Prom has been notoriously mythologized by ’80s and ’90s cult classics like Pretty in Pink, Never Been Kissed, Footloose, and 10 Things I Hate About You, so it’s understandable that the ritual takes precedent in our society. What we’re going to wear and how we’re going to wear it is an important part of prom culture. Some general (as well as more specific) rules exist, like wearing clothes and shoes, and that’s a good thing.
But what happens when we are accused of breaking prom rules that don’t even exist? Or rules that are just plain sexist and absurd? Shafer Rupard, a student at Cherryville High School in North Carolina, attended prom wearing red skinny jeans (which I totally want), and she got kicked out for this. Shafer said, “The teacher tapped me on the shoulder and said she had a problem with what I was wearing. I thought it was because of the hat or leather jacket and I was like, ‘Well, I’ll take those off,’ and she was like no, ‘It’s the pants.’” You know, because pants are offensive.
Are prom guidelines really that archaic? A girl can really get kicked out for wearing pants? I started researching “prom rules” for high-schools in the US to find out what other old-school rules new schools still implement, and I found 8 that definitely need to be tossed. It’s 2014, y’all. Not 1950.
1. No Gym Shoes
At Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School, both boys and girls must wear formal shoes. While I can understand their ban on flip-flops (imagine getting your toes stepped on a million times in a mosh pit of teenagers), I don’t see why these students can’t go to prom in their Chucks. I would much rather get my groove on in sneakers, quite honestly.
2. No same-sex couples
The same school (Chaminade Julienne Catholic high-school) also does not allow you to bring a date if they’re the same sex as you. I went to junior prom with my best girl friend in high-school because we didn’t have boyfriends and it was quite the blast. But on a very serious note, come on. It’s the 21st century. Prom is prom and love is love.
3. No Dickies
For Sunlake High School’s prom, students aren’t allowed to wear Dickies. Do you know how many times I have worn my Dickies in disguise as fancy pants?! Dickies are like, the ultimate universal pair of pants that go with everything. Work, school, interviews, hanging out on my couch and watching Netflix, Dickies are the best. Plus, don’t tell me which labels to wear or not to wear!
4. Knee-length dresses
While I understand it’s important to not bare all at a high-school dance, I also know it’s 2014, and if girls (or boys!) want to wear short skirts, then they’re going to wear short skirts. It’s the high-school version of a night on the town! Come on, South Caldwell High. As long as no one can see any privates, I think we’re good.
5. Suit and tie for guys
I honestly think wearing a suit and tie to a high-school event, even if it’s prom, is over the top. We’re talking about eighteen year-olds here. At Hennedy Catholic School, a suit and tie is a requirement, and while I respect that, I don’t get why, let’s say, a classy button-up won’t do as a substitution. Unless you’re Justin Timberlake, then yes I may require you to wear a suit and tie.
6. No early dismissal
Apparently at Hennedy, they want you to party ALL NIGHT LONG. Well, until midnight at least. I’ve never heard of a school requiring you to stay at prom. If I’m having a crappy time, I think I have the right to bail.
7. Wearing underwear
Okay. I get why this rule exists. Celebrities like LiLo and Anne Hathaway have experienced some major paparazzi drama with their own lack-of undergarments, but I still think it’s weird a school is telling their students to wear underwear. Do they really have the right to do that? What if you just like going commando?
8. Guys cannot wear earrings
This same school does not allow male students to wear earrings. I think if girls can wear earrings, so can guys!