No date, no prom for you!

A Staten Island principal decrees that girls can't attend the big dance without being accompanied by a boy.

By Kate Harding
May 19, 2008 8:55PM (UTC)
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As if finding the right dress weren't enough of a challenge, now girls at St. Peter's Girls' High School on Staten Island have to find boys to take them to their junior prom this coming weekend or they won't be allowed in the door. Interim principal Florence Bricker has still not explained why she issued this edict, but she's standing by it: If you don't have a date, you don't get to go.

Now, on the one hand, it's not all that surprising that a Catholic school would take a baffling, retro stand that punishes students at random, reinforces the idea that girls aren't to be trusted without male supervision, and takes a nice, big swipe at gay people while they're at it. On the other hand, can a high school administrator honestly believe that anything good will come of having more teenage boys at a formal event? I mean no disrespect to teenage boys, but ... well, maybe I do mean some. Just a little. Come on.


Not to mention, has Bricker really not thought about the post-prom implications? A group of heterosexual girls who go to prom together will spend the night circle-dancing, then go to a hotel room, knock back a few Smirnoff Ices, pull the bobby pins out of one another's updos and go to sleep. I'm pretty sure a heterosexual teenage couple is far more likely to end up doing things the Catholic Church really, really frowns upon.

Unless, of course, the girl has dragged her cousin or brother there just to get in the door. But the far more likely scenario, I think, is that a whole lot of girls will just stay home -- feeling like even bigger losers than they did when they couldn't get dates but could at least go to the damn party -- and a whole lot of other girls will scramble to get any date they can: guys they've turned down for good reasons in the past, guys they've broken up with, guys they have absolutely zero interest in. All of which sounds to me like a whole lotta no fun, for the boys or the girls. Or for the chaperones stuck making room for the Holy Ghost all night.

Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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