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The takeover of promposals

Owen Pelkey, Writer

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With prom season passing, the BFA community was not immune to the popular trend of “promposals” that have continued to rise since the beginning of the century.

A promposal is a high school student’s way of elaborately asking another student to the prom, almost imitating a marriage proposal, hence the term “promposal”.

There was no shortage of BFA promposals this year, with some ranging from just the classic poster to students making public scenes for their own date.

But has the recent trend of promposals become too much of an expectation for high schoolers these days?

According to CNN, promposals add an unneeded pressure to all teenagers. Those who receive promposals risk the chance of being put in a position where they are put on the spot, and could be forced to accept in fear of being seen as stuck up or mean. Those who do promposals face the pressure of being creative enough to come up with a new idea, in hopes of getting a yes.

Polly Rico, an English teacher at BFA, is the adviser for the prom committee this year, and has had responsibility for organizing it. Rico seems to lean towards the idea that promposals are not significant to one’s prom experience.

“I can definitely appreciate the creativity that goes into promposals; however, I don’t like the fact that it has become an expectation. It’s almost like nobody’s taking the real joy in actually being asked or go to the prom, it’s now becoming more about the promposal than the actual act of going to prom,” Rico said.

With promposals happening more often every single year, many students are beginning to expect a promposal, even when it comes to couples who already know they’re going.

Teen Vogue interviewed a high school student at Libertyville High School in Illinois, and she told the magazine about how she still expected a promposal from her boyfriend, regardless of the fact that they have been dating for two and a half years and already agreed that they would be each other’s dates.

Promposals seemed to start innocently, with those finding a nice way to ask someone to the dance.  However, it doesn’t seem necessary to go through the expenses and pressure of doing a new promposal, especially when a couple has already agreed to going beforehand.

Francesca Richard (‘18) attended prom, as well as performed her own promposal to her boyfriend. Though she’s not a fan of public promposals, she does appreciate them in the privacy of the two involved, and when they aren’t posted on social media.

“I don’t know why [promposals are] a big trend. I think prom becomes a bigger deal… The cost of it is rising,” Richard said.

Many students complain about the overall cost, like tickets, formal wear, etc. Adding the cost of a promposal brings it over the top.

According to The Washington Post, a 2015 Visa study revealed that an average amount of $324 is spent on a promposal by prom-goers.

For teenagers, television shows and movies have built up how essential prom is to the high school experience. They’ve included the pressure to get the “right date” for prom, as well as finding an expensive way to travel to the dance. Adding on the pressure to find a unique, elaborate, and expensive way to ask someone to prom is more stress that teenagers don’t need.

As a teacher who is close to many of her students, Rico knows the effect that promposals have on students at BFA, especially for those students who don’t get or perform a promposal.  

“It’s like you don’t feel like you measure up. [It’s like] the analogy of the Valentine’s Day. Those who get flowers and those who don’t. So you’re kind of sucking [away] the idea that you’re going to prom with someone you either love or care for, in any way shape or form. It’s almost overshadowed by whether you got a super duper promposal or not. That to me just seems like, ‘What’s the real point?’” Rico said.

With social media becoming more powerful in students’ lives every day, it only seems to strengthen the movement that promposals are a must for prom. The weeks leading up to the dance include post upon post of couples showing off their cleverly written and planned promposals and it almost seems that every prom-goer is hoping to show off their own promposal.

Nowadays, whenever any student thinks of prom, the next thought is about a promposal, and it may overshadow the student’s experience at the dance. Without a promposal, a student could feel that their prom experience is incomplete.

Richard feels that public promposals are unnecessary, but instead intimate promposals are more meaningful. This year, Richard performed a promposal and adds that looking back, she doesn’t feel like having a promposal really affected her own prom experience.

“[My promposal] wasn’t as related to prom as I had originally planned for it be. It was more of just a fun thing,” Richard said.

Not exploiting a promposal seems to add an unexpected charm and nice addition to one’s prom experience. For the two going together, it could seem like a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae.

The New York Times adds that they find promposals charming, as promposals differ strongly from a marriage proposal. The outcome of a promposal differs from that of a marriage proposal; after the dance, it could very much be over. A promposal, they add, isn’t dependent on the couple staying together after the dance.

Going into a promposal with an open mind and light-hearted nature seems to be the key to truly doing one correctly.

Rico seems to agree that promposals shouldn’t be taken so seriously. The dance itself is more important, and students should make that the center of their experience again.

“Revel in the moment of prom itself, where you get to get dressed up in a way that you’ve probably never been dressed up before or very rarely. You’re sharing the night with your friends that you may not see again after your senior year. I would say make that more the moment opposed to the asking,” Rico said.

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