I’m pleased to say that romance is alive and well in the realm of teen-dom. And – when it comes to dances – it’s also a bit elaborate.
Gone are the days when a boy would just ask a girl “Will you go to prom with me?”
Now, things are WAY more complicated. Just to ask one another to prom (or homecoming or winter formal), there are now scavenger hunts, baked-goods deliveries, car-sponge-paint, balloon bouquets, or sky-writing.
(Okay, I’m kidding about the sky-writing, but I’m sure it’s not far behind.)
My son – alas – has fallen into this pressure.
He and his buddies loosen their collars with angst until they can think of a most-creative and most-romantic (and don’t forget original) way to ask their respective dates to prom or homecoming. The pressure is on about four weeks before the dance, and doesn’t let up until the asking has been done, because they’ll hear continuously what all the other boys have done, or will hear in the quad about what some clever boy at another school has done, or will hear from their girlfriends how so-and-so did this ultra-romantic thing. …
Ah, man, pressure. Truly.
Here are some of the “proposals” I’ve heard:
- The Fortune Cookie: Four fortune cookies are delivered to the girl in one of her classes, all wrapped up in cellophane as if from a local Chinese fast-food place. But – alas! – the fortune cookies are personalized! (That was Ricky’s – and trust me, typing up his own “fortunes,” getting them in the cookies, and re-gluing the cellophane was worthy of a marketing-campaign award.)
- The Scavenger Hunt: This can be done a number of creative ways, but my son’s girlfriend did a cute thing: She clipped 27 tiny koala bears (an inside joke between them) to various points in his room when he wasn’t there. Each bear had a number and a tiny slip of paper in his vest with a code letter. Once he lined them all up in numerical order, and laid the code letters out in the same order, he had to then break the code. They love word games and puzzles, so it was a perfect thing for them. Elaborate but cute.
- The “Collective” Carry: This can be done with a variety of objects, too, but high schoolers can do it by having their potential date collecting some object at each class, which they then have to carry around all day, and adding the request on the last object. Roses would be pretty. But my son (for extra hilarity) had his girlfriend collecting, and dragging around, cantaloupes one time for six classes. He had a ribbon with a pun on the last one: “Since we ‘cantaloupe,’ will you go to Homecoming with me?” Silly but cute. And of course everyone asked her all day why she was carrying around cantaloupes, which was part of the fun. Another “collective” — pinecones. A friend of my daughter’s filled her boyfriend’s locker with pinecones that all tumbled out when he opened it. We weren’t sure why the pinecones, but my daughter said it was funny when it happened.
- The Public Proposal: High school girls love to be asked to dances in a very public way, so other things that are always popular are writing on her car windows with sponge paint: “Prom??” Also hanging a banner across her locker, across the front of her house, held by her friends at lunch in the quad, etc. are all popular. One boy at my son’s school managed to ask his girlfriend to the dance over the morning announcements, since he knew the PR person who coordinated them.
- Baked Goods: Lots of cakes, brownies, giant cookies and cupcakes have spelled out a date’s intentions as well. The boys, especially, seem to love being asked this way! (The brownie in the photo above was baked by my daughter to ask her date to winter formal, which is girl-ask-boy.) (P.S. He said yes!)
So what do you think of this new trend?
I have to admit, I’m looking at this from the guy’s perspective (I’ll probably see it differently when my daughter is getting asked), but I do see it as a lot of pressure girls are putting on the boys. I think they just crave romance (what high school girl doesn’t?), but it’s a lot for the boys to keep topping themselves, and I wonder if the girls are going to be sadly disappointed when they go off to college and don’t find this same level of attention.
But who knows? Maybe it’s good for them to demand romance, and a little extra thought, and a little extra care if a boy wants to take them out.
What do you think?