Prom has been a long-running tradition in high schools across the country (possibly across the globe also. I didn’t do my research). Going to prom almost serves as a rite of passage, being one of those final events of your high school career that you have to look forward to as you work your way through those four pivotal years. Prior to a few months ago, the simple task of going to prom – not necessarily with a date – was enough of a milestone to reach for most high school juniors and seniors (to those handful of fortunate sophomores who get the chance to go to prom, kudos to you). Nowadays, it seems as though going to prom isn’t good enough – the elaborate way of being asked to prom has become extremely important to these priority-less teenagers. But where did this sudden obsession come from, and why is it such a big deal?
I will admit, when the first one or two “promposals” made their way up to Facebook’s trending topics, I admired these students for their creativity and courage to ask their (potential) significant other to prom in such a creative way. As more and more of these started to surface onto my Facebook and Twitter feeds, my reactions went from “Oh wow how cool!” to a slightly less enthusiastic “Oh, that’s cute” and finally to an exasperated “Alright, I’m over this.” As the hundredth and hundred-and-first promposal viral video made their way onto my social media dashboard, I began questioning why promposals were suddenly becoming a thing. Do kids feel the need to one-up each other in the most menial of ways? Are they too excited to make elaborate marriage proposals, that they decided a promposal would be good practice? Are they that desperate to get laid on prom night nowadays? Or are they truly being sincere?
Though some of these may be some of the reasons behind the elaborate promposal, the true answer suddenly became clear to me, and was obvious the entire time. The reason why I’m seeing more and more of these promposals is that they are all going viral. The entire internet is all over these stories, some of which that have made their way to daytime television of the likes of Ellen Degeneres. With YouTube making its way to the forefront of mainstream media, being an internet sensation is becoming a common end goal for many of the younger generation, and it only takes one viral video to get there.
What was once an act of sincerity and creativity eventually turned into acts of desperation for fifteen minutes of fame. While the first few promposals did display some level of sincerity, this sincerity slowly dissipated with each promposal that followed. This is simply another classic example of teenagers having ulterior motives in order to get noticed by the public, be a trending topic on Twitter, and God willing, end up on the Ellen Degeneres show. Even if their promposal did work, and did get them noticed, what happens next? Sure, you have a date to prom, and you were noticed by the internet for a day. Then what?
What these prom goers need to understand is that the way they ask someone to prom, and whatever repercussions follow, will not dictate the actual experience of going to prom. Instead of getting involved with what used to be a nonexistent competition, focus more on how you will make that night special. Will you and your date coordinate outfits? What sick new dance moves will you practice night after night to impress your date? How will you make a good impression on your date’s parents? One viral video isn’t going to make your experience – it’s the way you live out the entire experience, and how you are present in that moment that matters, so make it count.