How do you spell stress? P-R-O-M




The stress level at ASL is currently at an all-time high. AP tests are in a little more than three weeks and the SATs are either in two weeks or in six, depending on when you’re taking them. Needless to say, the pulses are quickening as the dreaded month of May approaches. But academic testing is not all that transpires in May. On May 18th, the Junior/Senior Prom will be upon us. A night of silk gowns, corsages, tuxedos and champagne drinking, it is quite possibly the most anticipated event of the spring season.

However, before this night of glamorous dresses and perhaps less glamorous dancing arrives, students, in particular the female population of ASL, must endure constant talk of all the trivial aspects of prom. Who’s going with who and how they were asked, who’s wearing what dress and how much it cost, whose pre-promming with who and where: these questions are recited over and over, as if on repeat. Ironically, everyone pretends to be annoyed by this constant and repetitive flow of prom talk, yet they can’t seem to stop discussing it.

This constant chatter about all things prom is more than just an annoyance. It adds an additional strain on top of an already massive amount of academic stress. So now, on top of trying to cram a 2000-page Barron’s textbook into your brain, you are expected to save space to worry about who you’re going to Prom with and what you’re going to wear. You are expected to spend god-knows-how-long finding the perfect prom dress. And, most importantly, you are expected to shell out 140 pounds for the actual prom and after-prom. This does not include the amount of money girls feel the need to spend on hair, makeup, shoes, accessories and of course the dress – which as a general rule ranges upwards from hundreds to, in some cases, over a thousand pounds.

The worst part is that you can’t even escape the ‘prama’ in the comfort of your own home. Every time I open my facebook, I get a new notification that so-and-so has just posted in ‘Prom: 2013’ with an image of their newly discovered perfect prom dress. Although this group is useful (its purpose is to make sure there are no dress repeats), it’s a constant reminder, at least for me, of my lack of a dress for prom. It also becomes something of a judgment zone, as girls can not only judge the dresses posted, but can also easily look up how much each dress cost, as the brand of each dress is posted alongside the picture. The dress wearer can then be criticized for spending too little, or, as is more often the case, too much.

Guys, fortunately, don’t need to worry about tux repeats. This does not mean, however, that boys have no reason to stress over prom. While girls fret over whether or not they’ll be asked, boys can spend equal time stressing over whom to ask. Fear of rejection is a strong emotion this time of year, as no one wants to hear the dreaded ‘no’, whether it be in the form of ‘no, I’m going with someone else’ or the more blunt ‘no thank you’. No guy wants to put a girl in the uncomfortable situation of having to reject him or even saying yes out of pity.

My last issue with prom is that there’s something slightly outdated about the role the male and female plays in the run-up to it. Unless the girl takes it upon herself to ask a guy, which is rare, girls are left powerless as to who takes them. Their only way of being able to control who they will be seen with in prom pictures is by using a friend as an intermediary, which is often annoying and inefficient. On the other hand, all the boy needs to do is decide who he wants to go with and think of a creative way to ask her. They get to pick, while the girls are left to be picked over.

Please don’t get me wrong – part of me likes the idea of a prom. It should be a night of glamour and hopefully fun in a season made up primarily of stress and work. However, the stress and cost the event brings with it seems disproportionate to the event. After all, Prom is only one night – one night of getting dressed up, posing for photos and dancing with friends. While this sounds fun, it does not seem an event worthy of the investment we are making as upperclassmen in the event.