Prom: Yet Another Sign We Have Lost Our Minds

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I am getting to that point in life where I am old enough and getting cynical enough that few things surprise me anymore.  But once in a while something comes along that just makes me shake my head and once again ask, “when did we collectively lose our minds?”

This time it was a story about how much is being spent on prom. The amount I heard quoted in a number of reports was that the average overall spending per family related to prom this year will be $919!  Quickly followed with the happy footnote that this is actually down $59 from 2014.  My first thought was are they crazy!?  My second thought was that I am thankful my children are all past that age.  Then before I could catch my breath, I heard that the average cost of ASKING someone to go to prom, the “prom-posal,” is $324 with the added note that these elaborate invitations have become expected. 

I know this may be difficult to believe, but once upon a time, I went to the prom.  I followed the admonition of a couple of my friends who told me that “everybody goes to their senior prom.” As it turned out said friends DID NOT go the senior prom while I did. And yes I actually managed to find someone who agreed to go with me and while it did take a little convincing, it did not require a prom-posal or begging (at least I do not remember begging). 

I do not recall how much I spent, but I can guarantee it was no-where close to the inflation adjusted equivalent of $900.  Advance preparation involved renting a tuxedo at the Salem Mall and buying a corsage at a florist shop on North Main Street. Transportation was not a limo rental, but my Dad’s Plymouth Satellite Sebring.  The pre-prom dinner was at Neil’s Heritage House, a nice place but not all that “fancy.”  Then there was the prom with the theme of “Colour My World” (A song by Chicago) and the after-prom party.  I would be surprised if I spent a $100 total.  

It seems like more and more these days “someone” has decided that everything that is done has to be done to excess and has to cost an arm and a leg.  The stories I have heard this week mentioned that there are families that spend 5% of the family’s annual income on prom.  (I apologize, but “silly”, “foolish”, and “stupid” are the words that come to my mind for using 2-3 weeks of family income for a kid to go to prom.)  When I went to my prom I had a great time and have fond memories of that night and my parents did not have to take out a loan for me to do it.

A prom, like many things, should be remembered by who you spent it with not how much you spent on it.

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5 thoughts on “Prom: Yet Another Sign We Have Lost Our Minds

  1. J.L.

    Preaching to the choir, Brother. During my 30 years of teaching, I saw the blasted thing explode into an orgy of excess. In the last couple years of my career, people began to wonder why prom attendance was dropping and opined that kids were no longer “into school” as they used to be back in the old days. Yeah, right. I always thought that some of the kids and/or parents finally said, “Enough!”

    By the way, your comment about being cynical reminded me of one my lines that I wrote a long time ago: Just because I’m old, bitter, and cynical doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

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  2. Bob Weidner

    Leonard, you are exactly right with this treatise. I was lucky for my Senior prom, we had it in our gym. We went out to a nice restaurant, I bought an orchid corsage, and showed up in my best suit albeit my only suit. We had a great time, and we have been married 61 years. Cost I didn’t spend more than 30 bucks total and the flower was the most expensive thing. Most of these prom goers today won’t remember who their date was in 61 years. Thanks for your Blog, it stirred this old brain. Hugs and Prayers, Bob

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  3. J.L.

    My wife and I began dating in high school, and we attended both the junior and senior proms. June 14, we celebrate 40 years of marriage.

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