Prom-pos-al (n.): The practice, some would say overdone, others would say ridiculous, of asking someone to the high school prom with an elaborate display involving a balloon bouquet at the least, and a bent-knee video on a Jumbotron screen following a limousine ride to a major league sporting event at the upper end. Especially popular with mothers of high school girls, who love to post promposal pictures on Facebook. Not a real word – but then again – neither was Google once upon a time.
Suffice to say this is not how it was done back in the olden days when I went to my one and only prom.
As my high school’s resident iconoclast, I resisted the siren call of the prom until the spring of my senior year. Then, overtaken by sentimentality – it was, after all, getting close to the last time I would haunt the hallways of dear old Lakeland High – I fell victim to the suggestion that my cherished (which was debatable) high school experience was somehow incomplete because I hadn’t wasted an evening standing around a decorated gym with my hands in the pockets of a rented tuxedo.
So I warmed to the idea of attending the prom. This left only one question: With whom? I had no steady girlfriend. I didn’t even have an unsteady one. And one simply did not go stag to such an esteemed event as Lakeland’s prom, the social event of the season.
I heard through the grapevine that one of my classmates wanted to go but didn’t have a date. She was a nice girl, one I liked, friendly and cheerful, and so one day after lunch I approached her and, summoning every bit of confidence I could muster, said – OK, blurted:
“I heard you wanted you know to go to the prom. Well you know I sort of wanted to go too you know, but I don’t have a date you know and you don’t have a date, so what do you think about you know us going ... you know not as a couple or anything ... but just you know as friends?”
To my unending surprise, and I am sure to her subsequent regret, she said sure.
And that was my so-called promposal. No balloons. No limo ride. No Jumbotron. Just a high school boy, out of his element, spewing a mouthful of word salad, and a patient girl answering in the affirmative.
Promposal. Frankly, this is a dumb word, even for a made-up one. It equates, in its way, asking someone to the prom with proposals of a much more serious nature. In fact, the way some of these Facebook-posting mothers have been acting, you’d think it WAS a proposal of a much more serious nature. Sheesh. Seems to me there will be plenty of time for that sort of behavior a few years down the line. Why are we in such a hurry?
Then again, I’m still the same iconoclast I was in high school – an iconoclast who went to the prom and found it a better time than he expected, although I can’t say the same for the girl who went with me. But I propose to tell that story another time.