Prom not for everyone


Photo by Drew Rodgers

Jay Whang

Every May, high school seniors dressed in nice tuxedos and dresses ride limousines to high school prom, short for promenade. Prom started back in the 19th century, when American universities held them for each year’s graduating class. A growing teenage culture pushed proms younger and younger, and by the 1940s, the adolescent dance we know today had almost entirely taken hold.

“You know I think the prom is just an American high school tradition,” assistant principal David Bones said. “It is that time when seniors particularly can have a special night to celebrate end of their high school.”
While those who will attend the prom will get good memories out of this event, some seniors prefer not to attend prom. Senior Brian Kurukulasuriya, for example, doesn’t feel comfortable with the strong couple culture at prom..
“I figured after all these dances and getting that bummed out feeling,” he said, “plus the fact that this is senior prom and most of the girls who even agreed to dance with me at prom aren’t seniors, I’m like ‘screw this.’”

As the culture develops, however, prom is gradually evolving its couple culture and faces some controversies, about as dangerous as Carrie White’s psychic power. In 1994, an Alabaman school principal got a lawsuit for threatening to cancel the prom if interracial couples attended. And despite the two South Dakota boys who in 1979 became one of the first known same-sex couples to openly attend a prom, some schools still have anti-gay bans in place. In April 2010, a Mississippi school district canceled its prom rather than allow a student to bring her girlfriend as her date.

Not only do some students find the traditional couple culture unappealing, but they’re also disinterested in hanging out in crowded event.
“I am not going because I dislike large crowds of people I am unfamiliar with,” senior Kasmere Messbarger said. “I also don’t want to embarrass myself by attempting to dance.”

Instead of attending prom this Saturday, these seniors find other things worth while. Kurukulasuriya will do what he do on any other Saturday: go to church, do homework, play guitar and surf the internet. Messbarger has to work, but she may go to an after-party with her group of friends.

“I am not fond of large official functions. I do not find the idea of prom fun, I haven’t generally had anyone pushing me to go to prom,” senior Alan Schmidt said. “And I am going to be playing a tabletop role-playing game in the evening this Saturday.”
By Jay Whang