Prom: past and present

by Kate Casey, Staff Writer

Excited girls in fancy dresses, hair and makeup done, accompanied by their dates in black tuxedos. The couples make their way to their tables at the long-awaited junior prom. For more than a century, high school proms have been a tradition that students look forward to every year.

This year, junior prom is located at Macaluso’s in Hawthorne on Friday, May 13. After being dismissed at exactly 10:52, most students spend their day preparing for the exciting night ahead. Students are asked to arrive at the school at 5 p.m. and will be bussed to the venue at 5:30. After a night full of music, pictures, food, and dancing, the night will conclude at 11:00.

Although prom is a tradition that has been going on for a long time, it has changed very much through the years. To start, the idea of “promposals” is only something that has been done in the recent past. The concept that the boy has to create an elaborate way to ask their date surprises a lot of adults.

Heather Traphagen, Glen Rock High School graduate, hardly recalls being asked to her junior prom.

“I don’t even remember. He asked me the hallway or something. We didn’t have promposals like today,” she said. “And the whole promposal thing, being asked to prom is like a big deal now and you get your friends involved. Our friends would tell us that someone was asking us so we expected to be approached in the hall at school, I think everyone was pretty much asked at school in the hallway.”

Promposals, while often stressful for the boys, are exciting and flattering experiences for the girls.

Julia Rooney (’17) was asked by Tim Schmitt (’17) about a month ago.

“I was home and I got a text message from my friend, Tim, and he was like ‘Hey, I’m going to stop by in five minutes,’” Rooney said. “He rang the doorbell and when I walked outside him and my other friend were holding up a sign that said, ‘Will Ju go to prom with me?’ and he had a bouquet of flowers. We hugged and it was great, I was so excited.”

Having three children at Glen Rock High School today, Traphagen is familiar with promposals. She said, “It’s really cute because the guy has to put a lot of thought into it, but it’s a lot of pressure. It’s a lot of pressure either way, really.”

Another major difference are dresses. In addition to style changes, it is common today to wear short dresses to junior prom and long dresses to senior prom, while in the past people just wore what they wanted.

Liz Cox, class of 1992, wore a strapless purple dress with pink and purple flowers to her junior prom. Rooney, after a long hunt for the perfect dress decided on a short black dress. “It’s black and it’s tight on top and then goes out into a skirt on the bottom and it has ruffles all down the back. It’s simple, but really pretty,” she said.

Rooney has her prom day on a tight schedule. Exactly eight minutes after leaving school, she has her hair and makeup appointment. She is getting her hair pulled up into a loose bun with curls coming out of, aiming it to show off the back of her dress. After spending the rest of the afternoon preparing for the night ahead, she has a set time for pictures with her friends and family.

Traphagen said, “The whole preparation process wasn’t nearly what it is today. I did my own hair and makeup at home.”

“Prom today is definitely different from a long time ago, just because of the things girls wear,” Rooney said. “Nowadays, people spend a lot of time for pictures and looking good for that aspect instead of actually going with a date to the dance.”