I have my year 12 formal tonight and to be frank, I’m not exactly jumping up and down about it.
- Yesterday I got back from being at a shack with my friends. What this means is that I’ve already seen some of the people I want to see most so the whole “It’s the last time you’ll see people” argument loses some weight. Plus I’m ‘certain’ that I’ll put in some effort to see the people I posses more than a passing friendship with.
- My school is trying much too hard to be high class. Rather than having the formal at a local venue we have to go all the way to the city which is a hour or two away. As a result of what I can only imagine as a bad case of escalation (people trying to outdo each other) many of the students are arriving in over the top transport. Several people are coming in stretch hummers, one or two are hiring mustangs. I’m seriously considering taking my friend Penguins’ advice and arriving on a push bike. At the moment my choices are either that or walk (and I wouldn’t have it any other way).
- I don’t actually know what happens at a formal. In my previous (country) school formals were just the grown up version of discos except the dancing would get done in fancy clothes. I know that before we get to the actual formal we need to take photos and that at some point we will be sitting at tables in which the seating arrangements were decided upon months in advance (unfortunately this means that the social optimisation has become outdated as friendships change). Between these events in my mind are large gray areas where I don’t know what we will be doing.
- It’s very fake. A large amount of the formal is a charade in which the students are pretending to be something that they are not. This has already been touched on in relation to having it at a fancy place in the city rather than a local venue (there are many more than adequate ones) and by arriving in expensive cars. Another facet of this is the dates that people are taking to the formal. Apparently coming to formal with a date is a very important social convention, even if it’s a person who you don’t actually like, one of my friends managed to keep his date for formal between getting and losing a girlfriend (respect for that). Lots of people don’t like their dates, aren’t going to be on the same tables with them, and plan on ditching them as soon as the formal starts. I am stagging it.
- It’s petty. Rather than being a celebration of our assent to adulthood the formal seems to be more of one last chance to be immature and obsess over petty things which really don’t matter. I would much rather formal being a intimate local event where there was no pressure to attend or on how you would have to look. But that isn’t the fashion at the school I go to.
My plan: Walk/bikeride to formal. Find the food and mung out. Hang with the people I like, dance if possible. Try not to die of boredom during speeches/photos (both are things that take forever in a class of just under two hundred). Leave when I get bored and go back to the hotel room and read instead of clubbing afterwards.