‘Ridin’ Solo’

No-date prom as fun as any other

Meredith Comas, Online Editor-in-Chief

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Dear reader,

I’ve been reminiscing on my childhood recently, more specifically, the music that takes me back to hazy summer afternoons at the pool with my siblings, when nothing anyone thought mattered except the smell of chlorine and cherry snow cones.

Most of us Generation Z kids remember the music that took hold in the early summer of 2010, such as the Jason Derulo song “Ridin’ Solo” — a chart topper that played on City Pool speakers for weeks — in which Derulo refreshingly describes the single life as a party all its own. It is a song some may feel is mistaken in its convivial description of being alone, but it really isn’t about being alone. For people such as myself, it normalizes the idea of “singleness” and celebrates being single in the same way society celebrates relationships, a message that says “single” doesn’t equal “alone.”

Often times — even in high school — I notice people forgetting the fun being single can be, especially around prom season when everyone becomes obsessed with the monster-like task of finding a prom date, scouring Instagram for the most astonishing promposal they can find.

The idea of “the prom date” is so heavily ingrained in the population of high schoolers, it has been for some time. We have allowed this idea to take such a hold of us that it becomes difficult to attend staple events of our high school careers as a party of one and actually feel good about doing so.

Last weekend’s prom is a prime example.

After hours of decorating the mall, doing my hair and makeup, finding the perfect dress, applying and spilling the perfect nail color, and wearing the most ludicrous, barbaric pair of blistering heels, I went sans prom date to the annual Manhattan High dance. Unsurprisingly to me, I had a blast without a date. However, many of my fellow single friends spent the night upset over going alone, despite the fact they were surrounded by friends at an event meant to be enjoyed.

While I love my friends, this attitude is ridiculous to me. Why? Because “single” isn’t “alone” — they were surrounded with friends who love them, yet felt awful because society told them that their company needed to be romantic.

So I went home early, took off my devil-heels and makeup wondering, why do we feel single is so wrong?

I went solo with my friends and I honestly wouldn’t want to change that. Having a date is a nice formality, but it’s not necessary. I loved having a group dinner and walking through my blisters in the promenade with my friends. If I had gone with a date, I would’ve had a different experience, but it wouldn’t necessarily have been better than the one I had without a date. There is no reason to feel sorry for myself for making the active decision to have fun as a single person, rather than in a couple.

This isn’t to say that it’s wrong to feel a little lonely during slow dances or to want that kind of relationship, but there is something wrong with having an entire night ruined by an idea society has mistakenly told you: that “single” equals “bad.”

We’re teenagers. There is no reason to feel like we’re going to die alone because we didn’t have a date on prom night — a night that is fairly insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Everyone is ready for a relationship at their own time, there is no pressing need for you to check “relationship by 16” off the flawed list society handed you at an age where relationships are only a half-formed concept in our minds, molded by unrealistic scenes from cliche high school-themed dramas created by people who haven’t even been in high school for 20 years.

Our worth as people isn’t determined by our ability to have a romantic companion, least of all by the time we’re 16 or 17 years old.

Going to prom single is normal and fun. People make memories that last a lifetime either way.

If you have a date enjoy it, but don’t judge others for choosing a different experience that is no less than yours.

Besides, if Jason Derulo can make a chart-topper out of being single, we might as well make a singular night of fun out of it too.

 

Until I write again,

“I’m riding solo.”

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