Adult Proms: The Eternal Second-Chance

17 May

Not too long ago, Gawker.com posted one of their “Trendwatch,” posts about the phenomena of Adult Proms, saying it was a trend sweeping all of America’s most “boring towns.” You can find it over here.

And while I may not be lusting after a so-called Adult Prom experience for myself, there was something that really irked me about this brief article. In short, Mr. Hamilton Nolan, author, is kind of a douchebag.

Image via article.

Nolan evokes the attendees of said proms as working at “Dress Barn,” supporting your family and “hubby Rick… the apple of your eye, always will be, even if he’s gained a few pounds since high school, but back then on prom night there was just this sense of, what, is “possibility” the word you’re looking for?”

Where do I begin?

As someone who has just finished grad school and is on the job market myself, I know how hard it is. And you know what? Working at “Dress Barn,” despite the horrible moniker, is still a job. Undermining people with less education, as the article implies, is simply an issue of picking on people who you see to be as “low-class” and alternately, just “poor.”  And that’s not okay.

For those of us who have chosen to go into the Ivory Tower of academia, and the idea of choice here is loaded under it’s own politics, this author is only adding to an already bad reputation we have of being against the nuclear family. Academia is filled with people who have often chosen against having a family in order to focus on their career and research and, as such, have gotten a bad rep of being children-hating, loners. Good job on perpetuating that one Mr. Nolan.

Finally, there seems to be a huge oversight here or, possibly, a pointed attack. Look at this above picture that is from the Gawker.com article. To me, a happy looking geek couple is thus inscribed as the losers Nolan berates throughout these two short paragraphs.

But I guess that wasn’t my final point. Last year I had the opportunity to go to one of these proms myself. I know a little bit about the phenomena and I think it goes a long way in explaining why so many adults are supporting it.

My local Adult Prom was organized and produced by the local campus LGBT organization. This Adult Prom was for those individuals who might not have really gotten to enjoy their high school proms and why? Because they might have been afraid, or not allowed, to attend the prom with their dates. Because they hadn’t yet had the freedom to live their lives as themselves.

Geeks and gays alike, and basically anyone who was marginalized throughout their high school experiences, never get to utilize proms for what their meant to be: celebrations.

So, if I have anything to say to our dear Mr. Nolan, it’s F*$% off.

If we want to have parties and dress pretty, it’s up to us. And if you’re still bound and determined to be the bully, well, that’s up to you.

EDIT:

I would love to see some comments if anyone has attended one of these Adult Proms. Let’s here the real reasons people go to these events!

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2 Responses to “Adult Proms: The Eternal Second-Chance”

  1. nikki June 1, 2011 at 3:16 am #

    I have been planning to write a thoughtful comment for a bit now, while sitting with a computer rather than with my phone…oh well.

    Vanderbilt’s executive mba program had a prom recently, and yes I poked fun, and was joined by the spouse of a student who told about it, in the context of weekend activities.

    I think it makes a lot of sense to have a prom as an adult if there is some reason a group of people missed out on their prom. Although, If it is a formal party you want to have, why are you reminiscencing about being a teenager? Most of us don’t want to go back. Perhaps that is all the more reason to have an adult prom, to enjoy it more without all the teenage mess around it, without being criticized for your date (yes, I am the girl that went with my friend, and was unaware he was also the son of the woman my father was seeing, oh and my parents were still married at the time, yet still my most fun prom for me, go figure), and without your parents being weird about sex or alcohol (let’s hope), yet still worried someone will have the same dress as you.

    Obviously, I’m torn depending on specifics, but I’d prefer to go to a black tie over an adult prom any day.

    • redshana June 1, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

      I guess for me there isn’t really a difference than black tie versus adult prom except for the reason you’re having it. And for me that goes into an area that is needlessly judgemental. Overall, the phenomena seems to exist among groups who only have one black tie event in their life: their prom. And I suppose you could add their wedding to that but then we get into class division and affordability issues. And maybe this really is at its core a class argument.

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