816 North Opinion

The story of a promposal

I heard him laughing from the other room while I cooked dinner. “Ha! That’s a good one, I’ll put it on my board.”

Then again.

And again.

“What are you doing?” I peeked around the corner.

My teenage son was staring at a laptop screen building up a Pinterest board…of promposals.

A teen boy on Pinterest? Really? To be fair, he was on my account adding pins to a board I had started for him last spring. I was certain that session was the only one he had ever done without me saying, “Check-out Pinterest,” but he did.

That’s part of what I am going to remember about this, his last prom.

Promposals started several years ago. The earliest I found was back in 2011, but if it’s new to you: a promposal is an invitation to prom staged with the pomp and antics of a wedding proposal.

And they are a little controversial. The elaborate methods used to ask can leave a mess or an unwelcome distraction for others. Marriage proposal level stunts put pressure and added expense (in some cases hundreds of dollars) on a night, a dance, that has already been blown-out of proportion in teen myth and legend.

And what happens when she (or he) says no? A private humiliation is suddenly quite public. Or worse: what if she feels like she must say yes even if she doesn’t want to?

Unless you are a high-school student, your opinion on promposals doesn’t count much. Teenagers have been doing things that have had adults shaking their heads and muttering, “Back in my day...” since there has been high school. Doing things that their parents never could have imagined doing is one of the primary commandments of teenagedom.

One of the reasons promposals even became a big deal is that they were something parents never did. Think about it: how many times has your kid heard your stories from high school? About your prom?

How many times have you regaled them with the time you stayed out all night at play practice? The time that you tried to stuff the ballot box for the next year’s class officer elections and got caught, so you and your buddies were suspended for the last day of school and, while you did walk at graduation, you didn’t get your diplomas until a week after cleaning the boys’ locker room?

The promposals are their stories for their future and their kids that look nothing like your stories.

In 20 years when Luke and his girlfriend, Jenna, answer a security question — Who was your high school sweetheart? — their answers will be each other. They have been going together for 2 1/2 years — from mid-sophomore year through their senior year.

This isn’t their first prom; this isn’t their first promposal — but it’s their last.

The story they will have to tell in 20 years will go something like this:

Luke was at the bakery by 6 a.m. and at Jenna’s house a few hours later. Inside the bakery box was a note he had printed off and doughnuts with PROM spelled out in decorator icing. The note, complete with clip art, said “Roses are red, donuts are the bomb, make me one happy man and go with me to prom!”

He knocked on her door, she yelled at him to come in and when he opened the door she was sitting on the floor, wearing exercise gear and lifting a weight in one hand while holding a sign in the other.

“It would workout if we went to prom together.”

I hope their memories of their prom will be as nice as my memories of their prom.

I can’t wait to hear the story.

Susan Vollenweider, Luke and Jenna live in the Northland. For more from Susan visit www.thehistorychicks.com or www.susanvollenweider.com .

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