Exploring the Phenomenom of Promposals

Senior Alisha Smith promposes to junior Isabela Santos.

Senior Alisha Smith promposes to junior Isabela Santos.

Sadaf Rafi and Anna Cox

When spring rolls around, people love to say that love blooms alongside the flowers. Students can look forward to the summer and graduation, field trips, Memorial Day break, and prom. Girls are looking at dresses as early as the fall, and they often spend hundreds of dollars on them. There is also the cost of the tickets, hair, makeup, shoes, corsages and boutonnieres,  tuxedos for the boys, and sometimes even a limo.  While the endless list of to-dos may appear to be more than enough for any teenager to an outsider, every year the pressure seems to increase on another aspect: promposals.

The focus on promposals appears to be a relatively new phenomenon; as recently as a few years ago, students seemed to ask their dates simply by asking “Hey, are we going to prom together?”, or at most, flowers and maybe chocolates and a sign. But every year the pressure seems to ramp up. Now, students ask in more creative ways. Simply receiving flowers and a sign may seem lackluster to those who get “promposed” to when there are other students who have an elaborate, surprising scheme set up to ask them. So how does this fad impact high school students? How is it positive or negative? And are promposals really that important?

It depends on who you ask. Junior Himani Bajaj likes it big: “I like big promposals just because I’m kind of dramatic and over the top. It’s exciting to see what people can come up with.”

Bajaj was promposed to by junior John Titicula.

“One of my friends who’s really good at art made signs that spelled out “prom” and it had the shape of dancers in each letter because I dance. The friend who asked me stood near our lunch table holding flowers while some of our other friends held up the signs. It was pretty cute,” Bajaj said.

Junior Awn Risvi, after being promposed to by junior Sarah Maung, agrees that big promposals are the way to go.

“My close friend, Sarah Maung, set up a whole superhero scene and made an amazing sign that said ‘Be My Hero Save Me From Going To Prom Alone,’” Risvi said. “Big promposals are my preference. I mean, if you’re going to make an effort, why not go all out for it?”

However, others don’t necessarily like the pressure. Senior Emily Jarvis spoke about how she is not a fan of the attention, but she acknowledged that others like a big deal, and that there is nothing wrong with that.

“For me, I don’t like a lot of attention and stuff,” said Jarvis. “If it was in the cafeteria or something and everyone was watching me, I’m not a fan of that. But I know some girls wouldn’t mind.  I think that’s nice, that’s fine. It’s okay to like it, but me personally, I don’t.”

Bajaj recognizes that the extreme pressure can be both a negative and a positive: “The pressure makes it difficult for many people to ask who they want to without second guessing their decision or feeling shy or nervous when it should actually excite [them] and make them feel confident.”

Risvi looks fondly on the pressure.

“I actually quite enjoy the pressure of making a good promposal. It’s one of those high school memories that will stick with you for the rest of your life,” Risvi said. “The drama behind promposals makes it that much more fun. It’s really amazing to see all the creative ways people prompose to one another.”

Jarvis spoke to how the pressure is subjective, dependent on the couple in question. She also added how for guys, it isn’t necessarily attention-seeking for them to do a big promposal, instead seeing them as flattering.

“It depends on the guy, but I think for the most part, I think it’s flattering and cute,” said Jarvis. “It’s always nice to see when a guy shows that he likes a girl or even just wants to take her to prom, so I think that’s a nice thing that they’ll put in the effort, and they’re not afraid to show everyone [that] ‘I want to go to prom with you!’ I think that’s cute.”

While Jarvis acknowledged the definite pressure on boys to make their promposal a big deal, she does not think it should be an expectation for girls to have of guys.

“I don’t think girls should [expect a boy to do a big promposal]. Because it happens so often, I wouldn’t be surprised if girls expected something, but if a guy doesn’t do a big thing, I don’t think that should have too much of an impact on how they view the guy or decide whether or not they want to take him on a date,” said Jarvis. “Even though it’s a nice thing, it’s cute, everyone loves them, it shouldn’t be required of guys. I think that’s unfair, because that’s where the pressure comes from, making it a requirement. I don’t think that’s how it should be.”

The pressure definitely appears to be on boys to prompose. According to Jarvis however, culture, particularly at Hightstown, is also very accepting of girls promposing.

“I think it’s becoming more and more equal, because society is changing with feminism and all that. It’s not weird anymore for a girl to ask a guy,” said Jarvis. “I think people still expect the guy to do it but if a girl promposes to a guy, it’s not weird at all, people don’t think anything of it.”

Whether you go all out for promposals or stick with something small, these uniquely high school experiences remain interesting whether you’re participating or just watching.