Preparations begin as prom approaches

Not many four-lettered words have the power to make females squeal while simultaneously making males sigh like prom does. It’s a little girl’s fantasy and a father’s worst nightmare. Prom is the finale scene of various high school-related movies and is constantly being referred to as “one of the best nights of your life” by teenage magazines.

Regardless of personal opinion, prom is an American cultural experience and can be an abundance of fun depending on the situation.

“Getting ready was my favorite part of prom last year because you’re with friends and family who like to gawk over your beauty,” senior Amanda Peters said. “It is fun getting dressed up with friends and sharing an exciting high school memory.”

Prom will be held on Saturday, April 25, with entrance times starting at 6:45 p.m. and the actual event starting at 8 p.m.

“The theme is Once Upon A Time and the junior class has been meeting weekly during tuturials,” junior sponsor Danielle Sims said. “The week of prom, juniors will decorate from 4-9 p.m. every day at the youth center.”

Once all of the decorations are up, the only worry is the actual night. One thing that is terrifying for some and thrilling for others is the date factor. Students can opt to walk in with a male or female escort and then split or stay at their date’s side the whole night, walk down the red carpet with a parent or older girlfriend or boyfriend, or enter with a large group of friends. The possibilities are myriad.

“It is not a big deal to have a date,” senior Ryan Neufeld said. “I will say that it is a lot better to have someone beside you to share your nervousness and anxiousness.”

Taking a date and walking in on the red carpet is not a requirement.

“Having a prom date doesn’t matter,” senior McKaylee Weishuhn said. “If you want to go, then go. You can make your own statement.”

The prom entrance can be just as glamorous with or without a date.

“Walking in was my favorite part last year,” Neufeld said. “Hearing my name get called and walking on the red carpet, cameras flashing everywhere; it makes you feel like a superstar.”

A lot of the excitement is what prom-goers arrive in, instead of who was their escorts are.

“Having a date is not that important,” senior Derek Cox said. “That’s only one part of prom. I’m going with some guys this year, and we have something big planned.”

For others, having a date could be considered vital to a successful evening.

“It’s pretty important to have someone to walk in with,” junior Jason Arrezola said. “You have to make a good impression, and no wants to be lonely.”

Part of what makes the red carpet of prom so special is the sparkling gowns and sharp tuxedos, but the look of elegance comes at a cost. On average, renting a tuxedo is around $100 depending upon cut and extras. The price of the dresses the girls don, however, varies greatly.

“I think it depends on the girl for how much they spend,” junior Luke Wimmer said. “Some girls will spend close to $1,000 while others could spend anywhere between $200 and $500.”

After having gone through the experience before, many senior girls think the cost of a prom dress is outrageous.

“I wish an average dress was $50 to $100, but that’s almost impossible,” senior Brooke McCormick said. “An average dress is probably around $400 which is ridiculous because it’s only for one night.”

The expense of a dress is enough to make females not want to go. For those worried about not having enough money to buy a dress, there is the local Dream Closet. The Dream Closet has around 300 gently used and dry-cleaned dresses for girls to pick from to borrow for the evening. Dresses must be returned in perfect condition and any girl interested can contact Donna Latta by calling 432-847-9336.

“It’s the Dream Closet’s third year, and we serve the surrounding area including Lamesa, Hobbs, Seagraves, Seminole and Andrews,” Latta said. “We felt there was a need for girls to be able to get dresses when they can’t afford to buy one.”

By contacting Latta, a student can privately meet with her to pick out a dress. Anyone interested in donating dresses may also contact her.

Minor details like jewelry, hair, matching colors,corsages and boutonnières also cause financial stress.

“Don’t stress about tiny details,” Peters said. “No one will notice if the diamonds on your bracelet don’t match your earrings.”

Pre-prom stress is preventable. Students  need to plan ahead and remember it’s one night that is supposed to be fun–not micromanaged and picture perfect. Juniors tend to worry more about appearances, while seniors have been through the trial and error of the night.

“Last year I stressed, but this year I’m not,” Weishuhn said. “I’ve done it once and it’s way more fun than nerve-racking.”

For students who do choose to take a date, asking beforehand is another concerning aspect. How early do you ask? What if the perfect person asks after a student had already agreed to go with someone else? What is the best way to ask?

“I think a good way to ask a girl to prom would just be to ask her in person,” Wimmer said. “Simple is always good.”

Other students opt for a more involved way to ask a girl or guy to prom with cute posters or tasty treats.

“If you really want to ask someone to prom, go look it up on the Internet,” Cox said. “Look at how the other people did it. It worked for them.”

At the end of the night when everyone begins to leave and parents start tearing down decorations, and the “promposals” are long forgotten, the only thing that mattered seemed to be if people had a good time.

“I don’t stress about prom,” Neufeld said. “I know a lot of people do, but really what’s there to worry about? It’s just you, your friends, and fellow classmates enjoying some music and food.”

Minus all of the rhinestones and fancy finger food, prom is a time set aside for upperclassman to hang out, let loose, dance and have a good time.

“I am not one bit stressed,” Wimmer said. “To me, it is just a social gathering. We have these occasions all the time in our community.”

Of course, attending prom is optional. Not everyone has to go and not everyone chooses to go.

“I’m not going to prom,” senior Abe Harder said. “I don’t want to. There is no reason, I just don’t want to go.”

Prom is not a necessary part of the high school experience, and no one should feel pressured to go. In the end, prom is only as fun as the people attending it make it.

“My advice for first timers is not to get too crazy,” Neufeld said. “One night of fun is not worth the risk of a lifelong tragedy. Just loosen up and have a good time with your friends and don’t feel pressured to do anything after prom that you wouldn’t do on a regular day.”

Prom is a part of the American high school culture according to movies and television, but the evening ultimately will turn out the way students make it.

“I think the best part will be when everyone comes in before the dance,” Wimmer said. “I am mostly looking forward to the food and dancing part. I think it will be fun if I can find a date.”