When I was in high school, the prom was all about getting a date, period.
If someone asked you to the prom, then, and only then, would you consider buying a dress. From there, there might be several trips to the mall with friends and then with your mother in tow once the final dress was chosen and put on “layaway.”
What I’ve noticed with my daughter and her friends is that finding a date is about fourth or fifth on the list behind the dress, the shoes, the jewelry and organizing the pre-party and transportation.
My daughter and her friends purchased dresses months before the event and planned their outfits down to their earrings and their shoes. They have also planned what they will do before the big event and how they will get to and from the venue safely. Most of them do not have dates and don’t plan to have them.
It goes with the territory in a culture where very few of the teens I know have serious boyfriends or girlfriends anymore. They tend to hang out in coed groups.
What I love about these young women is their level of confidence. They are happy to go to the prom with a group of friends and not feel pressured like we did to have a date at any cost. No offense to any of my prom dates throughout my high school journey, but it’s no fun going with someone you don’t enjoy spending time with just to say you have a date. I’ve been there.
I think part of the reason young people are not seriously involved in romantic relationships as much anymore is that they are so busy. Between school, sports, activities and work, their social lives have a limited window. Wisely, they want to spend that time with a variety of people instead of just one person.
So, will the prom be magical, romantic for these girls? Probably not. But will it be fun? Will it be a night to remember? I sure hope so.
In all honesty, I don’t have any real regrets about the proms I attended, except maybe for that one dress that made me look like I just walked off “Little House on the Prairie.” What was I thinking?
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books, including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.