Prom -- Media Invention or Best Night Ever?

Prom -- Media Invention or Best Night Ever?

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For many graduating high school students, one of the biggest events of the year -- outside of getting their diplomas -- is prom night. YO! Youth Outlook asked young people about their most memorable prom moments.

The Best Night of Our Lives
Bobby Jackson

I just went to Alameda High's prom this year. It was fun, but getting ready for prom was a lot of stress, only because it wasn’t my prom. I had to make sure my suit came in on time, had to get my hair done, just hella running around to do. My prom date kept calling me every hour asking if I got everything, which made it even worse.

Everybody decided to meet up at Alameda High at 4:00 p.m. to take pictures. But you know me – I'm the star. I showed up late, so when I walked through the doors, all eyes were on me. Everybody was on my suit and my two-tone vest. I was clean but I think my friend Shawn was even cleaner than I was. He had on this brown pin striped suit with a turquoise vest.

Everybody was taking pictures as we were waiting for the party bus to pick us up. There were people eating, smoking cigarettes, acting a fool. I stood there for a second just looking at all my friends. They looked happy with their smiles on their faces. Right before the party bus pulled up they took our pictures. I can’t lie – we all looked pretty good with our tuxes matching the ladies’ dresses.

So the party bus pulled up and it was huge.

Everybody started rushing to get on so I had to calm everybody down and convince them to let the ladies get on first. When we got on the bus the first thing we saw was the stripper pole right in the middle of the bus and the females were already dancing on the pole. The bus hadn’t even pulled away before we started dancing. We knew that if we were having this much fun on the bus then prom was going to be off the hook.

Once we got on the freeway people started pulling out bottles of liquor. Before we got to San Francisco we drank like 10 bottles. These fools were already drunk before we even stepped off the bus.

We finally made it up there and the line to get in went all the way around the corner. I didn’t even know that many people went to Alameda High. When we finally got in, it was already going down. There were people everywhere. I started going dumb as soon as I walked in and my friends were right behind me doing the same. We started pulling the girls toward us. We couldn’t dance nasty because the teachers pulled us apart, telling us we couldn’t dance like that. We didn’t listen though. We just took it to the middle of the floor where they couldn’t see us.

I don’t really remember too much about that night but when I woke up, there were girls all over the place. All over the bed, all over the floor. And I was right in the middle of it all. There were even people sleeping in the bathroom. I knew people had fun because they were still smiling in their sleep.

I Didn't Even Want to Go to Prom
Alexis Shaw

Prom brings about that time of year that everyone gets so excited about: the glitz and glam of this magical night of your senior year, and most importantly spending that night with a “special” person. Personally I just don’t find it all that important.

I understand that the media makes this night out to be one of the best nights of your high school career and I even understand that prom gets the school a big profit because of the overpriced ticket sales. I totally get it. During my four years of high school I never went to prom. I only regret not going to my sophomore year prom because that year there was a lot to look forward to. But after that, prom just became irrelevant to me. I guess it’s because I came into this realm of not doing what people expected of me. For the longest time I did things because people said it was cool to do. I finally came to the realization that prom wasn’t something that I wanted to participate in at all. It was just something that my family seemed to think relevant and something that my peers made into a life or death event.

When I finally made the decision not to go to my senior prom, my family was devastated. I went through the emotions of ‘Maybe I’m trippin,’ or ‘Maybe I’m a loser’ or ‘Maybe I’m just not good enough.’ There were so many things that popped into my mind that I couldn’t handle, on top of the stress about going to college.

When I felt like I was going to explode from all the emotions, I decided that this was just not for me. I was racking my mind like this because of other people’s opinions of what I should be. So I said F--- it, I’m going to do what I want to do.

I’d rather save that money, buy an outfit and go to a club or something instead of giving my hard earned money to a school that I can’t wait to out of.

I respect my school and all the doors that it has opened for me, but I’m over high school at this point.

Prom reeks of misconceptions. The media give youth the idea that this is a requirement and if they don’t participate then they are losers.

The worst part is the misconception that a young woman or a young man should participate in sex just because it’s prom and it’s one of the last times you’ll be with the people you go to high school with. I feel that people should have sex when they are ready, but that isn’t something that can be decided by a date, time or occasion. There are people my age across the country that get bent out of shape because they can’t find a date or the perfect dress or can’t come up with the money. Some even go to the lengths of letting it lead them into depression or suicide. It’s not that serious, and it doesn’t determine what type of person you are or where you’re going in life. This is just a day that is optional. It’s just one night in high school.

Each Prom is a Different Experience
Ria Dixon

I went to prom my freshman, junior and senior years. Each time was a last minute decision, but the most memorable one was my freshmen year. I never intended on going to prom until my last year of high school, so I was extremely excited when I was invited to go by a senior during my first year.

My dad is extremely overprotective of his daughters so he wasn’t really with the idea of me going to prom at all. Let alone a 14-year-old going with an older guy. In order to go, I had to beg my dad like crazy. I had to wash what felt like what a billion dishes for 2 months straight. My dad finally told me I could go at the last minute and my older sister surprised me with a dress. My date was wearing a black tux with dark green lining and vest. The dress she picked out for me was perfect. It was a corseted, forest green, halter-top dress, with a high slit on the right side of the dress, which came up to the middle of my thigh, and a long trail that fell below my ankles. I knew I couldn’t try the dress on until I was leaving because there was no way my dad was going to let me walk out of the house in it.

When my date came to pick me up, the colors we had on were identical. After he placed the corsage on my wrist my father walked up to him and put his hand on the back of his neck (hard enough to let him know he was serious, but light enough not to hurt the boy) and then he gave him the whole “I love my daughter very much and I’ll kill you if you try anything funny” speech.

I was so embarrassed and my date’s facial expression illustrated nothing but fear. My dad really must have scared the boy because right after prom he raced me straight home without giving me a chance to say goodbye to anyone. I kept trying to persuade him to let me go to Denny’s with them but he wasn’t “feelin’” the whole “death grip” introduction my father gave him.

Junior year, I was given a little more freedom. This was my brother’s senior prom so we shared a limo together along with our dates. My brother asked if my friend and I would go with two of his friends to prom. We both decided we’d go if the other one did. I’m a really big procrastinator so I waited until the last minute to figure out what colors to wear.

Senior year there were no restrictions. One of my closest friends got pregnant sophomore year and she never really got to experience many of the high school festivities. So I brought her to prom with me. After all, it was my third time. Why not? My dress was a silk halter-top dress that went down to my knees. It looked a lot like the white dress Marilyn Monroe had on in that picture where she’s blowing the camera a kiss, except mine was peach color. The drop it the front stopped right above my navel and all of the back was out. I couldn’t make any sudden movements in that dress. My shoes matched perfectly and unfortunately my hair did too, I looked like a little apricot from head to toe.

Prom was actually my birthday weekend and we were going to Great America the next day. My girls and I went to the after party for a little while and I was so surprised to see the senior class had a birthday cake there waiting for me.

The next morning we drove to Great America and enjoyed our last day as 12th graders. Though my freshmen year prom was the most memorable, my senior prom was my favorite because it bookmarked my transition from childhood to adulthood.

Prom Date Drama
Jockuela Ballard

I didn't go to prom this year but I went to prom in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The prom I went to in 2006 wasn't mine – it was my boyfriend’s. He went to high school in Fairfield, Calif.

I didn't know anybody there except for him and his best friend.

Before we went my boyfriend told me his ex-girlfriend was going to be there. This was a girl that I kept getting into it with on MySpace. The only thing I could do was pray I didn't get kicked out of prom, because she was talking a lot of s--t on the Internet and I knew if she said something to me I would go off.

When we got to prom it was cool. I stayed with the people that rode in the limo with me because I didn't know anyone else. The first stop was the picture booth. When we got there she noticed us before we noticed her. She walked past and said hello to his best friend and I laughed. She stopped and talked to some girls in front of us and said, “He only brought her to make me jealous.” Being the person I am, I said something back. “If he wanted to be here with you he would be,” I said. “I don't have time for the bullshit. Just let it go.”

After that no more words were shared between us.

The night kept going and we had fun dancing and laughing. Shortly after prom my boyfriend and I broke up. His ex-girlfriend kept calling my phone. I wasn't having that so I cut the problem, which was him. To this day he is still trying to get back with me but I’m cool off him now.

No Prom? No Problem!
Alicia Marie

I’ve always been a girly girl. I love to get dressed up and go out. To me prepping is sometimes more fun than the event itself. However, during my freshman year of high school, when I noticed all the seniors getting ready for prom, I had no desire to attend.

Prom at South San Francisco High School was not really a big event with the kids I hung around with. It might have been because we were freshmen and sophomores and the seniors in our group were taking their pregnant girlfriends or a girl they knew they could take back to the hotel. I couldn’t have cared less. I wanted to graduate more than I wanted to attend prom.

I transferred schools my junior year. When I got to my new school, there were only 85 students, and 12 of them were girls. I have no idea why, but when I first stepped foot in the school, I thought, “How are we supposed to have prom?”

I spent prom night at my job at the radio station. My favorite rapper at the time, 50 Cent, was at the station. When I took my picture, I positioned myself as if it was a prom picture. It came out prefect.

So, am I devastated I wasn’t able to attend my prom? No. I was still able to be the girly girl I am in my heart, get dressed up and go out to “prom like” events, for a way cheaper price.