Are school dances worth all the hype?

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Ah, ’tis the season to be spending exorbitant amounts of money on a glorified, two-hour, school-sanctioned gathering. Other wise known as Trevapalooza.
I’m just joking, kind of. I actually have nothing against Trevapalooza or school dances themselves, but I do keep asking myself if I should’ve taken a leap of faith and gone to a dance or two sometime during my years here.

Alas, I have yet to experience the craze of Homecoming, Trevapalooza, or Prom. Thus far, I haven’t experienced much of a desire to attend school dances, partially due to laziness with buying a dress or a costume or not wanting to contribute to transportation funds, and partly, because of how it seems so unsatisfactory according to friends and general schoolwide chatter.

Every year I hear so much about how the ticket prices are ridiculously inflated, or how a friend group is suffering from so much drama over choosing the afterparty location or over who to include in their group, or sometimes all of the above.

If the dance is so problematic, yet everyone still chooses to go, does that mean there’s something about the dance that’s worth experiencing? Or is it merely social pressure that encourages students to shell out money for the dance?

I guess if the quality of the dance was vastly improved, students would want to spend more time there. But then that would probably inflate ticket prices again, sending us back into that vicious cycle of grudgingly attending the dance.

From what I can tell, one of the popular (and sometimes cheaper) alternatives to going to Homecoming or Trevapalooza is to spend the night having dinner with friends or heading down to the city, which has always been pretty fail-proof and fantastic, I’d say.

Or you could just host an afterparty and not go to the dance, an idea I’ve heard floating around from time to time.

Or — and I think this perspective is most accurate — I think people might go to the dances not just for the dance, but the memories gained from the dance. The whirlwind of getting ready, preparing the costume / dress / tux, deciding afterparty foods and drinks, chattering with friends filled with anticipation, traveling together in a cramped and damp party bus— as big an event as school dances happen to be, maybe their value is the sum of the wholesome moments that comprise it.

So circling back to my original predicament (because this article is full of thought loops): should I have gone to these dances just because?

Probably. I’m not missing out on much in terms of Homecoming or Trevapalooza itself, but I did lose the chance to experience all the memories associated with the events. That’s what I lament the most.

On the other hand, staying in on those nights or having dinner with just a handful of close friends made for some pretty phenomenal memories, too. While my friends were belting Today’s Top Hits on their party buses, I was sipping a huge mug of much-needed coffee next to a toasty space heater with a gripping novel or watching “Friends” on Netflix. While afterparties were raging late into the night, I was raging to Kane Brown on my way home from a small dinner with companions.

I guess in the end, it doesn’t really matter whether you go to the dance or if you don’t. If you go, you’ll have a great night regardless of how much cash is missing from your pocket the next day. If you don’t, I can attest to having had many satisfying Saturday nights without stepping foot outside my house.

Just make those memories, man. Make something that’s worth remembering.

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