Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Young ladies and the tramps

Remember your prom? The meringue dress, your date's cheap rented tux, the mismatched concealer on your chin zit, the stretch limo that smelled vaguely of Love's Baby Soft? And what about the reddish-brown carnation he slipped on your wrist or his declaration of "You make me sweaty" as he awkwardly attempted to grab your ass while you slow danced to Meatloaf? Ah, adolescence. So distant, so scarring, so self-consciously cringe-y.

Except, it's not like that anymore. At some point over the past 20 or 30 years, teenagers stopped being uneasy and awkward. Kids today are somehow bypassing their ugly duckling phase and going right into slutty swan. I've seen it. A few years ago when I was working as a mid-level editor at a national publication, I was asked to give a speech at my old high school before their annual fashion show. (I haven't been asked back since I quit my job. Apparently 30-plus-year-old freelance writers who sleep til noon, bounce cheques and live off their parents aren't exactly the models education administrators want for their Future Leaders Of Canada. Go fig.) As I walked through those hallowed halls, all signs of adolescent malaise — acne, baby fat, mismatched clothes and general despondence — had been replaced with bodycon dresses with a side order of fake nails and hair extensions. These were not girls on the verge of coming-of-age. It came, it saw, it slutted them up.      

It gets worse. This season, the New York Post recently reported, the theme in prom dresses is "slutty chic." "For prom this year, girls want short and poofy or long, tight-fitting, with everything cut out -- the sides are gone, the back is gone, the front is basically gone," a dress store manager in Brooklyn told the paper. ( There are going to be some slutty and I would imagine, chilly, teenage girls roaming the streets this spring. Lock up yer sons! And it's not just the tacky stores that line the boulevard of broken dreams that stock these wonders, Saks is selling some pretty questionable styles too. 

Pencey and Black Halo dresses both available at Saks

Two popular cut-out styles

I wonder if the pendulum theory would ever apply in a situation like this? If 20 years from now I walk into a high school gymnasium and witness a bunch of disheveled kids slow dancing in their mismatched pajamas. It would be a freelancer writer's dream come true.


  1. I think if I saw young girls wearing the 2 short dresses I might be able to refrain from attempting to slap some sense into them. Maybe. The 2 cut-out dresses? O.M.G. I'd be wanting to slap ANYONE I saw wearing those. That is tacky to the extreme. Not just slutty but ridiculously poor fashion taste!