Guys should have equal say over traditional Formal activities

November 28, 2018 — by Andrew Lee

Despite — or perhaps because of — all of the hype surrounding formal, the dance often proves to be a stressful and chaotic event that many students try to prepare for in advance — sometimes even months before it happens.

Much of the focus centers around girls, whether it be what dress they are going to wear, which friends they ask to their preformals and who they ask to do their makeup the morning of the dance.

So what about the guys? With everything that girls have to stress about, the issues that boys have to deal with for formal must pale in comparison. Aside from all the talk about which girl to ask, guys appear to have relatively few concerns. But contrary to popular belief, there are many things that guys have to deal with or worry about when it comes to formal, possibly as much as girls.

When it comes down to it, many guys feel as if they do not have as much freedom in choosing formal activities, especially events like preformal and choosing what outfits to wear to the dance. Sure, it can be argued that anybody can decide whether or not they conform to the pre-established culture of formal, but social pressure on boys to follow through still exists, and people should try to involve more of their input.

Traditionally, guys are expected to be the ones to ask someone to go to formal, prepare an elaborate asking, pay for his partner’s ticket, wear attire that matches his partner’s taste in color and attend his partner’s pre-formal, among other obligations. Asking someone to formal can be stressful, and buying two tickets can be painful to every guy’s wallet.

Even preformal, which is supposed to be a relaxed, get-together opportunity to take photos with friends before the dance, can end up being one of the most awkward and stressful part of formal for many guys.

Although they can have a choice, most guys are expected to attend the same preformal of his partner’s friends, meaning that they will spend their preformals with people who they mostly do not know. With issues like peer pressure regarding this expectation, not conforming with this norm could be seen as selfish or mildly “socially unacceptable.”

Although this tradition might not pose a problem to large friend groups of boys and girls that are going to formal with each other, many guys have to deal with a dreadfully long event where they virtually do not know any other guy who is there. While attending the preformal of his partner’s friends may make her happy, it definitely can put the boys in an uncomfortable situation where they are forced to linger around and socialize with guys they are unfamiliar with.

The same could be said about choosing which color tie to wear. Although this doesn’t necessarily add more stress before an event like preformal and isn’t necessarily a custom that always has to be followed, guys should still be able to have more input on what color he and his partner should match to wear.

Contrary to popular belief, guys do have a preference when it comes to what clothes they want to wear and what colors they think they look better in. Furthermore, ties are the one article of clothing a guy can wear that can differentiate him from the monolithic swarm of black and grey suits everyone else wears to formal.

But of course, ties pose nowhere near as much of a problem as dresses, and it’s safe to say that a majority of guys are most definitely kind enough to allow their ladies to choose their color.

In the end, all pairs going to formal are different, but giving guys more opportunities to express their preferences can be a little more beneficial to all.

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Friends make a circle during a dance for the winter formal held on Dec. 1 in the Large Gym. More than 500 students attended.

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