Over at the New York Times, Amanda Hess has written an ode to the surprising sweetness of the “promposal”—the popular teen trend of asking someone to prom in an elaborate, often goofy, and always grand way. But hidden in the piece is something far more confusing to me, a bona fide adult, than the already confusing promposal practice.
Within the world of promposals is, as Hess puts it, “an emerging genre”: Teenagers ask other teenagers to prom by staging their own births.
“I NEED A DOCTOR,” one teen screams while pushing another teen—padded with a fake pregnancy belly—in a wheelchair down the hallway. A labor is performed in front of a crowd, resulting in a teen boy popping out from under a sheet, dressed only in a diaper. He then approaches the object of his prom desires and says, “I was born to go to the prom with you.”
Aw! Who the hell are these creative freaks? And why do I love them even though I shouldn’t?
Perhaps Hess has the answer:
A promposal sounds like a very bad thing. The word conjures the nightmare of an adolescent dress rehearsal for a marriage proposal — one of those disquieting, viral-baiting marriage proposals where (typically) guys arrange some dastardly stunt (simulated plane crash, surprise “Today” show appearance) in a bid to shock and awe their (typically) female targets into signing over their lives on the spot. But after clicking play, play, play on one YouTube promposal after another, I’ve found that most of them are, against all odds, oddly delightful. It’s as if the over-the-top proposal trend has finally found the appropriate, low-stakes outlet.
What I found, clicking through her recommended videos, is that she’s absolutely right—these promposals are oddly delightful. And this is the kind of thing I’m predisposed to hate. I mean, some of them—like this one—I do hate, but overall they’re pretty cute and fun and, yes, very sweet.
I take back everything mean I ever said about you, promposal. But your cousin, the celebrity promposal, can seriously rot in hell.