses. I just don’t find that reasonable or worth it at all. Not only could you buy a TV, that money could be used for so many other things that I find more important that one night with all your peers from school. (Not to mention I don’t even like most of my peers from school so why would I want to spend a night with them? But that’s just me being anti-social I guess.)
4. You must go to prom because the before and after parts are fun.
That would be taking pictures with the group, eating dinner and then having a sleepover after the dance. Okay, well, those are all fun things to do with friends. Sure. But why can’t I just have fun with my friends while doing something else? I don’t have to spend a lot of time and money on one night with my friends. I could do that any time, couldn’t I?
5. You must go to prom because everyone will be talking about it on Monday and you won’t want to be left out.
Thanks for the consideration, I suppose, but people feel left out all the time. This is a decision I made long before, so even if I feel a little bit left out, what does it matter? It’s only a few days in high school. How much will it matter once I go off to college, graduate college, get a job, build my life, basically the rest of my life? I feel it matters very little. Which brings me to the last reason…
6. You should go to prom because you’ll regret it if you don’t.
Ahh, this one. The reason that I have thought the most about. I honestly did take two, or probably even more, weeks to make this decision. My friends were annoyed that I kept going back and forth on whether or not I would go. I took all the other reasons into consideration in making this decision on whether or not I would regret it. The conclusion I came up with was that no, I would not regret it. Yes, it would be fun, but there are lots of things that can be fun. Yes, this is a once in a lifetime experience, but it’s one that I honestly don’t care that much about. Really. I love hanging out with my friends. Of course I do. But I don’t need to go to prom to have fun with my friends. And I am pretty sure that I will not regret it. If I do, it is entirely my fault because I made this decision. But then again, I made this decision long ago and I was happy with it. I honestly felt relief in saying, “I’m not going to go to prom.” Another thing is that it honestly took me weeks to make this decision. A part of me really did want to go, but taking everything else into consideration, I just did not feel that it was worth it.
Whew. Well, those were pretty much the reasons I’ve been giving people, except they were much shorter than that. Basically, I don’t want to go because I don’t want to spend a ton of money, I don’t think it’s worth it, I don’t think it matters, I genuinely don’t care, and I know I won’t regret not going. There. That’s it. Those are my reasons.
Okay, I guess I didn’t really need to go into a long rant when I could’ve just summed it up like that, but somehow I felt that I needed to confirm my reasoning. Most of the time when I tell people I’m not going and I give them my own reasons for not going, they reply with the six reasons I mentioned above. Yes, I completely understand those reasons. But I still don’t want to go. That is my choice. I guess the reason that this whole thing upsets me is because of the response I keep getting from it. It’s “that look” that I mentioned earlier. Why do people feel the need to keep giving me that look? I understand your reasons for going, and I respect that. What’s so wrong about my own decision and why can’t you respect and accept that instead of judging me for it? Years from now it won’t even matter. Maybe it will be a memory you keep with you all your life, but really, how important is that one memory? To me, it’s nothing at all, and I am content with that.