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My Complaints About Homecoming and Reasons I Continue to Go

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My Complaints About Homecoming and Reasons I Continue to Go

Haverford High School students dance in the Juenger Gymnasium on homecoming night.

Haverford High School students dance in the Juenger Gymnasium on homecoming night.

Katie Gilroy

Haverford High School students dance in the Juenger Gymnasium on homecoming night.

Katie Gilroy

Katie Gilroy

Haverford High School students dance in the Juenger Gymnasium on homecoming night.

Rachel Plasky, Contributor

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Every year, the school packs the majority of its student body into one dark room.  Despite how disappointing and sweaty I end up being, I don’t regret going to homecoming.  I’m not the kind of person who enjoys dances, but I never really have a bad time either.  So, twice a year, I hop into a dress and bury my acne under twenty layers of makeup.  Allow me to explain my conflicted indifference.

I guess the most obvious complaint about homecoming is the sheer awkwardness, whether that would be all the couples making out on the dance floor, seeing classmates all dressed up, or everything in between.  There’s a certain grossness in the fact that this is a school-sponsored event; hours before, you may have been doing push-ups in a room where everyone is now slow dancing.  But, at the same time, it is kind of cool that this is an event that gets to happen in the first place.  The school could have easily used the money from the ticket sales on something academic, and it is commendable that the school is supporting students’ social endeavors. The overarching awkwardness of it all cannot really be helped; that’s just what happens when you put that many teenagers in one room.  School is plenty awkward as it is, so I think concentrating nearly the same amount of people in a smaller area must surely increase the awkwardness.  Some of this perceived awkwardness could probably be attributed to my socially inept disposition as well as going with a group of friends rather than a date, but I’d like to think I wasn’t the only one afraid to make eye contact.

Other complaints that could be made against homecoming are the extremes in temperature and overall mismanagement.  I realize that this sounds nitpicky, but these are the concerns I hear most people complaining about. This year, the announcements were flooded with the message that doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and close at 7:00 p.m.  However, when I strolled up to the school at 6:52 p.m., the line was still wrapped around, so I didn’t make it inside until twenty minutes later.  I wasn’t the only one wearing a short, sleeveless dress, open-toed shoes, and no stockings.  I’m not exaggerating when I say that I couldn’t feel my toes again until around 8:00 p.m. Two of my friends that I walked in with, had to report to coat check and didn’t make it out of that line until about the same time my toes regained feeling.  

So 8:00 p.m. was when the dance felt like it began, and that’s when the extreme heat of the temperature became obvious, though not as overwhelming as last year.  The rest of the night went as expected; all of the things that surprised me last year persisted. It was nearly impossible to talk in the gym, and the DJ specialized in only playing thirty seconds of each song as loudly as possible while simultaneously forgetting to play classic dance songs.  I was also not shocked to find that the refreshments weren’t free.  I don’t think I could tell you what time the dance actually ended. Seemingly out of nowhere, the lights went off and then back on: the universal sign for you can leave now.

Now with two homecomings under my belt, the question remains of whether or not I will go in the future.  I surprise myself when I say yes.  While there are so many arguments that could be made against homecoming, somewhere deep down I recognize that I have fun on some level.  That’s an underwhelming response, but a powerful one for me to admit.  As I wove my way through the crowd, I sensed the apparent social hierarchy, the fakeness of everyone dolled-up, and the contagious feeling to impress anyone.  I’m finding it hard to express these sentiments genuinely without sounding pretentious, but all this could just be me projecting again.  Regardless, I do enjoy myself.  Going to homecoming is definitely more interesting than anything I could be doing otherwise.  It’s also an opportunity to do something with my friends and to see ones I don’t have classes with.  Overall, the feeling is more “why not” than “why bother.”  So while this may be the most backhanded yes, it’s me admitting that I’m not above or beneath going to a school dance.

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My Complaints About Homecoming and Reasons I Continue to Go