A Four-Letter Lie: Why Your High School Prom Does Not Actually Matter

Prom is absolutely the most significant event of your entire existence. It is more important than getting married, having babies, launching a successful career and traveling combined. In fact, if you don’t go to prom, you might as well cover your face with a brown bag and call yourself a failure because you will have made the biggest mistake of your life. If you do not go to prom, know that you will forever be labeled the prom anti-Christ and every single person in high school will remember that you didn’t go and judge you for it. And most importantly, remember that everything I just said is a complete and utter lie.

Prom is a four-letter word that marks neither the beginning nor the end of the rest of your life. Your prom experience (or lack thereof) will not get you into a good college, land you an impressive job or help you give birth to the next President of the United States. Despite what popular media may suggest, not attending prom will not label you a social outcast or ruin your reputation. In fact, not going may even be a better choice in the long run. Here are the reasons why prom doesn’t actually matter as much as people say it does:

Prom is Expensive

A typical prom experience can cost anywhere between 80 to 500 dollars depending on your level of enthusiasm. Personally, I find this to be a bit excessive seeing as you are essentially paying a triple-digit price tag for clothes that you will never wear again and a hair style that will fall apart within a matter of hours. Wouldn’t you rather spend your money on other, more enriching activities? For example, for the same price as prom night, you can get the following items: a skydiving lesson with videos and pictures included, a VIP ticket to a Kelly Clarkson concert, two flying squirrels, a lifetime supply of Ring Pops or the Death Star. That last one might be a bit of a stretch but you get the idea. If materialism isn’t your thing, you could also spend the money meant for prom on a night on the town with your closest friends or pay for a limo and drive around all night just for the fun of it which is a little bit less ridiculous than spending it on a night of dancing.

Prom Is Awkward

Put simply, prom is awkward. First, you must find a suitable date, one that is not too short or too weird and who will not be embarrassed when your crying mother decides to take a million pictures a minute before you’re scheduled to leave. Second, because there is no set formula to determine how much time you must spend with your date versus how much time you should spend with your friends, you will undoubtedly be haunted by a lingering sense of confusion all night as you either drag this poor boy back and forth across the prom room or make the decision to abandon him for hours at a time. Unless your date happens to be your friend, there is no way to avoid this problem. Then there are your teachers, who stand off to the side, silently judging you and wondering what it will be like to see you in class the following Monday as you simultaneously try to deflect the same thought. By the end of the night, the hair you sacrificed your first born child for probably looks like the end of a broomstick (and not the fancy Nimbus 2000 kind, either) and all the photos of you show the weird faces that only a professional camera and your best friends are able to capture. And don’t worry, you can be sure they will be uploaded to Facebook and shared a hundred times over.

Prom Is Just One Day

In the big scheme of things, prom is a grain of sand on a very long Californian beach. While it may be one of the prettier specks, when you’re old and looking down at the pebbles of your past and can’t find the glasses on top of your head, you probably won’t even be able to see the difference between that prom particle and all the others. And if you choose not to go, don’t listen to all those prom enthusiasts who say this is your one moment to dress up for the sake of dressing up. There are plenty of other opportunities to dress up for such as weddings, fancy business events, and balls. In fact, think of prom like that scene in Titanic where Jack borrows a tuxedo and accompanies Rose to her family’s fancy dinner. While some of the richer folk enjoyed donning expensive clothes and eating overpriced food with a table of people they didn’t really know, Jack and Rose had much more fun at the informal dance party in the boat’s basement, surrounded by friends, good music and deliciously unhealthy (and cheap) dinners. Call me crazy but I’d much rather dance carelessly with my friends in my pajamas than wobble around in a long itchy dress for a few hours.

And the number one reason to not regret not going to prom goes to…

Prom is Overrated

Don’t believe what you see in TV shows and magazines about prom being a once-in-a-lifetime experience with confetti raining down from the heavens and that perfect boy giving you a cute little dimple smile and dancing you off your feet. Finding a prom like that is like finding a talking unicorn in your backyard that poops money trees. Namely, it doesn’t exist. In reality, prom is a hodgepodge of sweaty football players weaving in and out of your personal bubble all the while unknowingly grinding with a portion of your leg that you would rather keep to yourself. Not to mention the cacophony that someone without ears deemed music streaming over the crowd of hormonally charged teenagers. Prom is like a Disney film. It presents an ideal situation (boy meets girl meets suit and tie and a night of carefree dancing) that gives girls high expectations and pressures them into thinking they will lose a glass slipper at the end of the night and be rescued by Prince Charming. News flash: Fairy tales don’t exist. Prom is nothing more than a crappy high school dance with an expensive price tag and a fancy name slapped on. It is overpriced, overhyped and it will most likely not be the best night of your life so don’t feel bad about dressing up with friends and skipping out on prom to go out on the town or simply staying in to watch a movie. In the end, being surrounded by people you love rather than strangers you barely know is what matters. And not being covered in other people’s sweat. That’s pretty important too.

So whether you’re dateless, resistant or you just hate dances, I can assure you, prom is not and will never be the pinnacle of your high school experience and anyone who tells you otherwise has been blinded by the media’s overhyped depiction of a dance that is more about the image than the actual experience. If you want to go to a real party (bonus points for another Titanic reference?), take your money and your friends and make the most of it somewhere else. Go to a fancy dinner in the most expensive clothes you own. Make mattress forts with your friends and watch bad movies until you can’t stay awake anymore. Stand in the open sunroof of a limousine and sing Adele at the top your lungs through town. Most importantly, do whatever your heart desires and leave your regrets behind because when it comes to four letter words, life is the only one that truly matters. Don’t let it go to waste.

Filed Under