We’re in the midst of prom season right now, enticing young men (and some ladies) to ask the one they love (or really like) to go with them to the dance of the year. For most, a simple “Will you go with me?” will do. For others, it’s just assumed. And I think I’ve seen the movie trailer for “Prom” a zillion times, depicting every which way to ask a girl to prom – including one innovative teen hanging his bannered proposal on the overpass, only to have it taken away by a semi truck.
And then there’s James Tate from Connecticut that did something along the same lines – visited his school at 1am and taped cardboard letters on a school wall asking his favorite girl to go with him: “Sonali Rodrigues will you go to prom with me? HMU — Tate.” (HMU means hit me up, or contact me.) The idea was to have it be the first thing she’d see.
Seriously, what girl wouldn’t eat that up?
Sonali said yes. But the school said no. Those cardboard letters served as evidence that James trespassed on school property after hours, and he was suspended. And thanks to a rule that bars anyone who’s been suspended after April 1st from going to prom, his romantic gesture got him a one-way ticket away from prom.
“I feel like it would have been more appropriate to make me clean up the letters or spend a weekend there cleaning up trash outside the school, mopping the floors,” he said, adding, “just so I don’t miss my prom.”
This sucks on many counts. Prom is not just a dance, it’s a HUGE deal. For many, it’s planned out months in advance – from tux rentals, to dress, to limo and dinner… It’s the Red Carpet Hollywood night for teens, when everyone is dressed to the max and has spent admittedly too much money on one night. But it’s also a night that is remembered forever – because it’s that huge of a deal. While James Tate probably would have received a yes from Sonali if he just simply asked her to prom, he gave her a romantic prom proposal that she’ll carry with her for the rest of her life. Yet, as a result, the school quashed his creativity by enforcing bunk rules for something that caused no one any harm. He was not breaking and entering. He was not defacing school property.
He was asking a girl to prom.
But don’t cry for James just yet. His punishment has leaped from the pages of the school newspaper to being spread all over America via Facebook, Twitter, “Team Tate” t-shirts worn by those in support of James, and even an appearance via Skype on the Jimmy Kimmel show. And the rampant publicity of his severe punishment has enticed Connecticut politicians to attempt a change in school rules, allowing for community service to be performed in place of missing a school event should a student find themselves suspended after April 1st. Of course, it’s too late to change things for James. His ban still stands. But this episode has made the name of James Tate known everywhere.
And, as one tweeter happily pointed out, we now all know what HMU stands for. Thanks James!
And while we’re on the subject of prom, I have to include a video from a Rancho Cotate student who also used a bit of creativity to ask his date to prom. Spoiler alert: she says yes. But seriously, who would say no to a prom proposal like this?