Forgive me for living in a cave for the last few years because I was unaware of an extremely sweet tradition that lives on in Swampscott, Marblehead and many other towns.
I am referring, for lack of an official name, to the "creative prom ask."
This is when a teenage boy finds a creative way to ask his date to the prom. In most cases, so many friends and siblings are involved, both male and female, that no one risks a big dose of creativity on someone who will say "no."
These asks are quite public. Usually enough other people need to be involved so that there is little privacy. Friends are needed for all sorts of things like getting the girl to a specific location for the ask or getting a locker combination to plant certain items and so on.
I don't really know how shy kids survive all this, but that is a different column.
I heard of one, where with an AP U.S. history teacher's cooperation, a boy asked his date to the prom by making it the last question on the test. Another did so by using an overhead projector in class.
One girl opened her locker to find a Jenga tower with a single pink piece. When she pulled it out, toppling the entire tower, the piece said, "prom?" The locker trick works well as another girl opened her locker to find balloons and confetti and of course, the question, pouring out.
Another girl suspected something when too many friends were waiting for her to finish taking a makeup test in math. Nearly let down when she was handed a yellow Post-it pad, it turned out to be a flip book animation, with the letters P-R-O-M dancing into alignment while a question mark dropped from above.
It's always handy to have your date's pet in on the act. One boy conspired with his date's sister to have the dog do the work of bringing in a rose and a note that said, "prom?" and another put a stone castle column in a fishbowl with the word "Prom?" written vertically.
Some of these are posted on Facebook garnering a huge number of "likes" from the social network.
An unsuspecting date might think it was just time for homework, but when her friend opened his desk, a sparkling display of beads decorated with roses and brownies spelled out the big question.
Food is supposed to be the way to a man's heart but it seems to work with women too. Several boys used candy, cakes with the question in frosted writing or homemade cookes to accomplish the ask.
Today, when so much communication is in the electronic form, it's refreshing to see teenagers using good old creativity and communication to ask a date to the prom. It's nice to see tradition alive and well.