What Will They Think of Next?

I read an article in our local newspaper the other day that totally floored me. Did you know that teens are spending an average of nearly one thousand dollars these days on prom??

Yes, you heard that right. Prom. And more than three hundred of those dollars typically goes toward the “promposal.”

What’s that? Promposal? You’re making that up, right?

No, sadly I’m not.

Promposal is the actual asking for a date to prom. And now it’s being celebrated in all sorts of “memorable” ways, including hiring helicopters, singing, scavenger hunts, you-name-it. As long as it can be recorded on social media like Twitter and YouTube.

Because, why not, right??

It’s not enough that shy teenaged boys have to muster up courage to ask a girl to one of the biggest formal events of their young lives. Not enough they have to rent a tux, buy flowers, take someone out to dinner, make small talk, dance, and endure a dozen or more other uncomfortable things.

Now they have to do promposals, too.

And the splashier and more memorable, the better.

Back in the day — I’m talking about my son Domer’s day (nobody cares about when I was in high school!) — if you weren’t dating anybody steadily, you joined with your friends and went in groups to prom. You danced with the girls who’d gone to prom with their friends, you ate whatever snacks were available, you enjoyed joking and listening to music.

And you were glad when the whole shindig was over. And you could go back to worrying about final exams, college entrance applications, sports tournaments, and graduation.

Not any more. Now you’ve got a credit card debt setting you back a few hundred dollars.

Welcome to adulthood.

32 thoughts on “What Will They Think of Next?

  1. Glad my kids are past the prom time…now, on to weddings!
    Amazing how overboard some things get these days. It’s such a materialistic world. What happened to simple fun times?

    • Right, Suzi, and one can’t help but feel sorry for the kids who just can’t afford these extravaganzas! They’re bound to feel more isolated than ever when their friends are making such a to-do over a school dance!!

  2. Debbie, I couldn’t agree with you more. I only knew about this “promposal” thing because I have teenaged nieces who are attending the prom this year. I am blown away by all the expense but then again, I’m not surprised. It starts in elementary school with the extravagant birthday parties, i.e. hiring a limo to take a young tweens or maybe even younger and her giggly friends to a spa for the afternoon. They call it ‘Party Girls”. And I just heard of something for the older crowd–couples are getting “pregnancy pictures” during late stage pregnancy. When I was 8-9 months pregnant, that was the last thing I wanted! It’s life on stage, recaptured in cyberspace. I vote for the simple times and fun.

    • Absolutely, Kathy (and by the way, it’s nice to see you here every now and then!). I’ve heard of those tween parties — and even the youngest girls now are going for mani-pedis with their moms. Whatever happened to kids being kids?? Gee, i sound like an old fogy the sudden, ha!

    • Barb, I think a lot of them are so invested by how many “friends” and “likes” they round up that they’re completely out of touch with reality! They’re kids for such a short time — is there really any good reason to rush them into adulthood?

  3. Debbie, I have not heard of, Promposal, but it sounds very expensive. And exactly where do these kids get the money for all that stuff, Mom and Dad? This sounds more like preparation for a WEDDING.

    “Back in the day —…”

    OMG, you are so right. Back when I went to prom (1974 to be exact) it was only about renting a tux, buying a corsage for my date, and paying for dinner before we went to the prom party.

    And by the way, I had such a great time at my prom. I went with two other couples. My father even let me use his car that night. It was an Eldorado convertible. And because I lived in Florida at the time, we drove around with the top down. We thought we were SO cool – HA!

    Have a SUPER week, my friend!

    • You’re spot on, Ron — it is more like preparation for a wedding. I suppose a lot of these kids really enjoy the attention they get (and the jealousy of their peers) with stuff like this, but it’s hardly preparing them for the real world (unless you count the debt part, which they really don’t need preparation for!)

      Thanks for sharing your prom memories. Sounds like y’all had fun, especially riding around in a convertible! That’s still pretty cool, you know!

      Happy Monday, my friend!

  4. Crazy! We didn’t used to have proms over here in my day, though I think it’s becoming fashionable now. Instead we had awful school dances, where you were expected to do ballroom dancing interspersed with Scottish country dancing. I still bear the scars… both emotional and physical!

    • Forgive me for laughing, okay?!! Those dances sound pretty dreadful. And coming away with battle scars doesn’t sound much better!! As I recall, my son didn’t think prom was all it was cracked up to be, either — of course, by that time, he was looking ahead to college and only too glad to be leaving high school (I was the same way!!)

  5. I’m glad my kids are past all of that. The promposal was gaining popularity when they were in high school, but nothing so extravagant as you’ve described. It’s too much!

    • Maybe it’s particular to different regions of the country, Terri? It certainly wasn’t heard of in our town when Domer was in high school — thank goodness! You’re right — it’s way over the top!

  6. If it was a matter of creativity and imagination the idea of Promposal could be fun. But this idea that everything has to be viral is not only over the top expensive it gives the event way more attention than it deserves. Cole’s prom’s were similar to Domer’s. The expense was mainly around the girls dresses and in Cole’s case his suit. I think he asked his date with a coffee cup full of flowers he stole from a bush in front of the school. She said, yes….I’m told St ignatius in Chicago is on board with this new trend. Cole made a sign for one of his friends since his parents said no to sky-writing. . .

    • Glad you didn’t have to deal with the extravagance of promposals, either, Katybeth! I think the expense of tickets, clothing, and dinner is plenty; adding something like sky-writing is just too much, ha! I did see online, though, where kids on one tennis team had stuck tennis balls into a chain-link fence, spelling out their invitations to prom — and that’s kind of cute, don’t you agree?!

    • Bless your heart for confirming my suspicions, Audrey! It’s a school dance, for crying out loud — not a wedding! Yes, some of these kids eventually might end up married (though the large proportion probably won’t). Perhaps they’re the ones driving this??

    • I know, huh?! My son, too, was way more focused on getting a car, as well as on getting into the right college — for him. A school dance, even one of prom’s magnitude, just didn’t compare. If things are this crazy now, I feel truly sorry for kids who aren’t prom age yet — but hey, maybe they will turn the trend around and be a bit more sensible?? We can hope!!

  7. This is crazy! But I guess I’m not surprised. Look at the way wedding proposals have gotten out of hand. It’s all pomp and no circumstance. If people put as much effort into the marriage as they do the wedding, maybe so many marriages wouldn’t end in divorce. It’s all part of the culture. Everyone wants to feel like a celebrity and having a promprosal that is all over social media is their 15 minutes of fame. More like 15 seconds. Sigh.

    • Ah, such wisdom, Monica. Yes, it’s all stuff and nonsense. I wonder how many couples who are “so blown away” over these promposals even stay together until the end of the school year?? A school dance shouldn’t carry that much importance, in my opinion. And really, is 15 seconds of “fame” something to go into debt over? But then, perhaps it’s a sign of our times that parents are doing whatever it takes to pander to their kids’ egos?!!

    • *high five* Good for you, Professor!! According to Domer, you weren’t missing much. Except the food, which I understand was pretty good (though he’d have preferred not having to get all slicked up to eat it, ha!!) You are indeed a warrior, sir!!

  8. I did know that limousines have become de rigeuer, but I’ve never heard of a promposal. I have a word for that: stupid. I rarely throw the “stupid” word around, but it’s the only one that will do for this.

    I do suspect social media has something to do with this. Everyone is just sure that everyone they know is getting more of whatever it is than they are, and the level of competition ramps up. And, if one does it, everyone knows about it.

    Yes, I’m an curmudgeon on these things — or whatever the female version of the curmudgeon is! (And the parents get some blame for this, too. If Cupcake doesn’t have the most expensive dress and the best promposal, it reflects badly on them — or so they think.)

    • You are 100% right here, Linda (and if ‘curmudgeon’ describes you, then I guess I fall into the same camp!). Everyone seems to agree it’s social media driving this thing. Everyone wants their time in the spotlight. When you think on how much natural competition and one-up-man-ship high school creates in and of itself anyway, you can see the recipe for craziness.

      And yes, the parents can line up for their share of the blame. In many cases, they’re “in” on the secret proceedings and even do the filming! It’s the “my kid is better than your kid” mentality, and it’s not healthy. It’s also a reflection of our society’s values — that 10 seconds of “fame” and a slew of Facebook “likes” are more important than, oh, I don’t know, good grades, artistic talent, kindness and decency, etc.

  9. I used to teach high school English and was amazed by some of the promposals that took place, not to mention all the funds spent on dresses. Some of the students would go to three or four proms and the most well off girls got new dresses for each one. That floored me. The smarter girls would simply swap dresses when going to proms at other schools. I recently had a date with a guy in town from France on a prom night. He was very amused by the spectacle of it all since they don’t do prom in France.

    • Hi Jeri, and welcome to my little corner of the Internet! I can’t fathom the expense of going to that many proms! Here in my small town, that’s not really an option as we only have one high school. I guess they could go to other schools’ proms, but then they wouldn’t have to worry about wearing something different, ha! Not doing prom at all? Why, that sounds like the perfect solution! Thanks again for dropping by — now I’m off to check out your blog. See you soon!

    • Yes, but you’re still married, right?? Chances are, these kids won’t stick together for the long haul — and probably won’t even remember this “momentous” occasion three years from now, ha!! It’s not the amount of money spent, so much as the reason behind the spending. Impressing others isn’t a good enough reason for throwing money away, I think!

  10. Why does everything have to be so showy these days? It seems like so many moments are contrived so there is something to post to Facebook or “pin” or whatever people do these days. I think it’s kind of sad. I have to wonder how many other sweet moments are never cherished because so much energy is focused on the “big” moments. I think this is another sign I’m getting (or already am) old 🙂

    • Janna, if you’re getting “old,” so are the rest of us!! I know exactly what you mean. People seem so inclined to “preserve the moment” that they forget to enjoy it, forget that that’s what memories are. I know I’ve been guilty of something similar — taking photos of my son’s whatever to preserve in his Memory Book, to the extent that I wasn’t enjoying the whatever. Aargh, it’s crazy!!

  11. OMG you are kidding? This is over the top. Whatever happened to good ol’ fashioned fun! If prom is this extravagant then a wedding must cost a fortune.

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