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February 28, 2021

The over-the-top and expensive world of homecoming proposals

No one is sure exactly when the high school homecoming dance became fall prom, but many suspect it stems from Martha-Stewart-wannabe helicopter moms who wanted to micromanage and bedazzle every element of their children’s existence.

Their actions were bolstered by formal wear retailers who prayed to the gods of sequins for an extended sales season and had their petitions met by a demand for short flirty dresses and strappy heels that coincide with the year’s first frost.

Today, the homecoming dance has become an over-the-top, expensive and Instagram-driven fantasy for our teens.

The proposal

In most cases, the homecoming dance is usually a girl’s fantasy that begins with the perfect proposal.

Yes, a proposal.

Just like a wedding proposal, the homecoming ask is expected to be a memorable proclamation of a young man’s desire to spend the rest of his life three hours with a young lady. These proposals are often done in front of the girl’s friends or family because witnesses may be needed to live-stream the moment.

The proposals often involve gifts or extravagant displays such as:

    • Favorite foods or beauty products
    • Yard signs
    • Flash mobs
    • Choreography
    • Serenades
    • Squads of loudly cheering girls
    • Puppies and/or kittens

Check out a few of these examples:

The response

This can get awkward.

Despite a heartfelt or perfectly staged presentation, some boys are turned down in very public and humiliating ways. Often in front of the witnesses who are live-streaming the event.

Some girls feel obligated to go with a boy simply because he made the effort to ask or because other friends pressured her to go. They fretfully face an evening of “I really don’t want to be with him.”

Both are heartbreaking.

A positive response to a homecoming ask can be budget breaking.

Consider the financial costs associated with a three hour party. For girls, it can be a few hundred dollars on a dress, shoes and trip to the salon. For guys, a few hundred dollars on clothes that aren’t jeans and t-shirts, tickets, a nice dinner for two, and if he’s in Texas, a $200 ginormous faux chrysanthemum adorned with extravagant ribbons, stuffed animals and other craft store tchotchkes.

(The Texas mum had humble beginnings. It started out as a simple corsage girls wore to the homecoming game. However, over time, it morphed into a spectacle that can fracture spines and consume bank accounts.)

A simpler time

Many of us can remember when dating was not such a public or pricey spectacle.

Asks would often take place between classes with a quick utterance of “Hey, do you want to go to the dance with me?” If the answer was “yes”, cool. If the answer was “no”, the asker could retain their dignity and move on to someone else.

No one had to wear a tie.

No one had to buy an over-priced dress.

No one needed a flash mob and choreography.






2 Comments on The over-the-top and expensive world of homecoming proposals

  1. As the mom of a daughter, let’s not forget that the dress often comes before the date. It’s definitely gotten out of hand. Especially when 9/10, they just go “as friends”. Good luck, mama of the poor boy who has to turn to Pinterest for ideas.

    • I went through it with my daughter first, and it wasn’t bad. She had to pay half of her dress cost, which kept things very economical.

      But now that my son is in high school.. I’m the mama looking at Pinterest and crying, “I can’t do this crap. I won’t do this crap.” 🙂

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