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The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

The student news site of Chantilly High School (Chantilly, VA)

The Purple Tide

Need for perfect prom creates pressure around dating

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Sarayu Pulipati, Brianna Edwards, Varna Selva, Katie Sample, Emily Scott, Varshini Gourishetty, Shriya Seenuthoju and Jewelle Sanchez (left to right) chose to go to DC on prom night last year as a big group of friends, making it a night of fun and friendship. Photo courtesy of Shriya Seenuthoju

Dazzling dresses, colorful corsages and twirling teenagers are all part of the quintessential high school experience known as prom. With college and adulthood looming, prom is considered the one opportunity to create lasting memories with friends before being thrust into the unknown. 

Prom should be a fun, relaxing experience; however, many people feel so much pressure around finding a date that it overshadows the actual importance of the night. 

Every high school movie loves to romanticize prom, giving teenagers unrealistic expectations of their high school life. According to such movies, there are four aspects to prom to make it the perfect experience: the perfect dress, the perfect restaurant, the perfect pictures and the perfect date. This strict checklist does not leave space for people to have different prom experiences. Often, in the movies, a person’s prom date is someone they have already been dating; however, that is not an option for some people. 

The percentage of seniors that are dating has decreased by 25% from 1990 to 2016 per Psychology Today. However, even with these trends, the pressure around finding a prom date is still as relevant now as 30 years ago.

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According to a Yahoo national survey, 70% of teens attended prom with a date rather than with friends. Without a date that they truly know, many students run ragged trying to find anyone that will go with them solely for the image of a picture perfect prom. However, the standards of a “picture perfect” prom should be changed as not everybody wants the traditional prom experience. There should be space for trends to change and adapt as time goes on.

Shruthika Suddala, Emily Tan and Riya Argarwal (left to right) go to National Harbor on prom night last year, opting for a smaller, intimate gathering with friends. Photo courtesy of Shruthika Suddala

Traditional media and societal expectations also create pressure around finding a prom date. Student’s experiences of prom and the media’s portrayal differ in that most students do not attend prom with a significant other or even an actual date. Furthermore, some students find dates just for the sake of it, which can lead to awkward interactions between both members and affect the fun of prom night. 

In addition, often, people are paired up with friends for dates for the sole purpose of taking pictures and having a corsage. According to the Augusta Chronicle, 75% of teens go to prom as groups with group prom dates rather than couples. However, it should be common to go with a group of friends, without the pretense of having a date, or alone.

Dates for other dances, like homecoming, do not seem to be as essential as dates for prom because there is less pressure around having the perfect night. Many people attend homecoming with a group of friends, opting for a fun night out. The stress around finding a prom date impairs students’ ability to truly have fun planning what is supposed to be the best night of high school. 

Prom is the single night of childhood fun before the pressures of the future catch up, and the importance should be put on having a fun night with or without a date, rather than finding a date purely for aesthetic reasons. 

 

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Abhigna Koochana
Abhigna Koochana, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Abhigna is a senior in her second year with The Purple Tide. Outside of school, she likes to go biking with her friends, bake really chocolatey treats and read for fun. In her free time, she likes to win at card games, make terrible jokes and binge-watch sitcoms.
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