Senior James Tate was similarly clever, but his plan backfired when Shelton High School banned him from the prom earlier this year. He had posted letters on the side of his Connecticut school that read, "Sonali Rodrigues Will You Go To Prom With Me? HMU [Hit Me Up] – Tate." She said yes, but the school said he trespassed after hours. This morning the Connecticut Post reported 90 students held a sit-in and planned a rally to protest the school's decision.
Tate and Rodrigues, however, are undeterred. The two still plan to take prom pictures together and will attend an after party.
"I did it to make her feel special and I feel like I accomplished that," he told WABC.
Planning for a 'Yes'
Although the idea of videotaping a prom proposal seems potentially humiliating, most of the guys who asked already felt confident.
"I knew she was going to say yes, she was my girlfriend, I just wanted to do something special for her -- I just felt like she deserved something cool," said Taylor Hecocks, 17, who asked Monika McKenzie to the prom last month by singing 'The Girl' by City and Colour. It may be the most-viewed prom proposal ever posted on YouTube, with more than 1.2 million hits.
McKenzie, 16, who attends Calvary Christian Academy with Hecocks in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., said, "When we started to like each other people weren't sure it would last because I'm more shy and he's outgoing. He wanted to do something to prove to the whole school that this is legit and this is going to work."
Hecocks asked a crowd of people to surround him as he sat holding his guitar, wearing a powder blue tuxedo. When McKenzie approached him, the crowd parted. And there he was.
"It was really exciting, thoughtful and sweet of him. No guy's ever done that for me before," said McKenzie, who recently moved to the U.S. from Canada, where she attended a school that didn't have a prom.
"I wasn't sure what [prom] was, and all this happened," McKenzie said.
At home, McKenzie's parents were excited as well, and began sharing the news with their relatives.
"They both really like Taylor," said McKenzie, who has been dating Hecocks for five weeks now. "I don't know how any guy would top what he did."
Surveillance Society, Reality TV Spurs Video Prom Proposals
All of these stories are impressive, but if these guys are already certain she'll say yes, why go to all of that trouble?
Robert Thompson, a professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, said it's not surprising.
There was a time when such moments were discussed among close friends, or noted in a diary, kept under lock and key. But these students, Thompson said, have grown up in a confessional society. Perhaps, he mused, it's healthier that this generation has lightened up.
"We were a little squirrelly about some of that stuff," said Thompson, who attended high school in the 70s.
Jesse Drew, director of the Technocultural studies program at the University of California, Davis, said the prom-posal trend also derives from reality TV.
Prom proposals have "a dramatic element and people see those simple dramatic elements repeated over and over again on television as spectacle," he said. "We're in a really fame-based culture. Everyday actors in everyday life doing mundane things become superstars."
Thompson noted prom has always been a dress rehearsal for marriage: the rituals, the formality, the expenditures, and a specific request: the proposal. So as marriage proposals continue to become more and more elaborate, prom proposals will follow suit.
"For many people this is one of the most dramatic acts they will have performed in their life up until that point," he said. "To them this is a big deal."
As Quinn remarked in this week's episode of "Glee," "You can get married as many times as you want. You only get one shot at your junior prom."