Will Prom Ever Be Fun Again?

Disgusting lesbians aren't the only things ruining prom these days. Stupid school administrators and awful parents are also doing the rite of passage a great disservice. The latest trend is scheduling the dances on school nights, to curb after-partying.

This is what a high school trend story publication known as The New York Times is telling us today anyway. The focus of their depressing article is on a school in Rockland County, NY that has moved the priggity-prom y'all to a Wednesday night. That way, school admins and uppity nail-biting parents figure, the kids will just peacefully file out after Jenny Milton is done getting fingered in the coatroom and head off home. The school is so serious about everything being orderly that any student absent from school, or even late, the next day can't make up any missed work and will have to miss athletics or any other after school activity. And if too many kids ditch this year? The next year's students won't be able to walk at graduation if they miss the post-prom school day.

What's the cause of all of this? Oh well, you know, that great vomity menace known as Teenage Drinking. For sure some of that epidemic is to be concerned about — in terms of drunk driving and serious alcohol poisoning and sexual assault — but a lot of it is, let's be honest, harmless fun that, hopefully, provides a little base coat for kids so they don't explode from rum when they get to college. But these parents today are convinced that their kids aren't going to fuck up, their kids are going to be perfect. Last year after Pearl River High School's prom (the main school featured in the Times story), the president of the P.T.A.'s son was involved in a drinking incident. His terrific mother has this to say about the tragedy:

He's my first and I try things out on him, I guess. My girls will never go now. We're done.

You read that and think, Oh gosh, did her son die or get hurt or something?? But, no. He was caught in a motel room down the shore and was fined $300, which he paid off with summer lifeguarding money (Kevin sounds like quite a catch, girls!). That's it. But she's the president of the P.T.A.! A political scandal to match the Iran-Contra Affair! So now this fretful mother has locked her girls in the basement and will never let them enjoy anything ever again because Kevin drank a forty in Point Pleasant and ruined joy for everyone.

Look, I grew up in the little-explored rural expanse known as Boston, so we didn't have many of these party buses to fancy Manhattan clubs and whatnot that the kids featured in this story are apparently enjoying. But kids definitely got drunk and stoned and, yes, had sex, and you know what happened as a result? Not a lot, honestly. After my senior prom a friend's parents rented vans and took us all to their summer house. They snatched everyone's car keys (from those that had driven on their own) and then let us do our thing. (Our thing was to get drunk off of two or three beers, smoke a little weed, laugh at one kid doing the robot, and then pass out.) Doesn't that seem like a much more reasonable way to handle the blatant fact that a lot of kids want to party after their prom than shifting it to a school night and making it stressful and rigid, or locking everyone in the gym for a forced-fun sleepover like a lot of schools do?

Obviously drunk driving accidents increase during prom and graduation seasons and that is an awful, sad thing. And we should be worried and troubled about that and try to do something to stop it — like, say, taking car keys away. But judging from the article, most of these kids are not driving themselves anywhere. Buses and vans are, and the kids stay at a relatively fixed location for the rest of the night. What's the terrible harm in that? Punishing kids for something they might do seems a bit huffy and mean. And, again, I've seen what happens to old Polly P.T.A.'s cloistered daughters once they get to college, totally devoid of any Being Young And Stupid skills. And it is not pretty.

So is this a continuing, growing trend — these adults (who did wicked things themselves at that age, we can probably guess) ruining prom, or are these just a few isolated instances cobbled together for a trend piece? Does anyone in high school read this wreck of a website? Tell us your thoughts!

Or, hey, if you were born in the 1930s or something and actually have a kid in high school, we'd like to hear from you too. If you know how to use computer machines.