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The Promposal is Upon Us

It’s that stressful time of year for students. 

I’m not talking about FCAT testing or even the SAT. Prom time is almost upon us and, for middle and high school students, the pressure is on to pop the question in the most creative, outrageous way possible.

Asking a date to prom? It’s become complicated.

In the past few years, how you promprose has become serious, competitive stuff. You can’t just slip a girl or guy a note or ask a simple question. It’s got to be epic. There must be suspense, intrigue and, most importantly, a public display.

The student council president at my daughter’s high school caused a stir when he asked a girl to “report” to a dance with him over the morning announcements in front of the entire school. Another boy scrawled his request on a banner then ran through it on the stage at a pep rally. Another had his friends line up and lift their shirts, with a letter on each chest spelling out “P-R-O-M?”

Flash mobs, scavenger hunts, balloons,  serenades and videos are being created just to land a date for the dance. Messages are being scrawled on donuts, Starbucks cups, ping pong balls, scoreboards, sunburned backs, skateboards, puppies, chip bags, juice boxes, pizzas, cupcakes and lockers. 

Some of the superlative requests have become the stuff of urban legends. One boy supposedly went to a Build-A-Bear Workshop and created a bear with his voice recording inside it asking, “Will you go to the prom with me?” Another had a policeman pull him and his girlfriend over then pose the prom question while he was pretending to write a speeding ticket.

When I was this age, getting a limo for prom was considered pretty extravagant. Now? Pleeeeaaaase. Buddy, you better bring it. If it doesn’t involve a marching band or fireworks, just stay home. Your hallways cred is over. 

There are Pinterest boards and websites devoted to killing it with a memorable prom invite (and I bet they get a lot more hits than the ones devoted to science fair projects). The word “promposal” has 205,000 YouTube results. 

I’m worried for these guys. How are they ever going to surpass this effort when it’s time to pop a really important question later in life, such as “Does my breath smell bad?” Or “Will you spend the rest of your life with me?”

Like everything else they do, this young generation has gone way over the top and put us all to shame with our pitiful memories of rose bouquets and late-night phone calls. 

I’ve never been a fan of gimmicks, but I’m approaching my 17-year wedding anniversary next week and I’m starting to feel somewhat short-changed by the old one-knee-champagne-toast routine. Let’s just say that if the evening doesn’t involve a marching band and a clever message, there will be no prom.