Opinion: Homecoming is ruined by the stress of preparations

As a kid, I dreamed of growing up and being able to participate in major high school events such as homecoming or prom. I would steal my mom’s dresses and admire myself in the mirror, even though they were double my size. I would put on dress-up tiaras and pretend I was homecoming queen.

I thought everything was going to be perfect.

However, as I got to high school, the dark reality of the homecoming experience set in. It wasn’t perfect. The dresses I wanted either didn’t fit or were too expensive, and on top of that, I couldn’t find a date. I was rushing to plan everything out and make it all perfect. It felt like time was moving at the speed of light, and it was impossible to get anything the way I wanted it. I spent so long stressing and planning that homecoming wasn’t even enjoyable once I attended.

As a female, dress shopping is the worst thing imaginable. It seems like every dress that I would fall in love with was an unrealistic fantasy. I would find a dress that was everything I’ve ever wanted, but the second I put it on, I would stare at my reflection with tears in my eyes. It looks so beautiful on the hanger, but on a woman’s body it looks completely different. It seems like dresses always hug your curves in the wrong way, or zipping them up is the biggest challenge in the world. 

Every female knows the feeling I’m talking about. The feeling of your reflection morphing in front of your eyes as you pick apart every detail of yourself, thinking thoughts like, “Is that what I really look like?” or “Why can’t I be skinnier?”

However, when I would find a beautiful dress that actually fits, I’d look at the price tag and it was no longer an option. On average, homecoming dresses cost $50-$100, sometimes more. That doesn’t account for the cost of shoes, nails, jewelry, makeup or hair products women use as well. For many people, this presents a financial burden that is sometimes impossible to achieve.

With all that work put into looking perfect, you should have someone to impress, right? There’s so much pressure around finding a date. It seems like everyone else has one, but it’s nearly impossible to find one. Homecoming usually falls around the second or third month of the school year, which doesn’t leave much time to get to know new people. If you don’t have a date from the year prior, you’re probably stuck going with friends. While that can still be fun, it somewhat defeats the purpose of it being a romantic dance. The stereotypes surrounding homecoming usually portray the idea that you need to have a date to slow dance with or have fun with, and if you don’t, you’re not experiencing it to the fullest.

Homecoming is supposed to be special. We’re supposed to dance the night away without a single worry in the world, but deep down the stress of homecoming will always get to me and ruin what’s supposed to be a magnificent night.