Prom? The answer is (hopefully) ‘yes,’ as promposals gain popularity

Nathan Mauser, 17, used Palisade High School’s “Golden Age of Hollywood” prom theme as inspiration for his promposal for Naline Stephens, 16. He created a Hollywood Walk of Fame to Naline’s front door using vinyl floor tiles, stars and red plastic tablecloths.

Nathan Mauser, 17, created this Hollywood Walk of Fame to ask his girlfriend, Naline Stephens, 16, to prom. A promposal is a creative and sometimes elaborate way of asking someone to a dance, and it has gained in popularity among teenagers in recent years.

Aaron Payne’s promposal involved picking up his potential date on a scooter and bringing her to his house where he had created a movie theater on the back porch. He slipped his invitation inside a box of candy where she found it while they watched “Hercules.”

Promposals aren’t just for prom. Brian Payne asked his date to the Fruita Monument High School homecoming dance using this “volleyball girl” because he and his date both enjoy playing volleyball.

Aaron Payne, a senior at Fruita Monument High School, asked his date to the homecoming dance using a Connect 4 game.

Not that Naline expected it. She didn’t, but that’s not to say she didn’t love it. She did.

Plus, Nathan is pretty busy with school and track, and isn’t taking art this year, so he doesn’t have a lot of creative outlets. It seemed like the right time to bust out the construction paper and vinyl floor tiles.

So, inspired by Palisade High School’s “Golden Age of Hollywood” prom theme, Nathan Mauser, 17, got creative asking his girlfriend of a year and a half, Naline Stephens, 16, to go to prom with him.

Several weeks in advance of the dance, held April 15 at Avalon Theatre, and with a little help from his mom, he cut vinyl floor tiles from Lowe’s to look like stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, laid them on red plastic tablecloths that doubled as a red carpet leading to Naline’s front door, and asked her to prom.

As far as promposals go, it was sweet and charming and got the desired answer: Yes!

And as far as promposals, wow, are they having a moment. They’ve been A Thing for years, but look no further than a Google Trends search for “promposal” and learn that in April 2017, the term scored 100. That means peak popularity for that search, according to Google analytics. For comparison, “promposal” scored 92 in April 2016 and 81 in April 2015.

(Also, fun fact, because Google Trends searches are a delight: Some of the most common searches associated with “promposal” are pun, marriage proposal, Harry Potter, doughnut, rhyme, scavenger hunt and “Star Wars.”)

In case it’s been a while since you were associated with the high school scene, a promposal is asking someone to a dance in a more elaborate way than shuffling up to them at their locker and mumbling some variation of “Wanna?”

In fact, thanks to social media, the pressure’s on just a little bit to think of something extra creative or elaborate. Promposals routinely go viral for at least 12 hours, thanks to YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat, and on several occasions have garnered the askers celebrity dates.

But ego and the desire for internet infamy aside, promposals can be creative and surprising and just, Nathan said, a fun thing to do.

Aaron Payne, a senior at Fruita Monument High School who will attend prom Saturday, asked his date by picking her up on a scooter and bringing her to his house, where he set up a movie theater on the back porch complete with twinkle lights and a white sheet for a screen.

He’d written his invitation to prom on a piece of paper that he slipped inside a box of candy, so while they watched “Hercules” she happened upon it.

And since promposals aren’t just reserved for prom, for Homecoming he asked his date via a Connect 4 game, since they enjoyed playing it together. (She answered via a chess board poster.)

His twin brother, Brian, asked his date to Homecoming with a “volleyball girl” — think a scarecrow with a volleyball head — because they both love playing volleyball.

Perhaps the only drawback, Nathan said, is that a clever promposal has become somewhat expected, or at least hoped for.

“Nowadays it’s really expected that you do something at least like a poster or some kind of a pun, just something really memorable,” he said. “I think it’s like the guy’s choice to do it, they don’t have to, and I’ve heard stories where a girl would rather be asked in normal ways. But some guys want to get a little creative with it, and it’s just the fact that you’re trying to do something special and make memories.”

Of course, where there is the potential to separate high school students from their money, businesses are quick to latch on.

Last year, Men’s Warehouse registered March 11 as National Promposal Day with the registrar of National Day Calendar ( and encouraged “Promposal artists” to document it all on social media, #NationalPromposalDay #MyUltimatePromposal @menswearhouse.

Most websites and magazines aimed toward teenagers offer ideas and suggestions for promposals, and already there are the rumblings of backlash.

But for now, it’s fun and clever and can be very, memorably silly. And though it’s a bit late to prompose for Fruita Monument’s prom Saturday or Grand Junction High School’s on April 29 (Central and Palisade high schools held their proms April 15), there’s always next year’s homecoming or winter formal to plan for. In that case, consider:

■ Make the promposal specific to the person you’re asking. What are their interests? What activities are they involved with at school? What do they like to eat or wear or do? A personalized promposal lets the potential date know you thought about him or her specifically, and not some generalized notion of “date.”

■ Don’t assume that spending more money on a promposal makes it better or more likely to be accepted. When it comes to promposals, the thought truly is what counts, so there’s no need to hire a skywriter or a white horse and suit of armor when a handmade poster would be just as charming.

■ A promposal that involves food is rarely a bad idea.

■ Obviously, the idea and execution should be mostly yours, but your parents might be happy and excited if you asked them for help or input. They’re probably not as lame as they seem, surprisingly.

■ If your promposal is happening in a public place, find out what’s legal, or at least allowed, in that area. That idea of altering a street sign and having your potential date drive by may seem charming, but it’s also illegal.

■ Don’t hesitate to consult with your intended’s friends. Is he or she the sort who would even want a promposal? There are few things more excruciating than an elaborate gesture that’s met with indifference or, worse, a cringe.


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