At the risk of wading into spectacularly unfamiliar territory, here goes:
The big issue among Westport teenage girls these days is…long dresses.
The brouhaha — played out on Facebook and Twitter, and in the pages of the Westport News and Staples High School newspaper Inklings — arose when organizers of two formal dances (“Red & White” for seniors, “Counties” for juniors in Westport, Weston, Wilton and Fairfield) decreed that starting this winter, short skirts are out.
Young women must wear long dresses. (Guys have traditionally worn tuxes.)
Girls (and their mothers) are now debating everything from the financial burden of buying long dresses, to the unspoken tradition that Staples girls wear short dresses to Counties, Red & White and the junior prom, making long dresses at the senior prom something extra-special.
The change was made, the president of the governing County Assemblies organization said, both to uphold tradition — this is the 75th edition of the formal dances — and because of complaints that some dresses were too short.
“It’s not a Hollywood dance party,” president Cathi Zilling told the News. “It is a black-tie formal.”
She noted that the dances began as a way to introduce young people to “social graces and social causes.” (Proceeds are donated to charities.)
Never mind that “social graces” at some of the recent formal dances have included fistfights and vomiting — both, presumably, alcohol-related.
And never mind that no one attends Counties or Red & White because they want to give money to worthy organizations.
It’s all about — like a Hollywood dance party — seeing and being seen. About who goes with whom.
And about pre-gaming, and the after-parties.