With fall officially back in season, every day Langley boys are performing elaborate proposals in an effort to secure a date to homecoming. “I just brought a sign and flowers after school. It was dark, she said no,” said Darius Ramsey, a Langley freshman. Homecoming traditionally refers to a return of the school’s alumni for a football game and celebration. It is celebrated at Langley with a highly anticipated home football game, followed the next day by a semi-formal dance. Today, the background about alumni is largely forgotten.
For years now, it has been common, though not required, for strapping young men to make some sort of show out of asking a girl they fancy to this dance. “He drove to my house with a poster taped to his car that read, ‘Mary, Let’s Kick Butt and Cruise to HoCo!’” said junior Mary Buttarazzi. Techniques used have ranged from simply showing up with a poster and bouquet, to coordinating with a small army of wingmen to put on a grand display of affection.
While being a bystander at a homecoming proposal can often be a pleasant distraction, or a stressful reminder of your own loneliness, depending on one’s perspective, teachers have their own opinions on these “teenage mating rituals.” “I have not witnessed any homecoming proposals this year. In previous years, they have occasionally interrupted class, but the student has always politely asked permission beforehand, so I have no problem with it,” said Ms. Steele, a US History teacher. Some teachers, like Ms. Steele, have been around long enough to observe any changes proposal tactics that could have happened over the years. “Homecoming is more casual than prom, so I haven’t really noticed a significant change beyond the usual poster and flowers,” said Ms. Steele.
Social media has played a role in the evolution of homecoming and prom proposals over the years, encouraging teens to ante up in creative ways. “I shared his proposal on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook,” said Mary. “I think people feel more pressure to have a ‘punny’ proposal.”
Outside of Langley, homecoming proposals work differently. At Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School, an all-girls school in DC, students coordinate with students at the all-boys schools in the area, like Gonzaga and St. Anselms. “You need to pair up with someone so you can get a ticket for the other school’s homecoming, which all your friends will be going to. Then a lot of the time you will end up returning the favor by getting them a ticket for your homecoming,” says Rachel Leonard, a junior at Visitation. “Of course, I have a friend who plays field hockey and has been dating the same guy for years, and he made a poster that said ‘I would fockey-ing love to go to HoCo with you.’” Overall, while proposals there don’t take place during school, they’re otherwise fairly similar, with the added caveat of having multiple homecomings.