--- Making a Permanent Impression Since 1994 ---
May 7, 2001
-- Opinion --
By Sarah Jordan
Itís the middle of the crunch at the end of the school year, but nobody is talking about school work, which classes theyíre flunking or which teachers they hate.
The topics of todayís lunchroom chats are all centered on dresses and dates. Itís that time again: the Prom is just around the corner.
Since before I came to high school Iíve been an opponent of this time-honored tradition.
Stop and think for a moment: do you really know why there are proms? The answer is simple. Back in the good old days, when almost no one went beyond high school, and many didnít finish it, the people of various communities needed a way to get their daughters married.
What they came up with was an ancestor of the modern prom.
The original purpose of a prom was to meet your mate before you walked up the aisle. This is a seriously outdated concept. No one with any sense gets married as a teenager anymore.
Besides the origin of the prom, I dislike how drastically it has changed.
Sure it might be a good idea to get young people of opposite sexes to realize each other exist, but is that really what goes on at a modern prom? I doubt it.
In my experience, high school dances, and junior high school ones for that matter, donít really encourage meeting people. For one thing, the lights are usually so low you can hardly see. The music is often so loud that conversation is impossible.
To suggest that high school-aged kids donít realize there are members of the opposite sex out there is also rather dated.
How often do you hear the term ďteen pregnancy?Ē This is one of the places those statistics come from.
If you were smart, would you put a bunch of teens together in a dark room where you can hardly hear yourself scream? Would you do it if there was little way for you to know if alcohol was being brought in?
Sure, call me a downer.
But itís not that Iím against fun. Iíd just rather be able to see what Iím doing. Iíd also like to be able to talk to people, meet people. I thought that was the intent of these things anyway.
If we must have a prom, could it be less focused on dresses and dates? Could we do something besides dancing, groping and falling down drunk?
Maybe we donít need to get rid of proms, just change them.
Perhaps we donít even need to do that.
If we could have other events, not just dances and football games, wouldnít it better accomplish that original goal Ė to get young people together outside the classroom?