The Promposal

Aidan Sarazen Limousines. Tuxedos. Spray tans. Outrageously expensive dresses. Thousands of photos (and just about as many new profile pictures on Facebook). Clearly, Latin’s prom is a big deal to the community. However, even with all of the seemingly ridiculous expenses, it is actually promposals that cause the most controversy. Not long ago, free Latin prom tickets were given out to whoever had the most creative prom asking. Now, free prom tickets are given out through a raffle and prom proposals are under severe heat. While some Latin students still love the idea of big promposals, it is clear that the mentality around prom has changed. Some of Latin’s faculty have expressed disapproval of prom asking for two key reasons: those who aren’t asked to prom may feel left out, and male students asking female students to prom reinforces the role of males as the dominant figure in a relationship. To English teacher and junior dean Ms. McGlinn, prom askings, especially public ones, are an issue becuase they “can make people feel alienated and not part of the community.” If a lot of kids get asked to prom publicly, the ones who don’t can end up hurt because they will feel as though they have been left out. There is also a lot of pressure on students to be creative in their asking. In Latin’s competitive environment, some students often feel as though they need to one-up their peers in the way they ask their date. Junior Brennan Besser thinks “prom asking is so hyped up at Latin because it is the only event students are asked to.” Homecoming and Winter Ball have a much more relaxed feel in comparison to prom because there is no asking involved. Junior Pranav Nandan (it’s his first year at Latin) says that “the prom culture at Latin seems to be pretty intense, especially with the asking.” Pranav mentioned that at his old school in Philadelphia, prom asking wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as the actual dance. With Latin’s prom less than a month away, Pranav says that he feels the pressure of finding an original way to ask his date. Ms. McGlinn delved further into the pressure surrounding “promposals,” as she noted that at Latin it is “disproportionally males that have to ask females to prom.” At the same time as pressure mounts on students to have an original “promposal,” the stereotype of the dominant male is subconsciously reinforced. Although there seems to be a lot of problems with prom asking at Latin, a lot of students still love the idea. Junior Caroline Chu says that she “likes watching other people’s ‘promposals’ because they are usually creative and cute.” Another student informed me that prom would be boring if asking wasn’t such a big deal. Senior Tyler Goff thinks that prom asking isn’t really that alienating because almost all prom dates are prearranged. Tyler says that if you want to be publicly asked, “you can talk with your date about it, and if you don’t want to be publicly asked, then you can have that conversation too.” Prom asking in front of the entire school has already been banned. Public prom asking, whether at a sport event, in a class, or in the hallways, is facing strong disapproval from a number of Latin community members. While prom asking is a tradition at Latin, it is a tradition that could soon come an end. Only support from the community will allow Latin “promposals” to live on, and it’s up to the Latin student body to decide whether or not that support will be strong enough.]]>