TO ALL THE GIRLS WITHOUT A DATE TO PROM,

It’s okay.

I wanted to be sure to start off on such a comforting note in case you’ve been sweating the big night. But seriously — it’s fine, for more than one reason alone. But I will start off with the most obvious one: you are not alone.

This letter isn’t just for you, but it’s also for friends of mine and yours who claim they can’t attend their senior prom for the sole reason and fact that they “haven’t got a date.” This letter is also for me when I was a freshman in high school and guilty of fantasizing what it would be like to be asked to prom.

But here’s what I’ve come to realize — as nice as being promposed to and stepping through the doors of some lavish, luxurious place with someone by your side sounds … that’s all it is: a sound. A story repeated again and again, the characters always the same, the plot never seeming to waver.

Boy asks Girl to prom. Girl eagerly says yes. Boy and Girl go to prom and have the best night of their lives. Boy and Girl win Prom King and Queen. The end.

Those are all things we see in movies and read about in our favorite books. And while they’re fun at the moment to indulge our hopeless romantic personalities, they aren’t the only option.

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Lady Bird Gif via Panda Bear Shape

Here’s this for starters: Girl buys the dress of her dreams. Girl excitedly prepares for the night, brushing on makeup and pampering herself. Girl attends prom alone but she isn’t lonely. Girl meets up with her friends. Girl and Friends spend the night dancing. It’s the best night ever. Girl doesn’t win Prom Queen — but she doesn’t mind. Girl goes home feeling elated with a variety of amazing, new memories. The end.

Doesn’t that sound grand?

In fact, when in the world did going to prom automatically mean you needed to have a date?

According to Merriam-Webster, prom (noun), is defined as being “a formal dance given by a high school or college class.” Nowhere in that definition does it mention needing to have a date in order to attend the dance nor needing to bring someone in order to have a good time. No way — that’s ridiculous.

Prom is the celebration of an ending. It’s a time to be excited to dress up and spend an entire evening dancing with friends. Essentially, in the wise words of Miss Taylor Swift, prom is the best time to simply “shake it off.” High school is over and for the most part — you may never see the majority of the people you’ve been going to school with for four years ever again. Prom is the time to celebrate those four years of knowing some of your greatest friends, to celebrate all of the things you’ve learned — whether they took place in a classroom at the front of the board or in the busy hallways as you and your girlfriends laughed obnoxiously down the hallway.

Prom is your final chance to dance and to laugh and to simply be that outrageous, flamboyant teenager that you’ve come to love and to accept over the past four years.

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Mean Girls Gif via National Post

There are no requirements for prom. No secret code that says you must have a date to prom and if you don’t you’re somehow “missing out.” You are not obliged to have a date for prom.

So don’t feel bad if you’re the only one out of your friend group without a date. And certainly, do not feel pressured to find a date or commit to someone you aren’t comfortable going out with just because you think or feel you need a date for prom. Seriously, what’s the big deal? At the end of the night, everyone’s just come out to dress up and have a good time.

Still not convinced?

Here are a few pros that come with not having a date to prom:

  • Not needing to worry about color coordinating (because who wants to do that)? Wear what you want and feel good while doing so!
  • Being able to dance with your friends to embarrassing old songs in peace — no date to hold you back!
  • Not having to obsess over those (often times cringe-worthy) “couple” photos.
  • Being able to be yourself unapologetically with no excuses. No shy smiles or butterflies here — this night is all about feeling gorgeous and dancing the night away with your best friends.

My final piece of advice for all the girls without a date to prom: don’t overthink it. It’s a school dance and your last epic goodbye to the people you’ve gotten to know over the past few years. So don’t sweat it. Just be sure to have a good time and make sure you keep on dancing.

Featured Image via Teen Vogue

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