With winter break long gone, and the rhythm of second semester swinging into gear, the mood around a high school campus can tend to reflect the stormy El Niño weather. Fortunately, every cloud has its silver lining and there is always a school dance right on the horizon. Formal dances, as we all know, come with a surplus of creative, elaborate, sometimes hilariously ridiculous asks. It seems what used to only apply to the “prom-posal” has now affected every formal dance school has to offer.
The most common dance proposal goes a little something like this: the asker approaches the askee, holding a giant poster with some sort of pun off the askee’s name written on it. The asker presents the askee with the poster among various other extravagant items, in the middle of the senior circle. Everyone around them “awwwes” and the askee says yes. Maybe they even hug. Wasn’t that a cute moment? Perhaps, but there are a few things about the situation that people usually do not stop to consider.
The person being asked to the dance may love being in the spotlight. However, equally probable is the chance that the kid can’t take being the center of attention. They could be the kind of person who turns beet red and wants to melt when waiters sing them “Happy Birthday,” let alone being put on the spot in front of what feels like their entire school. The stress of being asked in front of their friends, the asker’s friends and sometimes even teachers could lead this kid to say yes when they would never do so otherwise. On top of the pressure, social media exposure can get asks an even larger online audience. The countless videos and pictures posted about each of the elaborate ordeals ensure that everyone involved is in the center of attention.
Witnessing these extravagant middle-of-the-quad ordeals can be just as intimidating. I’ve known people who have refrained from going to a dance altogether because they felt that they could never afford to, or build up the confidence to ask someone out in such a way.
These gestures may seem nice on camera, but so much emphasis and focus has been put on what used to be the simple act of asking someone to a dance, that it is no longer about any romantic gestures. Instead it’s all just about the show.
The point of a school dance should not be how you get asked out, or ask someone out. I would encourage people to just go have fun and enjoy their night instead. You’ve already shelled out a wad of cash for tickets and an outfit, don’t feel like you have to spend even more on the simple act of asking your date out.