Prom memorie$

Here’s an interesting article on the cost of prom for kids these days.  The article quotes a Visa survey that finds the average family with a high schooler spends $807 on the whole Prom kit and kaboodle.  They say 1/4 of students don’t go because the cost is too high.  One thing I don’t understand is why some couples think the limo etc. part is so necessary that they eschew the entire prom experience if they can’t get the car and all the other accessories.  The ticket prices they quote in the article are $65-$150, which is not cheap, but a lot smaller than $807.

IIRC, prom was $85/ticket when we were in high school.  So I’m not really seeing prices going up all that awful much for the tickets.

I didn’t go.  I couldn’t afford it (though several years later my parents paid for my sister to go to a cotillion, complete with wedding dress and misogyny, but I digress).  My partner’s family probably had money for it and no doubt would have paid for my ticket (and I did have a dress I could have worn).  But to be honest, the money issue was only tiny.  One of my anxieties that I haven’t gotten treatment for is ocholophobia which manifests itself for me in feelings of extreme claustrophobia in situations in which I am in the middle of a large crowd of closely packed people who are standing.  I assume I was trampled to death in a previous life.  I’m fine in opera houses and at plays where folks are seated and orderly.   Can’t do rock concerts, definitely cannot do dances.  It hasn’t bothered me since high school, as in most of life one is not being forced to go to crowded dances or concerts.

So instead my boyfriend and I had a lovely weekend together doing low key things like hitting up the ice cream parlor.  I think I may have had a rasmetazberry fudge sundae.  I miss that ice cream shop!  Why don’t they have turtle sundaes outside the midwest?  I know I could make them, but it’s a pain to salt and toast pecans… and if we had the ingredients on hand I would gain lots of weight.

Back when I was a freshman taking Algebra II, I learned a lot about what goes on at the pre-parties and after-parties.  Very interesting.  If I were a parent of one of those kids, I would be worried.

#2, who I am sure will correct me if I misremember, went to prom twice, and had a magical evening both times.  Though the first time she went with a jerk (the first in a series of, shall we say, imperfect guys), the second time she went with the perfect guy (for her, which is what matters), who I totally approve(d) of.  I’m also vaguely remembering a gorgeous madrigal dress, but that may be something separate.

Did you go to prom?  How much did it cost?  How did you pay for it?  Was it everything you dreamed of?  If you didn’t go, then what did you do instead?

37 Responses to “Prom memorie$”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    I only recall going to prom once, I think junior prom and then through senior prom wasn’t worth going to. It wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be, although it was interesting seeing which girls brought the guys who had 5 o’clock shadows. I swear one of the seniors brought a guy that looked about 35. Seemed cool at the time, but now I wonder what kind of guy would go to the high school prom at that age. Actually I went again when I was in college with my friend’s little brother. For the first one, Babci made my prom dress. I didn’t spend much. No hotel, or limo or any of that stuff. I think my ticket was $50 or less.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I always felt sorry for the girls who were dating old guys– they were always the ones with the messed up home lives, and I had to wonder what kind of loser would be dating a high school girl as an adult.

      • First Gen American Says:

        Well in the interest of full disclosure, my date was in college and a lot older, so I guess I fell into that category too, but even he made some of those guys look old. I did have a messed up home life for a good chunk of my life, so there’s something to be said about having a father figure older boyfriend. The other day, I saw a bunch of high school kids heading over to the lake on one of the first hot summer days. They did have the token older creepy guy with them. I guess someone has to buy at the packie.

  2. Everyday Tips Says:

    My son just went to prom, and it was totally reasonable. Each ticket was 35 dollars, so 70 total for tickets. Tux was around 110 I think, corsage was 25 and the separate dinner was 60. So, 300 total. Hey wait, that is more than I thought. However, that did cover his date too (but not her dress, obviously).

    The most expensive part of the night was the ticket he got on the way home. 500 bucks, 4 points. Totally ridiculous though. Driving in Detroit and a cop had pulled someone over. My son tried to change lanes, but there was a car in the other lane so he couldn’t. He slowed down to about 20 mph, but the cop hopped in his car and pulled my son over for not yielding for an emergency vehicle. Look for a future post on this one.

  3. Anon Says:

    I went to senior prom, but not junior. Mostly for the sake of the experience and to be backup for my friend who was in a “serious” relationship. For being a nerd, I have a major fashionista streak and love it when I have an excuse to buy nice clothes, so my major expense was a splurge on a designer dress: $300. Then about $80 for shoes, jewelry, etc. I don’t remember what tickets were, but I got them for free- won them for my senior project poster. We didn’t do a limo or anything like that; my friend’s date borrowed his parents’ nicer car, and we drove together. I’m sure I spent like $40 on dinner or something… but that was it.

    The experience was okay. I didn’t expect it to be all magical and whatnot; my “date” was a guy friend that I had asked because we both had recently been dumped, so I figured we could be cynical and have fun together. At least I got a snazzy dress out of the deal ;-)

  4. Linda Says:

    I went to several dances in high school: Homecoming, Turnabout (the girl was supposed to ask the guy to go to this one and I think pay for the ticket) and more than one Prom. I wasn’t insanely popular or anything like that. One of my dates was a relative of some type (son of my dad’s brother’s wife…what is that? a cousin?), another was the brother of a friend, and then at least one or two more dances with my steady boyfriend. My mother was a complete enabler and pusher when it came to these dances. She wanted “her girls” to go to as many dances as possible, I guess because she didn’t get to go to any. I don’t remember the cost of any of them, but I’m sure I paid some cost myself since I started a job at 15 and my parents wanted me to pay for some of my own expenses with my earnings.

    I’d never heard of ocholophobia, but I can completely relate. Back in my high school days and early twenties I didn’t have any issues with crowds, but I do now. I’ve had panic attacks in crowded movie theaters and situations where there are throngs of people, so I tend to avoid them now.

  5. Debbie M Says:

    I was way too nerdly to go to the prom. I went camping with my Girl Scout troop that weekend. At that time, not only did I not have a boyfriend, I had never been on a date and did not have any male friends.

    I did go to the senior picnic which had dancing, and I danced in a blob with a few of my friends. I noticed that the popular people were too chicken to get up and dance even though they had actual dates to dance with, until finally they all got up at the same time to start dancing. I thought that was really weird. At my ten-year reunion, they still weren’t really into dancing–half the people left between the dinner and the dance. And I was the only person dancing who wasn’t in a hetero couple (I was by myself). Everyone might have thought I was some kind of slut dancing around everyone if I had worn a little black dress like all the other women did. But since I wore the fluffy white dress with little pink flowers on it that I had gotten for graduation and thus was dressed more like a fairy princess, I like to think I just confused them.

    My parents paid for that graduation dress (the most expensive article of clothing I had ever owned–$50 back in 1980!). I wore it to warm-weather weddings for a long time after that. Can’t quite fit into it these days, so sad.

  6. squirrelers Says:

    Have to admit, the first thing I thought of here was not my own memories but that in the next 8 or 9 years my kid will likely go to a prom….and maybe some dances sooner. I’ve heard stories from a friend’s kid, in a different (but still very, very good) district about homecoming dances that were out of control. Things have changed a bit, it seems….

    Kids will be kids to some degree, but reading this post I got a very mild wave of anxiousness about thinking of my child going to a dance in the future. It will probably happen and be totally fine, but in my little delusional “Dad” world dating shouldn’t happen for my girl until age 35:)

  7. FrauTech Says:

    Guess I’m surprised so many people had real relationships in high school. Is that the norm? I sort of had one guy who was my “boyfriend” for like half a week and that was that. Didn’t date, wasn’t in a relationship, and not for lack of romantic feelings. Was too nerdy and now am glad I didn’t as I was not mature and neither were my classmates. Had a “date” for prom but we were just friends, dress sewn by grandma, friend borrowed her mom’s minivan to drive us as a group, the guys borrowed their dads’ suits…went bowling after. Pretty cheap night. maybe too much emphasis nowadays on prom being “perfect” just like going off to expensive ivy league colleges or having a pricey wedding.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Can’t speak for everyone, but we’re both still together with our high school sweethearts. One of us only had one previous boyfriend but the other was a hottie who casually went through a lot of guys before settling on Mr. Right.

      I wonder when that idea of a perfect prom started? It was definitely there in the 1980s teen movies, whether or not it was actually there in reality.

  8. Dr. O Says:

    I was very active in my class, and my mom (a teacher at my high school) was one of our class sponsors. So we were involved in the planning as well as going. Our class and boosters raised enough money to have it at a fabulous site, keep the ticket prices to $100/couple, offer a few scholarships (since we had a lot of low-income students), and start a savings fund for future class events (reunions).

    I know many people at ours wore second-hand dresses – there was a very popular dress rental shop near the high school that I rented most of my formals from. But for senior prom, Mom and I went shopping and found an awesome pant-style formal for ~$150. I remember stressing because we couldn’t spend a lot, and I really wanted to buy something for my prom dress (silly, since I’ve only worn it once since). But I was so excited when I found a reasonably priced shop with dresses I liked.

    My boyfriend rented a car for the evening, and we stayed at a hotel along with several other couples nearby the downtown prom site. BF paid for the corsage, room, car, while I paid for the tickets (since he was already out of high school), and Mom bought my dress and shoes, and paid for our hair lady to fix me up. Total was probably about $700 for the two of us.

    Ours was pricier than many of my friends, but my BF had a good job and paid for a lot of it and could afford to do a lot more than other high schoolers. I can’t imagine the $800 bill per kid even with a limo. My nephew and his friends all put in for a limo this past year at his junior prom – I think it was $150 for the night, and 4 couples went in on it together.

  9. Cloud Says:

    I didn’t go to prom- I never had a date, and that was before it was cool for groups of kids to go instead of couples. I don’t remember what I did instead.

    I went to one homecoming dance. That ended poorly- my boyfriend and I broke up at the end.

    Jeez. I sound pathetic. I wasn’t- I had an OK experience in high school. But I’m happier now!

  10. Zee Says:

    I went to prom with a nerdy acquaintance. It was kind of fun to get all dressed up and I love dancing, so I danced all night, my date was not much of a dancer. I was very underwhelmed. I mostly went because not going would have been so *weird* and I wanted to see what the whole ‘prom’ experience was about. Overall I thought it was a seriously over-hyped lame event. Years later I found out that the guy I had gone with had a huge crush on me and had hyped up prom in his head as his John Hughes moment. I had NO idea, at the time my self-esteem was so low I couldn’t fathom the idea that someone could have a crush on me. Ah the teenage years, God I wouldn’t go back for all the money in the world.

  11. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    I was getting dressed for prom, and had just put my rented tuxedo jacket on and retrieved a bag of weed from its hiding place in my desk when my mom walked into my room. So I quickly stuffed the bag of weed into the outside jacket pocket. But the motherf*cker was sewn shut! So the bag of weed falls on the floor, and my mom grabs it, sticks it in her own pocket, and says, “Enjoy the prom, dumasse!”

  12. Rumpus Says:

    Yum, pecans are great. If only a nut roastery was nearby…

  13. Leslie M-B Says:

    I didn’t go. I was a shy high schooler, at once independent of and incredibly nervous around teenage boys, and I didn’t want to go by myself when my friends who were going all had dates. Plus, school dances just weren’t my scene. My memory is that a friend and I hung out together at her house, watched a movie, and did some kitschy crafts. I didn’t feel sad at the time, except maybe for some lingering doubts that I was missing out on something by not dating–and I don’t have any regrets now.

  14. MutantSupermodel Says:

    LOL prom :) I went. I made the boyfriend stay at home. I went with my two other girlfriends. And a third girlfriend brought a gay couple as her date. We went to an all girls catholic school and were “different” I guess you could say. I wore a dress I already had but did buy ridiculous accessories to be silly (feather boa for sure, possibly gloves). We went my Nissan Sentra. It was fun the first couple of hours (shock! awe!) and then we left and hung out at the bestie’s house with the rest of our friends.

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