Leslie. . . it would be the bomb . . . if we could go to prom . . . together.
For the record, Leslie is my wife, and this is my openly public attempt at a promposal.
My twin high school seniors taught me about promposals, those cute, showy, and sometimes over-the-top ways of asking someone special to prom. This year they have been on both the giving and receiving end of creative prom invitations. And like most things prom, promposals now seem to be a ritual.
When I was in high school there were no promposals. There were no elaborate setups. There were no irresistible ploys to win over an unsuspecting date. There were no handmade cardboard signs with cute sayings publicly presented to cajole a hopeful yes.
There was no Prom? paint sprayed on water towers or etched in newly poured concrete sidewalks.
There was only a single question, asked in person, face to face, with the very real possibility that the answer would be “I already have a date” or “I have to go to the dentist that night” or “you mean, with you?” or some equally painful rendition of no.
When I was in high school I experienced a great deal of social anxiety. This started in my freshman year and ended never. Like a lot of kids my age, I never felt quite comfortable in my own skin. Or my pants which were always a little too short.
The black glasses and braces with rubber bands probably didn’t help either.
In the springtime of my senior year I did not have a girlfriend and the idea of prom scared me. The tuxedo, the corsage, the pre-prom parties, the post-prom parties, the photos taken by gushing parents, the transportation, the dinner.
There were a lot of expectations that went with prom. Like dancing. And talking.
And for me, prom seemed rife with opportunity for things to go horribly wrong. Like showing up with my fly down. Or spilling punch on my date’s dress. Or maybe being doused with pig blood and destroying the school with telekinetic powers all while wondering whether my date was actually having fun or whether she was just laughing at my orange ruffled shirt and sky blue tuxedo.
In retrospect, I was probably overly self-conscious.
It didn’t really matter. All the girls I knew well were already going to prom. All my guy friends were going to prom. And I was too afraid to ask someone.
So I never went to prom.
On the bright side, I never destroyed the school with telekinetic powers either.
Today I am a little more self confident and I am reasonably sure my wife will agree to go to prom with me. Assuming, of course, that she reads this. After all, once she agreed to marry me, and this is far less of a commitment with comparatively minor downside.
But going to prom at my age is not easy.
For starters, I have to be in high school.
I called up our school system to see if I could apply as a graduating senior. I didn’t really want to go all four years, and since I have a college degree, I didn’t think that academic qualifications would be an issue.
They told me I couldn’t go to high school twice.
I told them I didn’t want to go to high school twice, I only wanted to go for an additional day or two.
They told me I was too old to go to high school.
I told them that was age discrimination.
They told me I was being creepy.
I told them I just wanted to go to prom for once in my life and couldn’t they just this time make an acception.
They told me I would have to provide a transcript from my previous school and demonstrate that I was proficient in Algebra II, Spanish, biology, and the history of world civilizations. I also had to write a critical analysis of Ulysses by James Joyce.
I told them that was education discrimination.
They told me they were going to call the police.
Like I said, going to prom at my age is not easy.
So perhaps trying to reclaim a missed opportunity of my youth is not realistic. After all, I can’t just magically create a memory that never was.
And I have my kids to think about. How will they feel if I show up on their prom night wearing an orange ruffled shirt and sky blue tuxedo with their mother by my side? I don’t want to be responsible for destroying their own prom experience and risk unleashing some unknown telekinetic powers on their school.
I need to act my age.
Leslie . . . it would be great . . . if we could go on a date . . . while our kids are at prom.
Call it a dateposal.