It's That Time of Year!

We all know what May brings… Prom dresses, hair and make-up, tuxedos and bouquets!

But what does April have to do with it? It is the month of “promposals.” For anyone wondering what this term means, it is an elaborately staged request to score a date to the prom. Although we don’t know exactly where the term originated, one early article about the idea of asking a high school classmate to prom with a creative, over-the-top gesture, was written by the Dallas Morning News about a group of high schoolers in 2001. Not at all shocking, because, you know, everything is bigger in Texas!! 

Once upon a time, people agonized over simply being asked to prom, never considering HOW they may be asked. I have seen billboards, professionally wrapped trucks and even carriage rides through New York City, all to secure a date to the “best night” of high school. Personally, I have been asked with chocolate-covered strawberries spelling out the word “PROM?” 

I believe the birth of social media has a lot to do with the promposal phenomenon. As my mom says, “the only reason you make a post on social media is for the likes, comments, and attention it brings.” Why else would you spend hours covering your girlfriend’s car with sticky notes to spell out “PROM”? For the Instagram photo, of course! … duh! 

I work at the Mecca for all things prom in Texarkana, GEB Special Occasions, so understandably, prom, and all that goes along with it, is always on my mind! I also attended three proms during high school, and I have a little sister, a senior at Pleasant Grove High School, who in May, will also have attended three proms. You could say I am an expert on the subject. But I have never really thought of it from the boy’s perspective… or maybe, more appropriately, the boy’s mom’s perspective. Because let’s face it, we all know who really makes those posters! (My mom has even made signs for a few of our guy friends.)

Promposals might seem thoughtful and sweet, but consider the flip side—most promposals, as with public marriage proposals, seek only to get other people’s attention, which might cause some to feel pressured into saying yes. If you didn’t want to go to prom with someone, it would be a lot more difficult to decline that invitation if an entire crowd of people are standing nearby staring at you. The bottom line is this: if you “propose” to take a date to prom, you should be 100% sure that they feel the same way. But some may say, “if you already know the answer to that, why waste your time with an elaborate display, anyway?” Well, I repeat… Instagram, of course! 

Because of COVID-19, I think the students that are currently in high school really don’t care about going all out on a promposal. They feel lucky to even be having the dance. This is unlike my high school years when we were so high maintenance and expected a more elaborate gesture. I know everyone thinks about the unfortunate circumstances of COVID-19, and while there have been so many, I think one positive outcome is that it has made teens a lot more appreciative of these events. They don’t sweat the small stuff, and as adults we could learn from them. 

Only two years ago, students went without a prom, baseball season, graduation ceremonies and so much more. For those seniors, it must have been devastating. Current seniors saw all of this play out, so I’m not sure they even care if they have a date. They are just glad they have an event to dress up for. These students have stopped putting pressure on themselves to have to put on a post-worthy show for what should be a simple invitation to a timeless high school event. They are more confident, resilient and mature young men and women who do not need a showy production to feel good about themselves or to enjoy their lives. 

Although prom is still one of the most anticipated nights of their eighteen years, it will be just as wonderful with or without a clever promposal. Students will treasure these memories more than previous generations because, for the first time in a while, it has been uncertain whether this memorable night would even happen. But don’t get me wrong, I will still be the first one to check out Facebook and Instagram to make sure I do not miss seeing especially creative promposals for this year’s prom!


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