Tagged: tradition

Kate Carroll: The True Cost of Being Prom Queen


Prom: an uninspiring weekend where you play make-believe as royalty. You’re pretending that you are something with a $600 dress you’ve convinced yourself that you’ll wear again, until someone vomits on you.

Time, energy, and focus are wasted on an overhyped event that ends in disappointment, disaster or mediocrity. Some of us aren’t even the worst offenders. I was in utter dismay when earlier this month I was added to a group for a different school on Facebook for “PROM DRESSES 2014.” Are you kidding me? The purpose of the group was to avoid any repeat dress offenses. Not only was their drama petty, I just couldn’t believe that it started in March, more than two months before the actual event.

“Promposals” make me cringe. You’re a teen, stop pretending that it’s a wedding. Enough with the white dresses, gross couple-y pictures and open PDA. None of those things are exclusive to prom. Just looking around the halls, holding my spitfire tongue from saying “Stop touching” is a major struggle.

I did attend and help plan Prom 2013. It was a waste of my time and energy. I woke up the day after Prom 2013 and headed to my debate banquet, wishing that instead of awkwardly shuffling my shoulders back and forth on the dance floor, I would have gotten a few more hours of shuteye. Student Council does a great job of encouraging students to attend. The dance is well run, I just didn’t particularly enjoy it. Beyond that, I hated the idea of not being able to participate in something unless you’ve been asked “as a date”.

My major problem with prom is more centered around socioeconomic discrimination. It isn’t cheap. Dresses run about $200-$300, plus flowers, makeup, hair, shoes, dinner, limo, the ticket itself, and after parties. On the guy’s side, tux rental, shoes, tie, flowers, dinner, ticket. In a chauvinistic sense they’re expected to buy dinner/tickets, but ladies, you should be self-sufficient and chip in half especially if you’re not dating. Either way, a lot of money for not a lot of fun. Given the choice between prom and putting more money in a college fund, I know a fair amount of people who forgo the former when graduation, and the first semester college bill is right around the corner. The cost is a social pressure to participate, and the sad part is that there’s not a good way for the school to help assist with that. If you can’t personally afford it, you’re out of luck.

I’m calling for a reevaluation, think about the pressures that are put on others as a result of your excessive spending. A reasonable night of fun with friends and dancing? Sounds great. A night of excess, exorbitant costs and irresponsible behavior? Not so much.

– Kate

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We forgot how to be happy

Happiness is the old song on the radio from 2005, your dirty little secret, your unknown jam. It plays in a store, it comes up on shuffle, it hits you like a nostalgic blast from the past. It is fighting the urge to break out in dance in public, or letting the music take you as you writhe around in privacy, if you are lucky enough. It is memories sequestered to songs, a melody from long ago, a better time.

Happiness is wiping dirty glasses, as if the air were magically filtered, as if you rid yourself of a visual obstruction that you didn’t even know existed. It is clarity, it is lucidity, and it is precision. The world is cast in a brighter light.

Happiness is waking up naturally. It’s that moment when you’re caught in between the dream and the awakening. It is gradual, as if the sunlight slowly prods you awake from behind your closed eyelids. It is completely embracing dry mouth and eye gunk and morning breath and ratchet hair and numb limbs. And then you slowly roll over on your back and look up at the ceiling sleepily, with nowhere to go and nowhere to be.

Happiness is tradition and routine, lazily enforced. It is Friday night phone calls and Sunday morning bubble tea runs that can be easily skipped if the circumstances so require it. Looking forward to something, the anticipation builds up. Sometimes we forget why we do it, we just keep on since we see no reason to stop. It is me-time and we-time, and it should never be forgone. 

Happiness is getting in the shower after reluctantly convincing yourself to do so. It is the endless stream of purity trickling down your body, it is the luxurious scent of Dove and Herbal Essences and Pantene and Garnier Fructis and everything in between. It is loofahs and sponges, and time passes by in globs of soap. The hardest part about getting in is climbing out; once we’re here, we never want to leave. The pruniest fingers in the world wouldn’t convince me.

Happiness is a piece of paper in front of you, blank and beckoning. It is begging for intervention. Write, draw, scribble or swirl, fill the margins and shade in the corners. As cliche as it sounds, letting your mind wander and your pen make its way across the page in this way and that promotes a nomadic state of mind. Here, your mind is flowing; there is no such thing as a coherent train of thought…

Happiness is the little reading space in the corner of the room, with a few old pillows and blankets for sheer comfort. It is the little desk where you put your cup of coffee, where you rest your computer as you scroll endlessly through your tumblr feed, and where you write your heart out into a purple journal. It is the makeshift reading nook, devoid of fancy plushes. It is where your favorite novel is within reach, where the light is not blinding but instead, a soft glow, that starts in your special corner and gradually pervades the room.

Waffle House on Christmas Day

waffle houseWaffle House is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. At Waffle House, the cooks greet you as you walk in the door. They force you to pay at the register so you have to make small talk with the cashier. If you sit in one of those chairs at the counter, you can watch all the action. The waitresses yell out orders in a special language, and you can see all the action. The bacon is made to order; the egg basket sits above everyone’s heads. No matter where you go, anywhere in the country, all the tables look virtually the same. Napkin dispenser, ketchup and mustard, and menus tucked away on the side. Waffle House’s menu has remained virtually the same for as long as I can remember.

In my opinion, they aren’t even famous for their waffles, which taste delicious anyways. They outshine a lot of other restaurants for their hashbrowns: diced, capped, smothered, and chunked. The potatoes are always cooked perfectly and when you are handed a steaming plate of delicious comfort food, you just feel mentally satisfied for the rest of the day.

Now, perhaps the toast can be overly greasy. Perhaps the seats are sticky with artificial maple syrup and perhaps the hot chocolate comes from an envelope like lots of people make in single servings in their own household, but I can easily overlook all of that.

I just really like Waffle House. I don’t visit that often, but when I do, I always leave feeling content yet slightly nauseous.

When you walk in, all the waiters and cooks greet you and ask how you’re doing, whether you’re a regular or a newcomer. When you walk out, they holler in a loving way for you to have a good rest of the day.

If I’ve got some change on me, I’ll definitely play a classic on the jukebox.

Once, I visited while in Kentucky for a debate tournament.

I would be just a little bit excited after SAT class because a Waffle House existed next door. I definitely went there after class on many an occasion.

There are two Waffle Houses near my house, and I have the pleasure of choosing which one I feel like eating at.

At noon on Christmas Day, my family was sitting in Waffle House. We had just finished opening presents. We were still sleepy and our clothes were somewhat rumpled but we enjoyed the meal none-the-less. This is what I was doing at noon today.

Inspiration from here.