Yeah, well, it is getting worse.
Teresa Watanabe reports at LATimes.com about a high school senior named Alex Hom asking a freshman by the name of Brooke Drury to the winter formal dance. This is at South Pasadena High School in California. That city is often referred to as Mayberry, yet is home to a lot of Hollywood people (some famous actors have attended that public high school, including at least one Oscar winner I can think of.) So if it can happen there, it can happen anywhere, as evidenced by the rest of the article.
So he rounded up more than 20 friends, supplied them with red roses, choreographed a dance routine and wrote out his plea on signs. Then he had a friend bring Brooke, blindfolded, to a spot on campus for the big production.Ugh.
"I thought, this is my senior year and I gotta go out with a bang," Alex said.
He's not the only student elevating the art of the school dance invitation.
Students are folding the question into homemade fortune cookies, tucking it into pinatas, knitting it into scarves, spelling it out with pepperoni on pizza and orange chicken on fried rice.
There are animal-themed invitations, using live puppies and turtles as messengers.
Camille Santos, Van Nuys High's student body vice president, recalled one student who dressed up as a knight and got a friend to dress up as a dragon to "attack" his prospective date. Then he rode onto the scene on the back of another friend dressed as a steed, "slayed" the dragon and popped the question.TMW. Too much work. Especially for a high school dance. This is stuff you do for a wife. If a guy does this kind of thing and she doesn't react well, he could easily be accused of being a stalker or a sexual harasser.
"We live in a generation where flashy is good, bigger is better," said Camille, whose boyfriend placed his invitation to prom two years ago inside a rhinestone-studded fortune cookie box after dinner at a Chinese restaurant.
"We want to be seen. We want the world to know how romantic we are."
I won't even get into the potential problem of a 12th grader (who can often be 18 years old) taking a 9th grader (who can often be 13 years old) on a date. That's nothing new. Way back in the Dark Ages when I was in high school there were those girls who went to all of the formal dances starting in their freshman year, asked by seniors. But a senior asking them used to be impressive enough.
There's a line between being endearing and romantic and being narcissistic or beta.
Yeah, the kids in the article had some cute ideas.
But the larger issue I see with this trend towards more showy and elaborate schemes for not just marriage proposals but now high school dates is that it is a reaction to the flip side, which is the prevalence of casual and promiscuous sex. Today, guys can get sex from many girls for little or no effort and no strings attached. So the more hoops guys are made to jump through to go the traditional route, the more guys will go the other way instead. Aside from getting to see lots of hits for their online video, how many of these guys have more fun on the evening in question than the guy who just shows up at an after party, not having spent any time or money on the event at all?
Yes, men tend to value things for which we work, but if we perceive the escalating requirements are frivolous or simply about feeding egos, we may bow out. We'll work by saving up money, dating a woman to get to know her, and buying an expensive ring, but if we have to hire some Broadway director and choreographer to ask a question, something is very, very wrong.