Cardboard Covered Cafeteria (Column Rough Draft)

It’s that time of year again where teenage girls jump in a car with all their friends and mom or dad’s plastic card to begin what seems like the most monumental moment in their life thus far, prom dress shopping. In the small town where I’m from prom is an over-expensive excuse for girls to feel like they’re going someplace and doing something.  They are dancing in a slightly decorated cafeteria that still smells like last week’s chicken rings, to an overpaid dj with a disco ball.  That of which only fuels the Taylor Swift inspired fantasies that burn red hot in every teenage girl’s mind, who follow victim to the thought of the everlasting high school romance and the end of every Disney movie.

Hundreds, maybe even a thousand dollars could easily be spent on what will last less than one day.  After the dress come the shoes, jewelry, hair, make-up, flowers, pictures, and maybe even limousine service.  The good news is that this generates a boost in revenue for many businesses.  As a high school student it may or may not seem worth it to spend a few months allowance or all that you saved last summer for the perfect attire, but wait a few years when you are paying back college loans and searching through your closet when you find an out of style prom dress that you’ll never fit into again.  Thank God for e-bay, craigslist, and community exchange sites!

Aside from the money the individuals spend on prom, the school must raise thousands of dollars just to put on the event.  As a junior in high school I was the prom chair so I was in charge of all the planning, ordering, and assembling.  When the decorations arrived I opened up the boxes, worth $2,000, only to find a pile of cardboard.  I found myself frantically scrambling around wondering where our prom decorations could have possibly went.  A box of glue sticks here and a box of glitter there, I soon discovered that the beautiful prom decorations were in fact “assemble it yourself,” cardboard.  What a waste.  Schools could just have a cut and paste day with third graders and spend a heck of a lot less money on decorating.


**In my next draft I plan to incorporate information from the following news articles about prom.  The information ranges from parents trying to ban lesbians at prom, to Seventeen magazine’s million articles about finding the hottest date, the perfect hair, etc., the average money spent on prom per teenager, and much more.

Seventeen Magazine

Teen Ink

Baltimore Sun

Chicago Tribune


2 thoughts on “Cardboard Covered Cafeteria (Column Rough Draft)

  1. You have a great topic here. Now you need to tell a story. And tell your story, notmthenone from the magazines. What were the hopes for the decorations? What didmyoumdomwith the kit? All these years later, what does it mean? But don’t talk about abstractions, tell me a story about a real prom.

  2. I like this. Usually prom was so sparkly the guys thought it was overboard. It didn’t matter to me one way or another. I didn’t have to buy dresses of course, but prom is a big deal to most people,and is a way to get all dressed up and spend money on shiney things.

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