Tuesday, May 01, 2007

0 for 3 (getting laid after prom)

I had the fortune of chaperoning a high school prom this past weekend. The high school shall remain nameless, most contributors probably know which one it is. I wanted to speak on Prom because it is a sociologically a large part of American teenage life. I have now experienced this piece of Americana as both a student and hired muscle, and the kids definitely have the better time.

The entire time (3 hours) at Prom as a chaperone is spent making sure students do not do something illegal/immoral in your designated area. Fortunately, having a walkie-talkie handy, I learned that everyone attempting to ensure the safety of these students were having just as bland a time as myself.

There were several parts of Prom(from a sociological perspective) that I wanted to speak about. First, the ease of which it is to pick all the different social groups out: The nerds, jocks, gangsters, gangstas, princesses, and 'women of loose morals', all select eveninig wear that reflect their grouping. I found this interesting because Prom is basically a more strictly regulated Halloween. Why wouldn't these students take the chance to break the mold of what defines them? Possibly they are happy and fully accept the roles that they may have helped defined themselves. The jocks are the least noticeable. They are more or less defined by their Creatine filled sleeves. The nerds typically are noted by their t-shirt tuxedos, ill-fitting clothes, or poor color choices. Gangsters wear the tuxedo, top-hat, and cane (all typically white), and gangstas are bogged down in chains, wearing sunglasses, and sometimes a baseball cap. Princesses are also loosely defined, but generally have a combination of accessories (handbag, giant necklace, tiara, etc). You can imagine what the 'women of loose morals' were wearing (generally very little).

An aspect of prom that I had never noticed before was the collection of special education students. It was touching to see the select few of these students who seemed to be having a very good time. It was severely depressing to see the rest. Maybe they were having a wonderful time and I should mind my own business, but the majority of these students looked to be wandering aimlessly hoping that someone outside their social group might speak with or even acknowledge them.

The sight of the prom king made me realize how cynical and jaded the youth of America have become. Is life really so terribly boring that you vote for your prom king because he is known for eating out of the trash cans at lunch? Really? That's what you want to talk to your high school friends about in 10, 20 years? I understand that these are basically glorified popularity contests, but isn't there a better criteria to measure Prom King abilities than lbs of garbage consumed/week?