PAIGE LISTON | firstname.lastname@example.org | Opinion Columnist
A girl stared in the mirror. Her eyes, framed with expertly applied mascara, stared back.
Her hair was curled perfectly, the result of hours spent with an iron. A simple black dress covered her skin.
It was almost time to go, so she glanced in the mirror once more and breathed a deep sigh. It was that time of year again: formal season.
For girls living in Greek houses, this event—which is supposed to be fun and carefree—can easily turn into a source of stress when searching for the perfect dress, cute shoes and, of course, a date.
My high school never had a Sadie Hawkins dance. Girls never had to ask a guy to a formal event, so the concept is something entirely new to me.
Being on the opposite side of the asking-and-accepting process is a nerve-wracking role to play, but only if you let it be.
Junior Emma Kortebein, Kappa Alpha Theta member, said girls turn the process of asking someone to a formal into a bigger event than it needs to be.
“Girls should take this as an opportunity to have a fun time with their friends and possibly even meet new friends along the way,” Kortebein said. “It is not as big of a deal as some might think.”
On the opposite side, sophomore Zeiba Lenning, a member of Delta Gamma, said she does not enjoy doing the asking.
“It is nerve-wracking to ask someone,” Lenning said. “I feel pressured to do it far in advance, so that I don’t have to stress about it once the date gets closer.”
Formal dances certainly put students under pressure. Girls often struggle to find a dress that is both fashionable and comfortable. They search for shoes to go with the dress, shoes that will not have them towering over their date and that are at least semi-practical for them to walk in. They will even go so far as to pay additional money to get their hair, makeup and nails done.
Formal is similar to homecoming or prom in high school, only worse. With the additional pressure of asking a guy, some people let their nerves get the best of them.
I think it is helpful to realize that college is a much more mature environment than high school. Young women should ask someone they know they will have fun with. It does not have to turn into a high-pressure situation of worrying who would say yes or no.
There is no need to become aggravated by formals. Take a step back and remember what formals really represent. They are meant to be fun events that allow people to relieve their stress, rather than to add more.
If you have searched every store and still cannot find the perfect dress, consider borrowing from your friend. That saves both money and time.
If you are stressed about finding a date, take one of your good friends. That eliminates the awkward tension of wondering if this is something more than a simple formal date.
I agree with Kortebein. Young women should look at the process of preparing for formal as an opportunity to look good, experience an exciting venue and have fun with their friends.
It should be an event that instills positive feelings, not negative stress, so do not let it have that adverse effect on you.