There are signs that the high school prom season has begun. On my trip into the city centre this week, I bumped into several stressed mothers in shop changing rooms attempting to ‘help’ their teen daughters choose a dress.
I first had this experience three years ago when my eldest daughter attended her first prom. I was pretty naïve about the whole experience and we didn’t head out to select a dress until after she had taken her final GCSE exam. Foolishly, I assumed that exams were more important. How wrong I was! She was probably the last of her friends to choose a dress but thankfully we got lucky and she didn’t end up having to go in her jeans.
With my second daughter, I am being a little more organised and giving myself four months head start but I’m beginning to worry that this may not be a good thing. If you are the last one to choose a dress you have the advantage of knowing what everyone else is wearing. Pictures shared on social media ahead of the big night should ensure that no-one turns up wearing the same dress and allows everyone to find out exactly what their friends will be wearing. They won’t be the only one to have chosen ‘long’ if everyone else is going for ‘short’ (unless they want to of course) or vice versa.
However, if you decide very early on, you are the trailblazer and everyone else may not conform to your trend. Four months allows plenty of time for several changes of heart and I’m not sure I have the patience for that! To be honest, I just wanted to buy it, hang it in the wardrobe where little sisters couldn’t get at it (and use it for dressing up) and then encourage total focus on the exams! Am I being too optimistic here?
The high school prom industry
The high school prom industry is going from strength to strength since it was first imported from the US. If you are the parent of a teen girl, and you are dealing with this for the first time, you may be interested to know that the dress may be just the start. You can also be faced with hairstyles, make up and fake tans and nails. Not forgetting the transport; it can feel more like a wedding than a high school party. It is a wonderful, fun experience for lots of teen girls. But not for everyone.
In all of the pre-prom hype it is important that it doesn’t turn into a competitive (and judgmental) frenzy. There are plenty of young women (and men) who choose not to attend them at all and that is fine. There are girls who feel more comfortable in trousers and flip flops and prefer a rucksack to a clutch bag. That is also fine. This is the perfect time for young women to celebrate their differences and find out what suits them. Good luck!
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