There is a new word in the vernacular of teenagers. A “promposal” generally involves an adolescent male asking a similarly aged female to a dance in an elaborately staged plan.
It generally includes decorated signs, balloons, costumes, over-the-top surprise antics, props, serenades, skits with friends acting as extras and almost always someone recording the entire thing.
Go to YouTube, they are everywhere. In one clip, a young man spends hours with friends, filling up a hallway at his high school with 1,500 balloons and a massive sign asking a girl to prom.
How they did this without teachers catching them, I have no idea. She looks awkward and embarrassed, but she says yes.
In another, a young man has a police officer pull him over and give the female passenger a fake citation for drinking, only to have the prom proposal written on the back of the ticket. The crying girl doesn’t even agree to go to prom on the video, scared out of her mind she was about to face a court date for a crime she didn’t commit.
Then there are popular themed promposals. There’s the Harry Potter promposal. The Disney World one. A Rocky theme. Even a Pokemon theme.
Various others involve flash mobs during school hours with dozens of students who obviously spent hours learning dance moves. Don’t they know flash mobs are so 2008?
In the danger of sounding like an old fogey, it was hard enough in previous generations to simply ask a girl to a dance during class change or at the lunch table without any added ceremony. Now boys — and girls if it’s a Sadie Hawkins dance — are under extreme pressure to outdo their friends. As if being a teenager wasn’t hard enough.
Promposals are forcing teens to step up their game or disappoint their possible date because their friends received more elaborate gestures.
On the flip side, having a young man go to so much trouble to ask a girl to a dance places even more pressure on her to say yes.
Creativity among students is commended, especially in the classroom, but the added potential for humiliation is intense.
First, blame the Internet for the proliferation of this new behavior. One boy does something sweet to ask a girl to prom, it gets filmed on a smartphone and uploaded to social media. Hundreds of others see it and start scheming on how to one-up the act.
Second, peer pressure is still a powerful motivator among teenagers.
Sadly, at this rate, when my son is 18 years old, he’s going to have to discover the DNA of a dinosaur in a fossilized mosquito, clone a T-Rex and ride it to school, adorned with a sign asking the teenage girl of his dreams to the homecoming dance. Which, let’s face it, would be awesome but completely unnecessary.
The question is where does it all end?