05/31/2014 07:58 am ET Updated Jun 02, 2014

5 Things I Learned From Prom Photos On Facebook

Kathryn Ibarra

Everyone knows that the cool kids have already fled Facebook en masse, vacating the building just as soon as their middle-aged parents occupied the social media space. So the prom photos that I saw were the censored ones, of course, the ones that parents posted to show how nicely their kids cleaned up and not a single one with a tongue misplaced. With that in mind, here's what I learned from the prom photos I saw:

1. Girls are still wearing uncomfortable heels but boys boldly sought the comfort of sneakers.
In more than one photo, boys got dressed up from the ankles up. When it came to footwear, they donned a pair of Converse high tops -- a fashion statement for sure, but I would have to conclude that by the end of the evening, it was the girls who were carrying their shoes while the boys were still able to wear theirs.

Lesson: We won't have true gender equality in the world until we can all wear comfortable footwear.

2. Some 16-year old-girls want to look 28.
I'm thinking of the one girl who looked smashing in what was basically a frontless gown that I think I've seen on a celebrity at a red carpet event. I almost didn't recognize the girl because, well, my eyes were diverted elsewhere. It's a mature look and she carried it well, but I had to wonder why. Her date was a kid from biology class, not "True Detective," and I kept wondering how straight she had to keep her back all night so that other parts would remain covered. I believe tape may have been invoked.

Lesson: You will all be 28 soon enough, girls, and when you are, you will wish you looked younger not older. Trust me on this one.

3. Wrist corsages appear to have totally replaced the ones you pinned on a girl's chest.
Hallelujah. Enough said.

I think this is a wonderful evolution of tradition because even if your date is trying to look 28, she is really still 16. And since you really only know her from biology and likely lack the finesse of Matthew McConaughey or Woody Harrelson, it's best that you keep your fumbling fingers on her wrist -- at least while her mother is shooting a photo of you during the corsage application portion of the ritual.

4. Parents-taking-photos-before-the-prom has been elevated to an art form.
In my community, the bulk of the prom-goers line up en masse at various ocean-view settings for a large group photo. I didn't see one girl-in-a-gown descending the stairs in her parents' home to admiring gasps and flashbulbs popping. I also didn't see any flashbulbs popping; maybe more than one tradition was lost here?

It's clear though that the pre-prom photography is an important part of the evening. Facebook lit up with the results and typically the comments were mournful "Where has the time flown?" and "I remember when they played together in the sandbox!" or "OMG -- how grownup they look!"

5. Pre-prom photos are the last purview belonging to parents.
After the photos, you watch them pile into a limo -- or worse yet, drive themselves off to the event and the post-prom events. The prom becomes symbolic for what's to come: They graduate high school, leave for college and continue on the one-way street toward adulthood where U-turns aren't allowed.

And what's left for parents? Posting the prom photos to Facebook.



What Would You Say To Your 20-Year-Old Self?