I’m ordinarily not one to pooh-pooh how someone else celebrates a life milestone. Push presents? If that’s what makes you happy. Hiring a videographer to create an epic “we’re pregnant” announcement? Knock yourself out. But I have trouble with promposals — and not because I think they’re kind of dumb (although I do).
As the mom of boys, I worry we're setting the “will you go to a high school dance with me” bar unreasonably high.
If you haven’t heard of a promposal, it’s an elaborate way of asking your teenage dream to go to prom. Did your invitation to prom come in an awkward conversation outside history class or even as a hastily mumbled “willyougotopromwithme” on the phone?
Times have changed.
Today, you can’t just ask a girl to prom. Time, creativity, Pinterest and probably money are involved. Promposals range from the relatively simple (think “prom?” written in pepperoni atop a pizza) to the elaborate: giant-sized, light-up letters in the askee’s yard or P-R-O-M flashcards at a sporting event, making the whole shebang a group effort. Google “promposal ideas” and see for yourself. According to one estimate, today's promposal can cost as much as $300.
My two sons will turn 6 years old this year. Life is all about snuggles, dirt, fart jokes and graduating to “real LEGOs,” the kind that really, really hurt when you step on them barefoot. We are a long way from learner’s permits, shaving and asking a girl to a dance.
Or are we? In roughly 10 years, my boys will be someone’s potential prom date. All parents know time passes unfairly and disturbingly quickly.
I’d love to suspend time and keep them little a little longer, but I’m a realist. They’ll grow up. There may be a female who occupies the top spot in their hearts, and it won’t be me. There will likely be a dance and a girl and one of my kids may come to me and seek my advice on how to do the asking.
I really hope promposals aren’t a thing by then.
It's not because I’m bashing the way someone else chooses to do things, but because I think we’re setting standards that are just a little too lofty for teenagers going to a dance. The extravagances and excesses bother me on principle, because how are my 16-, 17- and 18-year-old sons going to pay for all of this hoo-hah, not to mention the actual cost of prom, which has graduated way beyond a dance in the gym decorated with crepe-paper streamers?
My sons will be nice, respectful young men; at least that’s what I’m hoping for. They’ll be raised knowing how to treat a girl and to know when no means no (the answer is always, by the way.) If their jamming to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is any indication, they will be spectacular dancers. One of them has already mastered a cheeky wink when he tells me I’m beautiful (yes, we’re going to have to keep an eye on him). They’re exceptionally handsome little dudes and yes, I realize I might be somewhat biased on that one.
All signs point to a dreamy prom date, right?
But will being a nice guy and a good dancer be enough? All signs are pointing to no. I’m not knocking promposals. If a guy wants to write “will you go to the prom with me” in chalk in a girl’s driveway or come up with a clever poem to get a girl to say yes, then I don’t mean to rain on his parade.
But as the mom of sons, this bugs me. What if a girl turns them down because their invitation didn’t have enough pizzazz? What if they turn to me to help them craft the perfect promposal and I fall short? What if they bust their asses on a creative promposal and get turned down? Asking someone out and getting rejection is hard enough, people.
As a boys' mom, I hope the promposal concept fizzles and dies by the time my kids get to high school. I hope their date-worthiness is based on whether or not someone would enjoy spending time with them, not the Pinterest level of the asking.
If the asker genuinely wants to go all out creating the perfect promposal, more power to him, but from my point of view, seeing these become the standard is disappointing.
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