Will You Go to Prom with Me?

Leana Pustam, Perspectives Editor

With flowers in hand, Natalia Ayoub ('17) smiles at boyfriend Sean Tran ('17) after he asked her to prom at the Ballast Point Pier.
With flowers in hand, Natalia Ayoub (’17) smiles at boyfriend Sean Tran (’17) after he asked her to prom at the Ballast Point Pier. Photo Leana Pustam

Prom is a day away, and you know what that means: girls holding flowers and posters with puns should be dominating your Instagram feed right about now.

The first “promposal” usually happens in the middle of March and indicates the start of the season. But when did promposals become the standard means of getting a date?

Promposals were never a thing when my mom was in school. Every time I mention that one of my friends got asked to prom, she rants about “the simpler times” when boyfriends casually asked the girl to be their date. “It’s a waste of money,” she says. “Why do they have to go all out?” she says. “Why does he have to ask if they’re already dating?” she says.

Now, it’s nearly impossible to find a student who won’t ask someone to prom in a clever and extravagant way. This year, promposals have included playing the girl’s favorite song on the guitar, making the solution of a math problem spell out “prom” and taking her to a cow farm.

Joey Scionti (’17) asked his girlfriend of almost 2 months to go to prom with him by lining up candles around her pool at night.

“I feel like girls want to be asked to prom because it’s more of a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them, and they want to be able to experience getting asked in some sort of elaborate way to have the satisfaction,” Scionti said. “At some point it’s a competition between [the girls]… Some girls will see proposals and if their boyfriend does it better, they think that they’re treated better.”

The outdoor setup of Scionti's promposal under the moonlight.
The outdoor setup of Scionti’s promposal under the moonlight. Photo Samantha Verdisco
Joey Scionti ('17) and Laura Hill ('17) at his promposal.
Scionti (’17) and his girlfriend Laura Hill (’17) after she was surprised in her backyard. Photo Samantha Verdisco

A lot of girls wear their promposals as a badge of honor. Their Instagram posts of the day they were asked are filled with comments of praise.

“It’s more social [than private],” Scionti adds. “As soon as it happens, girls are always posting it, talking about it, telling their friends… it’s all about showing off what just happened to be able to say that happened to you or this is how you got asked.”

Angelica Young (’16)  was asked by her boyfriend Keldric Preston (’16) with a mall scavenger hunt.

“I was really excited and happy,” Young said. “It was perfect… It was really thought out and planned: he had a whole list of what to do and he really cared about it.”

Young believes that Preston’s effort reflected how much he cared about her, which is what most girls look for in a promposal, especially from their significant other.

If a promposal doesn’t stand out, guys (who aren’t dating the girl) fear that the girl won’t say yes. After all, it’s harder to say no to a room full of candles than to a simple text.

It was perfect… It was really thought out and planned”

— Angelica Young ('16) on boyfriend Keldric Preston's ('16) promposal

“It’s a little less stressful when you’re dating someone because you know that no matter what you do, they’re still gonna say yes,” Scionti said. “It’s more about proving yourself to that one person. But when you’re not dating somebody, it’s a little bit harder because you don’t know if they’re gonna say yes or no, so you kinda have to make it very impressive and a lot more intricate and elaborate to win over the girl.”

But is it fair to guilt her into saying yes? If she wants to go with you, it shouldn’t matter how big the promposal is. Wouldn’t you want her to go with you because she likes you, and not because she likes the way you asked her?

All in all, there are certainly variations in the purpose behind promposals. Whether they intend to show how much you care about someone, to impress someone, or to impress your friends, promposals are a unique aspect of our generation’s high school experience. However, it is important to remember that sometimes, you don’t have to flaunt your promposal on social media in order for it to be special.