“Will you go to the prom with me?” is so passé.
The question doesn’t seem right in today’s teen universe without something that screams lights, camera and action.
From a singing invitation to balloons filled with paper posing the question to an illuminated walkway spelling out the request, the promposal appears to be a trend that’s here to stay.
“It’s a personal thing that shows that person means more to you,” says Dean Reis, a senior at Woodland Park High School.
Officially defined as an elaborately stated request to be someone’s date to a prom, the tradition started nationally in 2011 and has grown to become yet another competitive element of the high school years.
“More and more there is pressure to perform them,” said Derrius Rahman, a senior at Sand Creek High School in School District 49.
“Apps like Instagram and Twitter have taught us how to compare ourselves very well,” he said, “and this is just another (way) to showcase.”
Of course, part of the experience is posting photos on social media.
So guys feel the need to make a promposal “big and grand, but also unique and different,” Derrius said.
And girls dream of it.
Olivia Myers, a junior at Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch, has been fantasizing about hers since she was in middle school.
“I’ve seen different ways and wondered how it would happen for me,” the 17-year-old said. “It’s a desire for a lot of girls.”
Last week, unbeknownst to Olivia, her boyfriend enlisted the help of her family to arrange tea lights in the driveway of her house to form the word “Prom?”
Her boyfriend appeared with roses and a poster in hand.
“It was the cutest thing,” Olivia said. “You feel special.”
It’s also kind of fun, Dean said, to be romantic and chivalrous leading up to a special night that remains a teenage rite of passage.
The element of surprise — “When that person walks in, and you see their face, catching them off-guard” — is the best part, he says.
Dean’s been known to amass the Woodland Park High men’s ensemble to pop the question in public with the song, “My Girl.”
After the shock wore off, his would-be date said “yes.”
Sarah Iskra, a junior who plays soccer at Woodland Park High, kicked a “yes” ball into a small goal when a friend who’s now her sweetheart orchestrated a soccer-themed invite before spring break. A teddy bear, roses and Sarah’s favorite chocolates were part of the package.
“I was really surprised,” Sarah said. “I was shaking.”
The pair started dating after the promposal.
“He went out of his way to do extra and more than the simple way,” she said. “It really caught me off-guard.”
A promposal doesn’t have to be expensive, though, said Bruce Smith, a senior at Sand Creek High.
“Promposals are a great way to show someone how much they mean to you,” he said.
“It can be very inexpensive when you take the time to consider what’s important and special between two people and put thought behind your promposal.”
Some students seek permission to do promposals during assemblies, and Sand Creek High tries to accommodate those requests, said math teacher and Student Council Advisor Lauren Stuart.
Sometimes it’s a surprise in the middle of the assembly, she said. It goes along these lines: The recipient is suddenly asked to come down to the gym floor, the boyfriend or girlfriend appears with flowers and asks for a prom date, and everyone makes a lot of whooping noises.
Other times, students make posters with the question and hang them on the intended’s car in the parking lot.
Giving someone a pet with the question is a popular thing this year, Olivia said.
Stuart’s seen it all. During a passing period, someone is shuffled to a window, where friends are standing outside holding letters that say “Will you go to prom with me?”
“I’ve seen them get a pizza delivered and inside the box is a clever pun having to do with food,” she said. “Some kids leave something on the person’s doorstep that spells it out.”
While promposals are often expected, Bruce said it’s still not bad to go the old-fashioned route and just ask the person you’d like to go with.
“It kind of builds excitement for the event,” Stuart said, “which is good for us because someone who may not have thought of going and gets asked in a fun way may go.”
Contact the writer: 719-476-1656.