Joco Opinion

Snarky in the Suburbs: When homecoming dates go viral, we need some old-school medicine

The Kansas City Star

There’s a social scourge plaguing our area high schools that calls for immediate eradication. I’m talking about the new(ish) ritual of asking a girl to homecoming. No longer can a boy walk up to a girl at lunch or after class and casually go, “Hey, do have a date for homecoming?”

No longer can the girl respond with a nonchalant, “No, not yet.”

No longer can the boy volley back, “So, like, maybe do you want to go together?”

(Excuse me while I get a bit misty-eyed because this almost sounds like my husband’s marriage proposal.)

The simple, low-key, “Do you want to go to homecoming?” question is no longer acceptable. A production has to made out of the “ask” — and the more elaborate the better.

A guy can go lower-tier and make a sign on a piece of poster board that has a cute saying, usually related to food, as in — “I do nut know what I’ll do if you don’t go to homecoming with me.” This sign, of course, must be accompanied by a dozen Krispy Kremes. (Don’t make the rookie mistake of getting Price Chopper doughnuts.)

The more impressive “ask” involves some sort of public male groveling. Like the sophomore who staked out the front of the school in police tape, did a chalk outline of his body, with a sign that read, “I can’t live without you for my homecoming date.”

Now, I know these two examples are just darling, right? And provided the girl with an Instagram opportunity where she can show off how she was asked to homecoming. But, I, as a mother to both a teenage girl and boy, I’m here to tell you this is all wrong.

In fact, I was so curious about how asking a girl out became an event so photo op worthy that you could make a coffee table book out of all the pictures that I did some research. It appears all of this started about 10 years ago with the “Promposal” and of course, in a surprise to no one, was fueled by the Internet. The better the promposal the more of a chance it might go viral.

And I’m going to have to point a finger at all the moms out there. This Broadway-esque production of securing a date would have not taken taken flight without their assistance.

No boy would ever be able to pull any of this off, let alone think of an idea, without his mom doing all the heavy lifting. Because is there any life form lazier and more clueless about the world at large than a 14-year-old male? Seriously, they’re still formulating fart jokes. To expect a freshman boy to come up with a cutesy, lovey-dovey homecoming date “ask” falls under the category of never going to happen. In fact, most of the “signs” I see on Instagram are, without a doubt, written by women that were drilled in the ways of cursive handwriting back in the 1970s.

The reasons I think this screwy way of asking a girl out is fraught with peril are multi-leveled. Primarily, it means fewer girls will get asked to homecoming or prom because most guys, when it comes to dating, are a combination of slackers and scaredy-cats. What man, never mind teenage boy, wants to risk doing a big la-di-da production and then get shot down? I mean, hello, that’s going to hurt. Who can blame them for staying home, eating Cheetos and playing Halo 3?

The long-term implication is that it impedes the teaching of a life lesson all girls should master sooner than later. Men, as a general rule, are not gifted romantics. Learn it and move on. Don’t be standing around waiting for Lance Romance to show up because you know what happens when you do that? Mr. Right just walks on by and you don’t even notice. Then you end up on “The Bachelor” looking for love and embarrassing your family by doing a topless hot tub make-out session.

I have been married for three decades and I can honestly say my husband, the best of men, has done something romantic maybe three times. And each time it scared me. I thought he was being all smoochy sweet because he had a head injury and was suffering massive brain trauma.

So parents, let’s join together and urge our teenagers to kick it old school. Boys just ask a girl out, and for you girls out there, isn’t it more important to go to the game and dance than wait it out for an Instagram-worthy ask?

Let me help you out here. The answer is yes.

Freelancer Sherry Kuehl of Leawood writes Snarky in the Suburbs in 913 each week. You can follow her on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and read her blog at She’s also written a book, “Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.”