In a few weeks time, AFTER she’s done her exams, my niece will be going to her first prom. Already, the panic about What To Wear has started. She wants a High Low Dress (no, I didn’t know either – it’s one of those ones where the front is shorter than the back, like you see on Strictly Come Dancing). No doubt she will want shoes. None of this will be cheap. There are prom dress shops opening up all over the place. The boys have to wear suits.
Meanwhile, No 1 Son is going to a prom with a sit down dinner. The tickets cost £40. ‘What happens to those kids who can’t afford to go?’ I asked him. He shrugged. ‘Not everyone wants to go,’ he said.
But I bet there are some kids who would love to go, who feel left out, but simply don’t have the money.
When I was at school, we had discos. Nearly everyone – girls and boys – wore jeans, and the boys stood awkwardly on the sidelines while the girls danced. Of course they were fun (although someone usually ended up in tears, someone was usually sick, someone usually snogged the face of someone totally unexpected, and so on). But I think the most it cost to get us there was about £3 and the bus fare home. Maybe a new top.
How did it happen, that we’ve bought into this US phenomenon of prom? What kind of social pressure does it put on kids – the ones who don’t have a date, or can’t afford a ticket or a dress or suit? In a few years time will we also be having homecoming parades, cheerleading squads and glee clubs? And will those kids who don’t ‘fit in’ be made to feel like social failures at the age of 15/16? Let’s hope not.
Proms add to peer pressure – in my opinion, the last thing our kids need. Is this really what we want, a Glee generation?
I’d love to hear your views.