anne mikolay 2012 120Shelton High School in Waterbury, Connecticut is imposing a dress code at its high school prom. No backless gowns, slit or cut-out dresses will be permitted; violators will be turned away. Parents and students are upset the restrictions were announced on May 16th, after most dresses for Shelton’s upcoming prom had already been purchased. Apparently, bad taste mixed with bad timing equals outrage. Shelton High has quite a conundrum on its hands.

Here’s where you get to call me a fuddy-duddy, a traditionalist, a square, or whatever name you assign to old-fashioned gals like me. I agree with the dress code ban.

For mothers of boys, like me, prom preparations are pretty straight-forward. A boy rents a tux, buys the corsage, arranges transportation if needed, combs his hair, ties his shoes, and he’s good to go. As such, I was totally unprepared for the female prom hoopla and very nearly fell over when I saw some of the girls’ outfits at my sons’ proms. With all that glitz and sparkle, you would have thought these young ladies were walking Hollywood’s red carpet. There were plunging necklines, dresses slit so far up the leg I thought the fabric was torn, and a shocking abundance of bare backs and décolletage. If there’s anything that definitely confirms your teenage son is no longer a little boy it’s seeing him in a crowd of Jennifer Lopez-wannabes. Granted, every generation thinks the next is growing up too fast, and every younger generation thinks the generation before is too tightly wound, but a line needs to be drawn somewhere. Doesn’t it? You can defend a kid’s right to choose his/her own attire with all the psychological rhetoric you want about adolescents exploring their identities, but you’ll never convince me that kids don’t need guidelines to follow. Without rules - and yes, the occasional dress code - there will be a lot of Miley Cyrus clones out there. I shudder at the thought!

Am I a square? Hmm...possibly. The fact that I even used the term “square” might confirm your suspicion, but I make no apologies. All I know is my two very beautiful nieces attended their proms in lovely, trendy dresses that didn’t make them look as though they were about to dance on a table in Atlantic City.

I support Shelton High School’s dress code. However, restrictions should have been announced long before prom tickets were available and young, starry eyed girls invaded the malls in search of the “perfect” dress. Expecting parents to adhere to a dress code at this point and return pricey prom dresses is unreasonable and ridiculous. Of course, if parents exercised a little more taste in paying for their daughters’ prom dresses, there would be no problem. Am I a square if I think it all comes down to the parents?

Okay. I’m a square.