The Ask

Homecoming weekend is coming up, and that means there’s a dance on the horizon. J and his girlfriend will be going, but only after he executes “The Ask”.

Asking a date to attend a dance these days isn’t a matter of just, well, asking. It’s a big production which is only limited by the creativity and the resources of the person who is doing the asking. D once presented a friend with a huge, ten-pound chocolate bar which was covered with a homemade (and adorable) wrapper that said, “HOMECOMING?” He asked his prom date to the dance by arranging to be a guest on the high school morning news brief which went out to all of the classroom television sets. I’ve heard of all kinds of elaborate schemes, and my opinion on this new tradition wobbles back and forth between annoyance and acceptance.

The annoying thing about “the ask” is that I believe it paves the way for higher expectations with each subsequent ask. Also, I feel like the kids who aren’t as thoughtful and creative have one more thing to worry about when it comes to acceptance by their peers (Will she say yes? Will I even come up with a good enough idea? What will others think?).

That said, it’s better for me to accept it, I think. For the most part it is really a cute tradition. It’s harmless, it’s fun, and there are way worse things these kids could be doing.

That’s why I helped J blow up 72 balloons yesterday, so he could stuff his girlfriend’s car with them–and a pair of scissors–this morning before school. She’ll have to use the scissors to pop the balloons, because some of them have little, rolled-up pieces of paper in them containing various messages, one of them being “Will you go to Homecoming with me?”


We already know she’s going to say yes. Last week they discussed shopping for a tie for him that will match her dress, even before the balloons were inflated. I know, it doesn’t make sense to me, either.

Last night I said to him, “You know, back in the old days when we wanted to ask someone to a dance, we just…asked.”

“I know, Mom,” he said, “The times are changing.”

I guess I’m okay with that.


    • kim/reluctant renovator

      Right there with you! Shannon (below) has a good point about it being hard to turn down a boy who’s jumped through hoops (possibly literally!) for the ask. Then again, it sounds like there was little risk involved. hope they have a fun night.

  • Shannon

    Ahhh. I thought that this only happened at my daughter’s high school! I was a little taken aback when she told me about it, but I am moving towards acceptance as well.
    From a “mother of a teen girl” perspective, though, it adds a lot of pressure for a girl to say yes, even if she doesn’t really want to. I think it’s neat in your son’s case, when he knew the girl wanted to go with him, but my daughter has friends who felt a little trapped into saying yes by grand, public gestures from random boys, because they didn’t want the boys to be embarrassed.

    • Melisa

      YES. That is an excellent point and I forgot to address that, so thanks for bringing it up. I know in my case, if one of my boys was going to ask a girl he wasn’t already dating to a dance, I would definitely suggest that he do it in a low-key way, because it would definitely be less embarrassing if the girl didn’t want to go. (That said, they don’t always listen to their parents, do they? 🙂 )

  • Tara R.

    I don’t remember if my daughter and her friends went to elaborate extremes for prom/Homecoming proposals, but I think the balloons were a fun touch.

  • Trixie Wilkie ThrifTee Gear

    This is not yet happening at our local high school but I am aware of this phenomenon happening elsewhere. I’m sure it will begin here soon enough. I’m on the side of, it makes me uneasy. As we expect more and more of our teens, pressure to impress, pressure to say yes. It seems like “we” society in general is asking teens to do more more more. Asking a girl to the dance, which has always been a big deal, is now more like a marriage proposal. Pressure! I would hope boys would go to these efforts once they know the girl is going to say yes, then it would be a fun way to get excited about the dance, but we all know teenage boys and there are some courageous boys out there going for it, oh it makes me cringe.

  • Patty

    Wait they are dating and he still has to ask in a creative way. Interesting?!
    I don’t get it! I might be old school…if I have a boyfriend yep I got a date for the dance! lol 🙂

  • Michelle

    Yep. I’m more on the annoyed side, but I know this is a battle that I won’t even try to fight because it’s … nothing to do with me and essentially harmless. That said, I will try to teach Little Miss that just asking is fine and that bigger doesn’t mean it’s a better person. Wish me luck!