In Her Day, Prom-Posals Would Have Been Uncool
The new fad has her reflecting on when 'inclusiveness was groovy.'
There is new word for a new fad among teenagers.
High school kids are elevating the tradition of the prom invitation to new heights. Literally and figuratively.
Some kids are hiring airplanes to fly banners in the sky to pop the question to their intended dates. This service goes for an all-inclusive fee of $600. Naturally, the cost does not include the price of the prom tickets.
Modeled after increasingly popular pumped up, public wedding proposals, prospective prom goers try to outdo each other with the most creative prom-posals. YouTube videos feature original prom asking songs. Prom invites are written in icing on cakes or in pepperoni on pizza.
One Tennessee boy knelt on bended knee before his girlfriend in front of the audience and cast of the school play they had taken part in. For the finale, he opened a ring box and delivered a ring along with his prom-posal. People gasped until they realized he was asking for a commitment of one night and not a lifetime.
There was no such thing as a prom-posal when I was in high school. As a matter of fact, there was no prom.
I became a teenager on the cusp of the Woodstock generation. One of my passionate afterschool activities involved marching in a town center peaceful demonstration to protest the Vietnam War. Our student government, in which I played a part, determined that proms constituted a symbol of the conventional status quo we were rebelling against.
In my senior year of high school, we outlawed the senior prom. We thumbed our noses at floor length ball gowns and rented tuxedos. We threw off the mantle of pantyhose, bras, and bow ties. We rejected the extravagant expense of a formal party we had no use for.
Instead, we put on our patched Levis and tie dyed T-shirts to attend a picnic in the park. We played Frisbee and listened to the Grateful Dead. We blew bubbles. We took off our sandals and ran barefoot in the grass. We behaved like the free spirits we believed ourselves to be. Ours was a Hippie Prom and everyone was invited.
This is how my boyfriend invited me to the senior class picnic as he walked me home from school. Him: "So we'll go together, right?" Me: "Yeah, right." A prom-posal would have been as out of step with the tone of our event as going to the hairdresser to have my hair fashioned in an updo to the tune of $75.
We had no sit down dinner, no after party, no all day prepping. No limousines. I knew friends in neighboring towns who attended formal proms. There was only one prom and it took place in the senior year of high school.
Keeping count of the number of formal dances our daughter has attended since beginning high school, my dad jokes that he wouldn't be surprised if little kids started going to the "Kindergarten Prom."
I'd be lying if I said I don't regret not attending a more traditional high school prom. There's no nostalgic photo of my younger self in a retro prom dress to show my daughter. I wouldn't mind remembering a day in my youth when someone staged a prom-posal for me that knocked my sandals off.
But there was something simpler about being a teenager in a time when competition was uncool and inclusiveness was groovy. We were happy to dance barefoot in the grass with the friends we would leave behind, while we blew bubbles into our future beyond high school.