Teens and Elaborate Dance Proposals

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?

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9 thoughts on “Teens and Elaborate Dance Proposals

  1. I have to say I did and do wish our son would buck this trend and go back to the traditional way.
    I actually wrote much more here on my opinions if this whole thing but prudently decided to delete it all and just let my earlier statement stand on it’s own.

  2. I’m old fashioned…and old, I guess. Hehe… Way too much pressure for these young boys. I prefer the traditional way, too. Romance, extra thought and extra care is more than how one is asked to a dance…. Bah humbug 🙂

  3. I think it’s cute but so much pressure on the kids. I’ve seen it taped and put on facebook. I think it’s all part of this new youtube world and just too much.

  4. I feel bad for the guys having to try to be original. I know at my kids’ school, they do the same thing. A lot of the times the girls don’t even want to go with them but feel like they have to because of all the time and effort put into asking. It is pressure from both sides if they aren’t already in a relationship with each other. I agree with getting back to tradition – kids don’t need to try to “keep up with the Jones’ ” at that age! I do think the things that Ricky and his girlfriend did were cute though!

  5. All really interesting comments!!

    Chris — you’ll have to tell me your comments at least! 🙂

    M. — bah humbug, huh? But actually your comment kind of honed it in for me — I think what I don’t like about it is that it’s focusing on exactly the WRONG thing. How they ask to a dance (or a date) is not nearly as important as how they act on the date itself. It kind of encourages a “smoke and mirrors” thing, perhaps. Thanks for interesting comment.

    Kwana — Another interesting point, that it’s all part of the “youtube” world — very insightful. Because yes, it is a focus on the show of it all, isn’t it?

    Debi — Super good point about the girls feeling guilty and going with a boy just because of the effort. In fact, when I asked my son’s girlfriend why she thought so much energy was put into these things, that’s exactly what she said. (And I thought it was insightful!) She thought it increases the chances you’ll get a “yes” because the object of your affection will feel guilty otherwise. One of Ricky’s female friends went through this, in fact — a boy did this ELABORATE thing for her all across her locker, with roses inside, etc. — and she really didn’t want to go with him. She ended up saying no. She was slightly villainized for it, even though maybe she really just didn’t like this guy! Interesting …

  6. Oh good gracious! These dance proposals are more elaborate, time-consuming, and expensive than engagement proposals. I think that there is too much pressure on the guys – it’s a dance, not a wedding!

  7. I have to say I like the cantaloupe… very cute and very original… I would want to carry around 6 cantaloupes, but cute just the same !! 🙂

    I have been hearing about this “asking cutely” and then having to answer just as “cutely” for past few years and it strikes fear in me !!! Some I have heard were
    — balloons filling the bedroom with 1 having a piece of paper asking…
    — candy jars filled with candy & 1 had a clever note
    — stuffed animals with cute cards, etc.
    — the whole bedroom was wallpapered with newspaper… including the bed, dresser, closet doors… everything covered in newspaper… and one was specially printed with the headline “will you go to prom with me?” The girl answered with breakfast delivered with a newspaper saying “yes”
    — caution tape — I can’t remember this one, but I remember it was kind of gory… caution tape all over the bedroom and red paint written on mirrors .. some clever line about going to the dance…

    After all the work, the girl can’t answer right away either… they have to do it “cutely” and related to the asking… if possible… UGH !

    Too much pressure for these kids… Dean will have to start a trend in a few years… just ask the old fashioned way… and hopefully she will answer immediately.

  8. Pingback: Prom Success!

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