Pains of Prom

With junior and senior prom in a few weeks, the Spectator asks the Stuyvesant community about what they look forward to about the event.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Flash mobs. Trails of rose petals. Third wheels. Unlike any other event season, prom season begins with surprises and bad puns. While Stuyvesant usually focuses its attention on academic endeavors and attempts at athletic endeavors, prom provides a rare opportunity for student relationships to shine. Eager to examine the prom culture at Stuyvesant, The Spectator interviewed both students and faculty.

One junior, Nai Eve, wanted to use her coding skills for the good of the lonely, chronically online student body, an estimated 99 percent of students. “I noticed that there weren’t many #promposals this year, and I heard that it was breakup szn for couples, so I set up a website with an AI chatbot that would help people find dates,” Eve remarked. “Unfortunately, I had to shut it down after a week”.

“Why would you shut the website down? The student body has needed a way to make confessions ever since the anonymous confession Instagram pages got taken down, ” I said.

“Yeah, I was hoping my website would take all of the interaction out of finding a prom date. But students would literally not stop interacting with the website. This was supposed to be a tool for people to find dates without speaking, but so many people were flirting with the chat assistant that the website broke.

“I didn’t even know what to think when it happened. I went through some of the message histories and I can only describe it as…disturbing. Multiple students asked the chat assistant to prom, but they also didn’t refer to it as prom. I think one message said, ‘My sweet wired princess, we can make this TikTok rizz party ours.’ Like, what does that even mean? Even if people weren’t flirting with the assistant, they kept searching for keywords that no profile could have possibly fit. A whole group of people asked for profiles that included, ‘tails, kitten, /srs.’ I don’t know; I think I just lost faith in all of my peers after that experience,” Eve said with their shoulders slumped.

“After learning all of this information about your peers, are you still going to prom?” I asked.

“Yes, I am still going. Just with my pack though, which will be super fun. Hopefully, by prom night, we’ll be able to fully transform into wolves under the full moon,” Eve responded.

Moving on, I asked one of the chaperones of senior prom, Mr. Bhord, why he took on the role.

With a smile, Mr. Bhord called it “one of the best nights of the year.” “Prom is definitely one of the most interesting nights of the year. I teach Animal Psychology, and I see students who have skipped my class the entire month at prom. Sometimes, I keep Talos printouts tucked into my jacket just so I can hand them to students while they’re in the middle of a dance. I highlight the proof that they went to all their other classes and everything,” Mr. Bhord said with an air of satisfaction as he stepped into the elevator. I asked another question about my own attendance and whether he’d seen my Talos, but he just smiled and pressed the doors close.

Later in the day, he emailed me to add on, “Not to mention it’s an awesome case study. Teenagers on prom night act remarkably similarly to the animal kingdom. The buffet line at junior prom induces so much anxiety that you can see the fight-or-flight response kicking in for some students. The feuding over the photo booth can only be described as territorial. I would never pass up the opportunity to gather so much data.”

Unfortunately, not all students are as excited about prom as Eve and Mr. Bhord are. For example, guidance counselors have been receiving an influx of complaints about the lack of extra credit offered for attending. A group of two hundred students have signed a petition demanding that health and psychology teachers offer incentives for going. 

Other students cite emotional distress as their reason for needing compensation. An anonymous junior wrote, “My guidance counselor told me to go to prom, and I was feeling optimistic, so I bought a ticket. I was feeling good about it, content to be flying solo. Three hours later, I found out that my ex was going with his new girlfriend, whom he picked because she has ‘a better personality.’ Everyone on the Math Team loves me, so that doesn’t even make sense. I’ve been treating him like an asymptote and completely avoiding him ever since the breakup, and now I have to see him. I wish I was like i: that is, imaginary. My guidance counselor definitely owes me for the mess that I’m in.”

Clearly, prom evokes complicated feelings for members of the Stuyvesant community. It can be a long-awaited chance to break out your best fursuit, or a night to wipe your tears with the tablecloth. Either way, students and teachers provide so much material for The Spectator injust one night that the sacrifices are well worth it.