As if February in Iowa wasn't already miserable enough with its agonizingly endless stretch of cold, blustery days, a new form of torture has emerged sealing Feb's fate as my least fave:
In case you've been living under a rock (or don't know any high school students), it is no longer enough just to ask someone to go to prom with you. These days you have to make a grand, over-the-top, extremely public statement – the grander, the more over-the-top, the public-er, the better.
I don't know why I dislike promposals so much. I do so loves me a bad pun, and the vast majority of promposals involve bad word play – “Don't be 'chicken,' 'shake' your booty with me at prom,” accompanied by a chicken sandwich and milkshake, for example. I have to admit I kinda liked that one, proving once again that the way to my heart is through my stomach and bad jokes.
But after hearing about it from Every. Single. One. of my students it lost some of its appeal. (Note to self: Never, ever tell students my pet peeves again.)
No, no, nononono. NO! No more promposal talk in my room!” I growled.
“But Mrs. Saaaal-ahhh-miiink, how did you ask someone to prom when you were in school?” my students asked, all innocence and guile, sensing a way to postpone the day's lesson.
“We would have walked up to someone in the hallway and said 'Hey, you wanna go to prom?' End of story.”
At least that's how I think it went down.
I wouldn't know.
Not that I'm bitter or anything.
I did get asked to prom by a junior boy when I was a freshman, although I don't actually remember him asking me. I think it happened a little more like this:
Boy's Mom (to my Mom): “I have determined that my son, who is extremely shy, needs a date for prom. Your daughter, who is also extremely shy, is tolerably good looking and does not have a police record that I know of. They should go together.”
My Mom: “Your son seems to be well behaved, reasonably attractive and is significantly taller than my daughter. I think this is a good idea.”
My Mom (to Me): “You are going to the prom with Boy. You can wear heels.”
As far as I know no livestock were exchanged, although I did get a nifty wrist corsage.
Boy and I did go to prom and we had as good a time as two casual acquaintances can have while sitting in a crepe paper streamer festooned high school gym listening to extremely loud music played by an extremely bad but cheap band and enjoying luke-warm punch and stale cookies. We spoke at least 20 words to each other, which was probably the extent of our conversations in high school (as we both really were extremely shy).
Today's promposals involve food, balloons, posters, burma-shave style signs, flowers, candy, body paint, gifts of jewelry, clothes and/or shoes. And they are made in front of as many witnesses as possible. Whether they are posted on Insta-Twit-Book, or they take place in the school cafeteria, at a basketball game or show choir contest, nothing says “I kinda like you and I think we should spend an exorbitant amount of money on a dress, shoes, tux, hair-styling, tanning, mani-pedi, limo, dinner and photos to attend a high school dance” quite like asking someone to prom in front of 200 or so of your closest strangers.
Not that I'm bitter.
I just wish the kids would put that much creativity and effort into their homework.
Which brings us to the rumor suggesting that many promposals are actually engineered by the students' mothers, and not the students themselves.
Proving once again that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Not that I'm bitter.