• Bebe Hodges '18

Flappers vs. Old Sports: a 1920s Night at SUA Formal

As “A Night to Remember” from High School Musical 3: Senior Year indicates dances are “the night of our nightmares” for boys and “the night of our dreams” for girls. This dreaded male perspective and excited female perspective of a high school dance are usually well understood in today’s society. But just how true are they?

On Friday, November 18, the students at Saint Ursula Academy and their dates were transported back in time to the 1920s at their formal dance with the theme The Great Gatsby. The night captured the novel’s and era’s glitz and glamour with a modern twist complete with velvet dresses instead of flapper gowns and the national phenomenon “Juju on that Beat” in substitute for the jazz classics of that era.

Many girls had been waiting for this dance and were excited to choose the perfect dress and shoes, take artsy pictures for Instagram, and just have a fun time. But because they're surrounded by other girls for 35+ hours a week, any Saint Ursula Academy student could have related this. However, many girls brought dates, so what were the guys’ take on the night?

Was it similar to the “magical experience” that girls stereotypically conceive of a night like this? Or do guys truly find dances “lame” or blown out of proportion as what is depicted in today’s society? In order to see how formal compares for both sexes, SUA students, Kate McCarthy ‘18, Maddie Gerding ‘18, and Therese Kondash ‘17, and two seniors from Saint Xavier High School, who will be anonymously referred to as Guy #1 and Guy #2 as requested by them, were asked a series of similar questions.

When asked their general view of dances, Guy #1 related that many dances “remind [him] of grade school mixers” that entail “too much hype over dancing, boutonnieres, and corsages.” However, Guy #2 said that he likes dances and finds them especially fun when the music is good and he is able to surround himself with friends. Kate stated that she enjoys dances because “they’re fun and exciting” and Therese loves “dancing so much [...] and seeing everyone dressed up outside of school.” For Maddie, “dances really aren’t [her] thing.” She likes to hang out with friends “but doesn’t take them too seriously”, a seemingly different answer than what is portrayed in 21st century media. This already shows the incorrect stigma of “traditional” gender views of dances, as both sexes had either feelings of apprehension or plain excitement toward the event.

Regardless of these apprehensions, all seemed to have a good time at SUA’s formal. For Guy #1, the SUA dance actually changed his perspective since he was able to meet “some really fun and cool people. For him, the highlight was dancing, which is thought to be a male’s most dreaded aspect. “I just enjoyed dancing, getting a good workout in with my boys, and making people smile,” he continued “When that first ‘boom’ came in during Lil’ Momma’s ‘Lipgloss’ you knew the guys would be snapping their fingers and people were having a good time.” Guy #2 liked the music and “getting wild with friends,” and “doing a reverse nae nae” of course.

The girls had a similar response. For Kate and Maddie they enjoyed “hanging with their gal pals” and the new venue, the Cintas Center, that included a bigger dance floor. Therese even said she loved that, with fewer boys as a result of two playoff football games the same night, “it was like a big ‘girlies’ night.”

With glittering decor, a great dancefloor, and time to spend with friends, The Great Gatsby formal seemed like a big hit for everyone, regardless of gender.


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Saint Ursula Academy | 1339 East McMillan Street 
Cincinnati, Ohio 45206