Once upon a time, prom was one of the most anticipated nights of your senior high school year. Just who would do the asking and how the recipient would respond was a source of endless scrutiny, debate and anxiety.
Ah, the good old days.
Enter the Internet.
Now that critical ask comes with an audience that can register in the hundreds, thousands and beyond. “Promposals” — where teens ask one another to prom in heavily planned and choreographed videos that are then posted to social media channels — are raising both prom-night stakes as well as hopes of Internet fame.
“Hey Nico, it would be ‘Kay-sick’ if you would go to the prom with Julia.” That’s Ohio governor John Kasich gamely agreeing to participate in Los Altos senior Julia Khan’s high-profile promposal. Forget the fact that the governor intentionally mispronounced his own name in the process. Kahn published the video on her Twitter account and it was a definitive success: Nico said yes, the video was retweeted 134 times and it was liked by 349. Promposal accomplished.
It turns out that Kahn’s concept was downright simple compared to other promposals that involve everything from flash mobs to private planes flying over “Prom?” street art. And the upgrades don’t come cheap, with the execution of such over-the-top asks adding onto the already significant costs of clothes, corsages and more.
While expense is one concern, there’s also the issue of promposals becoming yet another yardstick by which teens measure their popularity and self worth. Looking for more likes online? Promposals offer a new kind of catnip for teens obsessed with the quest. And of course, not all responses are going to be positive when publicly broadcasting what was once a very private high-school moment. Khan discovered this the hard way when one of her Twitter followers responded: “I’m about to be KA-SICK to my stomach.”