When I was in high school, I attended approximately 8,000 formals and proms. I went to two different high schools and attended the dances at both of them. I had friends at other schools and went as a guest to their formals. Basically, I knew a lot of people from various activities outside of school and I made a good date for guys who weren’t trying to get in someone’s pants.
Oh, and I really loved getting dressed up and wearing a stupid itchy corsage and going to a restaurant that parents would never have paid for me to eat at on normal circumstances.
This might be why I am absolutely furious at John Carroll High School in Glenolden, Pennsylvania. That’s right, random parochial school, you and I will never be friends. (I had more serious threats to throw at them, but I think it’s probably a bad idea to threaten a school.)
John Carroll High School just decided that one of its students, Amanda Dougherty, cannot attend her prom. Even though she’s already bought a dress and shoes and her prom tickets, Amanda is being denied access to this rite of adolescence because her date cancelled on her at the last minute. See, Amanda attends a Catholic High School and her Archbishop has decided that students are not allowed to attend prom without a date.
Let me say, I had my fair share of formal dates. I think we can all agree that most prom dates suck. Most teenage guys aren’t there for the music. The best prom date I ever had was one of my female best friends who attended the prom at my high school with me. We stormed into my boarding school’s formal after having styled our own hair and borrowed dresses from friends. We spent more money on booze for the after party than getting ready for the dance. Then we both got sick off of 99 Bananas and giggled until the sun came up. To this day, I cannot eat banana Runts without getting nauseous, or thinking about prom.
I am pretty astonished that any school would force its students to have a date for their dance. Asking teenagers to pair up two-by-two and fake feelings for a member of the opposite sex who just happened to be sitting next to you in Chem Lab seems completely asinine.
Thankfully, Amanda is proving just how awesome she is by standing up for her solo status. She recently told her CBS local news, “For them to say not that we’re not good enough to go unless we have a guy standing next to us, it’s just kind of sickening.”
I’m afraid to even ask how the Archbishop would respond to a girl showing up with another female, like I did to my prom. If they won’t let Amanda go alone, I have a feeling this school would be pretty incensed at the idea of a same-sex couple, whether they were just friends or not.
But more the anything, the fact that this high school student has to worry about organizing a protest so she can attend to her prom is just so sad. This girl should be flipping through bridal magazines for up-do ideas and planning “Getting Ready” parties with her friends. She shouldn’t have to talk to a news crew just so she can attend her prom without a date.
Here’s hoping Dougherty’s school comes to their senses (and the 21st century) or she has an amazing non-prom party that her whole schools attends to boycott the Archbishop’s ridiculous rule.
(Photo: Village Voice)