Thursday, 14 March 2013

A Teen's Perspective of The Debs

Ah, the debs. Such a prestigious event for all things teenage. A date marked in many a girl’s calendar a year in advance. A date looked forward to also by many a mother, considering it almost a pre-marriage preparation. An opportunity to spend quality time shopping with their daughter, perhaps for the last time. Well, at least the last time their understanding of the word ‘appropriate’ may be taken into consideration.

Am I jumping to conclusions here when I assume all of you know exactly what a “debs” is, and what it entails? Forgive me if I am. The debs is an abbreviation of the term ‘debutante ball’. This ball is basically an attempt made by the Irish (and Australians) to re-enact an American prom. From an onlooker’s perspective the debs may appear quite a respectable rite of passage for teens who have just sat their Leaving Cert exams. We hear of the hours spent worrying over the make-up which gets reapplied at least three times, the days of panicking spent deliberating over which dress fits best, the weeks spent relentlessly trying to cope with the agony of those six-inch heels that match the dress, and the months spent stressing and growing grey hairs over the most important aspect of the night: the plus-one.

As a girl in an all-girls school, surrounded by a group of girls every lunch as the debs is fast-approaching it is needless to say that very conversation (or therapy session, it’s a close call) has been had many, many times. And it’s only March. “Who am I going to go with?” “What if no-one asks me?” “I DON’T KNOW ANY BOYS”.

These regular traumatic fits are merely a scratch on the surface of the can of emotions a girl contains in regards to the debs. But at the end of the day, who actually gives a fuck? The only part of the night where a date would be needed is the photographs, and even that is optional. Perhaps at the start of the night people may notice who you have brought but that fascination takes all of 0.7 seconds to disintegrate. Like I said, no-one really cares. Fretting about a date for one night should be the least of your worries. If all comes to all you could just go with a group of friends; I’m sure it’s just as enjoyable. It’s not like you’re going to be thrown out at the door simply because you’re not accompanied by someone of the opposite sex, right?

*“Ah, now I see why she’s writing this. It’s one of her ranting sessions again.”* Yes, yes it is. But bear with me, it could be interesting.

Why should a date be of any concern to me? I will have been in a relationship for over a year by the time the debs rolls around. Surely the date aspect of my night is well and truly covered. Unfortunately this may not be the case. Apparently some people have a rigid problem with same-sex couples attending the debs together. It’s not “traditional”. Hold up… what? Since when is anything done according to traditions anymore? ‘Abstain from alcohol until the legal age’ ‘Abstain from sex until after marriage’. Well, as these traditions have already been fucked over (literally) why should this so-called tradition of male-female dates be enforced for one night? It bewilders me. Especially as most people are already used to seeing me with my girlfriend. And with same-sex marriage having been legalised merely a few months ago in Britain and it to be voted upon relatively soon in Ireland (with 79% of the population already having pledged to vote “yes”), how can any same-sex relationship possibly be rebuked on this one night?

To be quite frank, it’s nobody’s business who I choose as my plus-one. In fact it’s nobody’s business who anyone brings as their plus-one. People have a tendency to make it their business to interfere and cause problems on the one night when everyone is supposed to get along; at least for the sake of others.

On the other hand, maybe I am the one causing the problems here. Why don’t I just conform to society and take a guy? As I already emphasised many times it’s only one night. So surely I can abide by society’s rules for one measly night? I will in my fuck. This should not be an issue. This should not be something I must fight for. Most of all this should not be something I have to write a blog about just to garner some attention and support. Whose decision is it anyway? Who makes that call? I’d love to meet them. Because to deprive me of my girlfriend on such an anticipated night, they’d want to have a serious amount of reasons prepared.

I cannot speak for anyone else here but, for me, being able to be with my girlfriend on such a memorable night is definitely what I am looking forward to most. And who wouldn’t feel that way if they were in a relationship when the debs were taking place? It’s the ideal situation, yet is only a reality for a small amount of people. Why should I or any other person in a same-sex relationship have to sacrifice this luck for a failing society? Because that’s all it is. A society failing to treat everyone equally. A society failing to protect some of the most vulnerable of its community from exclusion and abuse. But more importantly than anything else, it is a society seeping in a form of discrimination that is so common it has almost become acceptable.

The debs may seem like a miniscule dilemma in comparison to the national or even worldwide treatment of homosexuals or bisexuals, but for me it is everything. It was (and still can be) hard enough to handle the various responses I have received and will continue to receive due to my sexual orientation. For some of you, you may never again be a part of a society where one person (I refer to myself here) is so outspoken about being bisexual. You may never experience homosexuality of any kind ever again. So would you not experience even the tiniest of feelings of warmth and goodness within you knowing that you made a huge difference to such an important night? Not just for my benefit, but for the hundreds of other teens in the same boat as me in this very society. For the thousands in this country. Not to mention the thousands upon thousands of the generations that are to succeed us.

I’m all for independence but I need your support now. Help me to bury the bones of this homophobic society.


  1. I fully support your right to attend the Debs, and any social event, with your chosen partner. Well done for speaking out. I hope this will encourage more people to give two fingers to convention and embolden them to, dare I say it, 'be themselves'.

  2. Go for it! Its such BS make a stand and enjoy the evening. You're look back at yourself and be proud

  3. I know two dudes went to that debs together last year, literally nothing was said, its really not a big deal ^.^

  4. Hon the Olivia :) Epic :D
    Louise x

  5. I support you dear. I hope you fight for ot and win. I would suggest polling all the other girls attending. Having a ;ot of the other girls on your side might help. Good Luck Honey.

  6. Here here! :) You're dead right, ''this should not be an issue. This should not be something I must fight for.''. That says it all really! Best of luck Olivia! Irene

  7. Thanks for writing this. I'm currently terrified of the debs. More than my results at this stage.