Promposals challenge teen boys 


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If I'm to believe the photos, I went to prom three times in high school.

As a sophomore, I went with a friend who was a senior. Junior year, a group of us girls went stag. And my senior year, I went with my boyfriend.

While these photos keep the memories of my dates intact, I don't remember a thing about being asked to prom.

Today things are different. Fueled by the ubiquity of social media, one does not simply ask a date to prom anymore. Today it's all about the "promposal," as the kids call it.

Once upon a time, if a boy asked a girl to prom with a bouquet of flowers, that was a big deal. Today, that wouldn't even elicit an "aww" from a gaggle of girls.

The ask requires planning. It begs for drama. Most of all, it demands a visual element that will carry over into social media. She said yes? That's nice. The video of you asking her got more than 2,000 retweets and 5,000 likes? That's what we're talking about.

Just ask Kamal. As a senior last year at Pine Creek High School, the wrestler (he's now training at the Olympic Training Center) enlisted the help of his entire PE class and about 10 friends in order to ask his date to prom.

The friends helped lure the girl to the gym, where she entered unknowingly into a wrestling match. As she approached Kamal, who had outreached arms and a bouquet in one hand, a whistle blew and instead of a hug, she was flipped onto the mat and pinned. The crowd cheered. She might have lost the match, but she won a date to prom.

The video was posted and shared by Twitter account Fill Werrell (a Will Ferrell parody account with about 10,000 followers) which declared it "the most savage promposal ever." That's how Kamal went viral.

Kamal is ready to help his "little brother" Tommy if needed (the boys are like brothers, Kamal lived with Tommy's family last year while finishing high school). His advice? "Don't hold back." That and, "It doesn't happen if you don't have the video."

Tommy is a junior at Pine Creek this year so this will be his first time going to prom. But he's no stranger to the ask, since these grand gestures aren't only happening in the spring. Promposals happen for homecoming too — though "homecomingposal" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Tommy knows who he wants to ask, and says he doesn't feel the pressure (prom is about a month away). He asked one date to homecoming with a poster made with macaroni and served her mac and cheese at his house. "I enjoy it," Tommy says. "I enjoy making posters."

As a junior last year at Coronado High School, Kyle used the internet for inspiration to ask his date. (Go ahead and Google "promposal"; you will see the many collections of both successes and failures.)

The girl he wanted to ask drove the biggest car on campus, a Suburban. He borrowed an idea to cover the car in Post-It notes, with PROM? spelled out in a different color. He spent about $40 on the large sticky notes he found to make the job slightly easier.

He asked to borrow her car keys. He skipped a few classes and got to work. He reparked her car so that she would see it as soon as she hit the parking lot. The wind that day made the task more complicated, he had to use tape to secure the Post-Its. In the end, it was all worth it when she said yes.

As the mother of girls, I think about the pressure on today's teenage boys (or teenage girls as the case may be). But the three I talked to seem to shrug it off. And Tommy's mom (and Kamal's mom-away-from-home) says her boys don't feel pressure, they just see it as a competition to see who comes up with the best idea.

Kyle agrees. He says there's pressure to make a scene, and that's what he set out to do.

Of course, not all ideas have to be big. Thoughtful works too. When my older daughter Maxine was a junior, she was asked to prom with her favorite meal: a bowl of Noodles macaroni and cheese topped with Sriracha. "PROM?" was spelled out in the spicy sauce. She said yes with her mouth full.

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