Promposals — Another way for people to “best” one another


Jordan Peiser and his date Chloe Katchis are a classic example of a typical promposal. The extravagant way to ask someone to prom has become a norm at Great Neck North. Claire Pan asks, "Is it all too much?"

Junior Event is only in two weeks.

Often referred to as “Jprom” by students, North High’s annual Junior Event is meant to be a formal evening that unites the junior class. It is comparable to a prom because students can pair off with their peers to go together as dates. But besides finding that perfect dress or working out to look fit in your photos, another important aspect of Junior Event remains. Promposals.

Promposals often receive mixed opinions from teachers and students, some believing that they are disruptive and unnecessary, others finding them cute and enjoyable. A promposal is when a student (usually the male) asks someone to be their date to the Junior Event. This process can involve a staged gathering of the female’s friends to trick her into being at the designated promposal location while the male hides to surprise her. When he reveals himself, he is often holding a poster up with a personalized message asking her to be his date.

Jordan Peiser and his date Chloe Katchis are a classic example of a typical promposal

While this basic idea seems harmless, promposals have become increasingly extravagant and over-the-top. Rather than a simple posterboard, some students have gone out of their way to choreograph dances or perform songs to their date as a form of asking them out. Others spend a significant amount of money on buying their date gifts or by paying people to help draw out their posters. It is this new generation of promposing that is beginning to create a potentially harmful culture around the Junior Event.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to make your date feel appreciated, but while planning out a flashy promposal, it’s easy to get lost in the original meaning behind asking someone out.

“While promposals are often very sweet and creative, students often spend too much time and energy trying to create a special moment,” junior class advisor Emily Rice said. “In an age of ‘likes’, ‘streaks’, and ‘tweets,’ I feel like students are more concerned about how their audience will respond to the promposal as opposed to what was hopefully their initial intention of making someone feel special.”

While some teachers like Ms. Rice are slightly concerned with this trend, others flat out disapprove of it.

“Promposals are a copout. Back in my day, you used to have to look a girl in the eye and ask them to prom. It was much more awkward,” science teacher Randy Appell said, “Now you do this elaborate, stupid thing that’s kind of meaningless…you do this whole thing where you ask through your friends to check and make sure the girl will say yes before asking them for real, and it’s very bad. You’re teaching bad life skills.”

Pictures and videos of promposals are often posted on Snapchat, allowing a wide variety of friends to view a supposedly intimate moment between two individuals

These teachers have a point. In the age of social media, it’s very easy to become obsessed with the materialistic aspects of a promposal, rather than wanting to have a meaningful moment with your date.

But students tend to be in favor of this tradition at North.

“If people want to prompose then why stop them?” sophomore Molly Sherry said. “They’re funny to watch so I enjoy them.”

For underclassmen like Sherry, seeing her older peers receive and create promposals set a bar of expectation for when their Junior Event comes around. This can turn out to be helpful or harmful.

On one hand, this standard can act as guideline or a source of inspiration for the younger students. However, the trend can also set unrealistic expectations that male students are forced to meet, which can leave them stressed about disappointing their date with a less than picture-perfect promposal.

Junior Victor Chen admitted that he was somewhat worried when putting his promposal together.

“I thought the process was necessary and expected of me,” Chen said. “It was tedious at times since I had to organize so many people together. It was actually pretty hard, but at the same time I wanted to do it. Overall the work was worth it when I saw the smile on her face.”

Victor Chen and his prom date Kelly Chau after a successful promposal

After being asked to Junior Event, Kelly Chau admitted that she had suspected she was being set up to be promposed to that day.

“Promposals can be predictable if people spoil it,” Chau said. “But everything usually turns out fine in the end. I didn’t expect a promposal to feel equal to my friends or anything like that. For me, promposals are just a way to have fun with your date and your friends.”

Although she gave an overall positive response, Chau brings up an important point.

With promposals becoming more common and expected, there is a possibility that students feel like they need to receive one to be just as good as their peers.

In some cases, the flashier and more extravagant a promposal is, the better your date is considered to be in the eyes of your friends.

On top of that, if you don’t ask someone out, or just don’t feel like dropping 100 dollars for a ticket, then promposals can accentuate one’s lack of a date.

“Promposals have become another way for people to ‘best’ one another,” Rice said. “There is an element of competition that is unnecessary.  If you want to ask a friend, a crush, or your significant other to attend an event with you, then just ask them.”