It’s amazing how a survey from Visa can stir up a rant in me.
Like I shared, I have long-hated proms. Back in 2011, I wrote this Pair of Cleats for my youth worker subscription base. Instead of just having a rant, I thought I’d also propose a solution to prom. I still believe in this idea—and the timing of this—very much.
This is what I wrote back in 2011. You’ll notice some duplication. That is because my message has always been consistent on this one.
Full Disclosure: I hate prom. I have since the ‘80s. This is not new. Many, many teenagers over the years have heard me pontificate on my hatred of prom. My reasons: It’s expensive; it’s overhyped; and for the majority of prom-attenders, the evening is either one of let down and/or regret. Yet a lot of money, energy, and emotions are expended. Too many silly distractions and emotions are spent on who is going to ask or do the ask, what dress to buy, can I afford the limo, what to do after the prom, etc. And sadly, so few teens in reality have that dreamy prom night date and experience. Too many dislike their dates, are uncomfortable in their shoes, are uncomfortable about what is happening in the limo, and wish the whole night would be over. Only then to have to go to the after-prom plans which are even more uncomfortable.
I’m saddened that so many girls can’t wait to lose their virginity on prom night only to be heartbroken later. But I also believe this is a Hollywood fairytale that too many girls fall for. I can’t blame the prom-hype completely on this one.
There is also a lot of alcoholic-drinking on prom nights. This goes back to the root of what prom was supposed to be. It was a time for teens to dress up and promenade in front of adults to try out being adults. With teens trying to be adults for one evening, alcohol quickly became a part of prom. Isn’t that what adults do when they are dressed up? Alcohol and prom historically go hand-in-hand.
Then there is the ultimate tragedy of prom–the lives lost on that dangerous driving night.
All of this pain, regret, shame, and possible death for the average price of $700+. These are the averages from the 2011 prom season according to VISA’s 2011 prom spending survey:
- $542 – Average amount a family in the South will spend on prom
- $667 – Average amount a family in the Northeast will spend on prom
- $943 – Average amount a family in the Midwest will spend on prom
- $1,073 – Average amount a family in the West will spend on prom
- $778 – Average amount parents with a combined income of less than $50,000 will spend on prom
- $916 – Average amount parents with a combined income of more than $50,000 will spend on prom (Source)
I’ve never been one to use the argument that such money would better be spent on the summer mission trip. But I know something better can be done with all that money.