Asking person to prom hard enough without extravagancies

Thanks to friends who have children in high school, I recently became aware of a new word — new to me, anyway: Promposal.

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 very 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 the Lakeland High School 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.