, Salem, MA

April 11, 2014

The year of the prom-posal

Students get creative with their invitations to the highlight of high school


---- — SALEM — Before entering the movie theater Tuesday night to see “Captain America,” Jason Quadros asked his girlfriend to step outside.

Since she was already inside Museum Place Mall and only a few feet from the theater entrance, Meghan Buckley gave him a puzzled look.

But she walked outside anyway and, following his instructions, spun around and looked up at the lighted marquee at CinemaSalem.

On the left side were the movies now playing: “Noah,” “Muppets 2,” “Captain America” and “The Last Days on Mars.”

On the other side was a message: “Meghan Will You Go To Prom With Me.”

She smiled her answer as he handed her white roses.

As prom-posals go — even with the missing question mark — this was an A-plus. It was certainly better than the Peabody High senior’s first attempt: a text message.

“I told him to try again,” said a smiling Buckley, 18, a student at North Shore Tech in Middleton.

What happened Tuesday night outside a theater in Salem is happening across the country. Prom-posals are all the rage.

They are fast replacing the nervous phone call, the fleeting conversation in a school hallway, the terse email or other tried, true and often lame methods of inviting a date to the prom.

“It’s kind of a new thing this year,” said Brenna Burke, senior class president at Salem High. “You saw them last year and the year before, but not as much.

“Even if people know they’re getting asked, it’s kind of a more formal way. ... It’s kind of like a wedding proposal, but instead, you’re just asking to go to the prom with them.”

Just this week at Salem High, a girl had a pizza delivered to a boy during lunch period. When he opened the cardboard box, “Prom?” was written out in black olives.

A girl with an interest in science found a similar invitation on her locker, but this time “Prom” was spelled — as best as possible — using elements from the Periodic Table.

At Beverly High, a girl was told there was a break-in to her car in the school parking lot. When she went to check, her boyfriend was waiting with chocolates and flowers.

Another Beverly student spelled out “Prom?” in blue plastic cups in a chain-link fence at the Monserrat train station.

During an assembly at North Shore Tech, a boy receiving an award from a prospective prom date pulled up his shirt to reveal “Prom?” scrawled on his chest.

Some prom-posals take teamwork.

Just the other day at Bertram Field, during a girls lacrosse game between Salem High and Swampscott High, a Swampscott boy got friends to help him hold a banner: “No. 5, Will You Go To The Prom With Me?”

The movie marquee invitation began when Quadros emailed CinemaSalem. Without hesitation, co-owner Paul Van Ness gave the OK.

“We’re going to do it, because we’re hopeless romantics, but it’s also sort of fun,” Van Ness wrote in an email.

For Buckley, the message on a marquee was a lot better than a text. In fact, it ranked right up there in the world — the apparently growing world — of prom-posals.

“This is the best one I’ve seen,” she said.

Tom Dalton can be reached at