When Marcia Brady of TVs “The Brady Bunch” asked the dreamiest member of the 1960s Brit boy band The Monkees to sing at her school dance, she could never have known it would all lead to Miley Cyrus and the trend of our kids shooting for the wrong stars.
While I applaud celebrities who keep it real and respond to their fans, celebrity prom pursuit, like the teen who has asked Miley Cyrus to prom in a cringe-worthy video, has eclipsed the original intent of school dances, where memories are made and the end of the year celebrated among peers.
The following celebrities have said yes to fan requests for prom dates: Rhianna, Brooke Shields, Brandi (fun fact: the fan was Kobe Bryant, now star of the Los Angeles Lakers, who at that time was in high school), Demi Lovato, and Justin Bieber, according to Yahoo.
It is a long, freaky road from Davy Jones and his impeccable British manners to Justin Bieber, and now Miley Cyrus.
I remember watching the episode of “The Brady Bunch” when Marcia writes to Mr. Jones to ask him to sing at the dance. She wasn’t asking him for a date, she was asking on behalf of her school as part of the dance committee.
She gets a response letter promising her he will sing, but it’s a mix-up and she’s publicly humiliated.
In the end, Jones is a prince of a guy who ends up honoring the commitment to sing and asking the teen to the dance as a bonus with a chaste kiss on the cheek.
It’s a big, wholesome aaaaaaaawwww.
Flash forward to this week when the news is all about Matt Peterson, 17, donning a "Team Miley" T-shirt and tuxedo. He later appears with a foam finger (strategically placed to cover his young manhood) to plead with the notorious pop star on video to be his prom date.
Like a letter to Davy Jones? Not exactly.
This is a sad reminder of how school dances celebrating the end of the year have become media-driven spectacles where kids think they have to dress, spend, and behave like celebrities rather than teens.
Prom should not be about someone’s 17-year-old son, naked on camera in front of the world, licking a bunch of roses in order to gain five minutes of fame and a date with a pop tart.
I have been here before.
My oldest, now 20, began getting asked to formal dances by girls when he was in middle school.
He’s always been handsome, polite, and a good dancer, so I am on a first-name basis with the formalwear rental place at the local mall.
However, things turned ugly at his junior prom when some girls decided it was a great idea to emulate some celebrity partying they’d seen on TV.
My son, then 17, came to me with the problem: the after party was going to be an alcohol- and drug-laced event at a beach house owned by the parents of one of the girls in his prom group. My son was asked to chip-in for the cost of a stretch limousine with a jacuzzi, with a driver to get them home safe after partying.
“I plan on going into law enforcement, mom,” he told me at the time. “I don’t need this. It’s not fun. How should I handle this?”
I asked how he thought he should handle it. He said he wanted to go to the prom and share the table with the same group, but drive himself to the prom with his date.
He was worried his date would be disappointed.
I told him that if she was then maybe he could apologize and ask her if she’d rather not go. He could go stag.
Apparently, when his date was faced with the option of a drunken, unchaperoned celebrity-like prom versus no date at all, she chose the more age-appropriate alternative.
Apparently my son wasn’t the only one to turn down the invitation. A few days before the prom, another kid’s mom called the parents of the girls hosting the party to report her concerns.
The girl’s very responsible and angry parents stopped the party before if even started.
My son went to prom with his date and came home at a reasonable hour after having a good time. Neither was scarred for life after turning down the party crew. He went to two more proms thereafter (senior prom and the junior prom of a friend’s sister who needed a cute and gentlemanly date).
Each time a new prom story mentioning celebrities hits the news, I am reminded of the bad choices many teens make in order to create a big impression at prom.
From nude video "promposals" to Miley Cyrus, to drunken escapades too wild for the high school gym, the “go big or go home” attitude turns prom from a rite of passage for teens into a launch pad for adult behavior well past their years.
I think that if celebrities want to help their young fans, they need to make a public pact to “Just say no” to prom invites from kids.