Well, it’s prom season again, the run-up to that magical evening when the young people who are America’s future lay the groundwork for a lifetime of inappropriate behavior.
As always, some students will not attend their proms, possibly because they are protesting the emphasis on social hierarchy with the naming of a king and queen; or because they feel strongly that “all that money could be better spent feeding hungry children;” or because they’re heading off to an art college and the decorations at the dance, with a palette in the school’s official colors, green and purple, offends their aesthetic sensibilities and makes them “just want to vomit;” or because they’d prefer to stay home playing World of Warcraft: Really, You Should Go Outdoors for at Least a Few Minutes; or because of an ill-advised viewing of the movie Carrie at age nine.
Or because they can’t get a date.
But while those people should not be marginalized, I don’t want to talk about them in this post.
So let us consider the other, normal kids. We’ll start with the boys. This is a time of great angst for them, similar to the college application process they recently completed. After all, unless he’s in the very top percentile of handsomeness and coolness (with just a hint of bad-boyness), he has to be very strategic. For instant, he may go early decision on his “reach” date Madison, the hot cheerleader who (it is rumored) has a tattoo on her thigh. She’s out of his league, sure, but perhaps he’ll be the beneficiary of Madison’s affirmative action program, wherein in she’s simply sick of self-centered football players and is considering “somebody with a brain.” However, in the likely event he is rejected, he must also know who his “match” date would be, possibly Emma, the cute-ish girl who’s been in every drama department performance, but always as the comic relief. And, just in case, he must be prepared to settle for his safe date, Jolene, who could maybe be okay if she’d lose the nose ring and her tendency to wear overalls.
He must also decide how he’s going to ask whoever he’s going to ask, which is no simple matter. In terms of elaborateness, the rite of passage of asking a girl to prom is approaching the rite of passage of asking a girl to marry you (a subject I covered in a recent post). There is even a word now–promposals–that hints at the willingness of teenage boys to go to great lengths (not to mention expense) to impress a girl who–let us remember–is only two or three years removed from repeatedly saying her first name with “Bieber” after it to see how it sounded.
Or maybe our teenaged Romeo should post a YouTube video asking a celebrity to go to the prom with him because, hey, you never know. Lots of kids are doing that now. But if he does it, how long should he give the adorable Chloe Moretz (left) to respond before asking Madison? And is he even aware that Chloe Moretz is starring in a remake of Carrie?
Girls have it tough, too, but, for them, it’s more like being a free agent in baseball. Does she take the first offer even though it’s from the Mets (that Skeezer kid from chem lab), or does she wait to see if the Cardinals (Ashton, the 6′ 2″ All-State shooting guard with the wavy hair) will enter the bidding because she’d rather be with a quality organization that has a chance of winning, but then what if the Mets sign that girl off waivers from the Catholic school and the Cards decide to bring up that kid from 11th grade and she’s left waiting around, hoping somebody gets injured?
Where was I?
Oh, right. Prom. Girls also have to worry about the dress. The boys are like, “That tux is fine; they all look the same anyway,” unless it’s the one idiot who rents the powder blue job with the ruffled shirt. But a girl will agonize over the dress for months before selecting that incredible strapless gown that makes her look spectacular, only to discover that her school’s principal has banned strapless gowns.
The school principal in question is Sharon Moffat of the Readington Middle School in Pennsylvania, and she has banned strapless gowns from the end-of-year dinner-dance. Now, granted, it is a middle school, so she could ban strapless gowns for structural issues (“She’s in eighth grade; what’s holding that up?”). But, no, she’s banning them because they are “too distracting for boys.”
That rationale is a problem for a number of reasons. For one thing, how exactly do you define “distracted” when talking about a school dance? It’s not like she’s wearing her strapless gown to final exams. What is she distracting the eighth grade boys from–being huddled under the basketball hoop at the far end of the gym discussing plans to go huddle outside the convenience store on Main Street?
Secondly, I thought we were on our way toward getting past the idea of blaming the behavior of men on the “flirtatious” outfits women are were wearing. It’s just sexist and stupid to restrict a woman’s freedom and ban her from an event because of what men might do.
Instead, they should restrict a man’s freedom and ban him from an event because of what women might do. That is precisely what our allies and terrorist-breeding friends in Saudi Arabia have done.
Yes, that’s right. Three men from the United Arab Emirates were forcibly removed from the Jenadrivah Heritage & Cultural Festival in Riyadh recently for wearing strapless gowns.
No, wait, that doesn’t sound right. They were removed from the festival and deported from the entire country for being too handsome (that’s one of them at left). Authorities feared that women would find them irresistible and, um, well it’s not clear what the authorities thought the women might do. Show a little cheek maybe?
My immediate reaction to this story was that it was an inexcusable misuse of power. But on second thought, I realized that, hell, if you’ve got that much power, getting rid of every guy that’s better-looking than you is, in fact, a pretty good use of it!
Not to mention a great way to get Madison to go to the prom with you.
See you soon.