Date culture needs to be stopped

As Homecoming approached, splattered all over social media was the age-old tradition of “homecoming proposals”, which most often involves a witty poster and one student asking another to attend homecoming as their date. Some may find these proposals cute, whereas others may find the idea gross or feel indifferently. 

The reason is simple. Students are encouraged to find dates to attend big dances such as Homecoming and Prom, and are chastised by peer pressure if they don’t. 

This date culture urges us to act. We must find a date, we must either make a proposal or receive a proposal, and we must wear matching outfits to be socially accepted among our other classmates that also have a date. If one of these things does not happen, then we may feel disappointed. 

But many students don’t want to take a date to Homecoming or Prom. Why exert the effort to find one if you’d rather go alone or with a friend group to these dances instead? There are a multitude of reasons why students wouldn’t want a date: they’re single, they enjoy their platonic relationships, or they don’t want the extra burden of making a proposal and finding matching outfits to wear.

The word “date” itself is coated with expectation. A “date” is often thought of as a crush or a significant other, rather than a friend. Additionally, boys are encouraged to ask girls to dances. However, it’s becoming more common for a person to ask another person to a dance, regardless of gender. In fact, this was one of the big reasons New Trier’s “Turnabout” was renamed to “Trevapalooza” in 2016; to be more accommodating and not pressure girls to ask boys to the winter dance, which was the right way to go.

Long story short, students go to dances with dates, with friends, or not at all– so let’s stop pressuring ourselves to find a date and be perfect Instagram couples.