To Ask or Not to Ask? A look at the stigma surrounding asking people to prom, or promposals, and how the idea has changed

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By Maria Schense

A promposal: the nerves, the planning and the presentation. For years, students have been asking other students to the annual prom dance, in hopes of sharing the special night with someone.


First, they have to decide who they want to ask and overcome their nerves. Then, they have to put in the work to create a ‘promposal’ that no one has done or is planning to do. Finally, the last step–asking, and this step is make or break moment, depending on if they say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
Before any of this process occurs, the asker has to think to themselves: “Who should I ask?”
Some students argue for asking friends, while others say that only those in a relationship should ask.“I think it’s absolutely fine for friends to ask friends…you should go with whoever you know you’d have a fun time with,” said senior Sarah Howorth.

Prom groups can range anywhere from one couple to over forty people, and they continue to grow as the prom date gets closer and closer. “[I think that] friends should ask friends because it’s fun for everyone to have a date and so it’s not just the couples taking the pictures,” said junior Lindsey Bassett.
Another controversial topic is whether or not people should be allowed to ask freshman and sophomores. Those who argue against it say that the dance is made as a last hurrah for juniors and seniors, but those who want them to be allowed to go typically plan to ask underclassmen to the event.
Since the tradition of prom began, the stigma around asking people has always been there and it people argue whether or not the stigma as increased or decreased over the years. “My mom said you couldn’t go unless you had a date at her school because no one went without one,” said senior Erin Baroody.
With this in mind, the idea of going with a big group of friends has become very popular in the 21st century, as students do not need dates to attend prom, at least in Loudoun County. “Throughout the years some stereotypes have died down, now people just want to go with friends,” said junior Annabelle Amado.
With the changing times and empowerment trend of the 21st century, there is another change brought about: who asks the other to prom. Then, it was mostly guys who chose to ask the other to prom; while now, whoever wants to ask the other to prom is more than encouraged to do so.
Another aspect of comparison is prom to homecoming. There are many differences including greater costs in total for prom, as well as the mentioned increased stressor of asking someone to prom. Many choose to argue for homecoming because of its more “social and casual atmosphere,” said junior Luke Barbour.

However, with the increased effort put into prom and the more formal theme, students will argue for prom because it “is more exciting and a bigger deal compared to homecoming,” said Bassett.
Regardless of whether one chooses to attend prom in a big group or with a date, prom is known to be a ‘night to remember.’ “My favorite part is having fun, dancing and talking to friends,” said Barbour.