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Ah, prom night. For some, it means having sex for the first time, and for others, it means a bucket of pig’s blood and some telekinetic tomfoolery. But for most, what makes prom night so special is having a glamorous night out with your high school sweetheart, dancing in formal wear and maybe sneaking a sip or two from a flask.

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But while scoring a prom date used to mean walking up to a boy or girl and saying, “um, so, yeah, I was thinking,” there’s a new pressure for the next generation of doctors, lawyers and YouTube celebrities. It’s called a “promposal” and it costs, on average, $395. Before the dress, the tux, the corsage and the limousine, teens across the globe are shelling out hundreds of dollars to ask someone to prom in a viral fashion, whether that includes a flash mob, a choreographed dance or something that’s not just walking up to some and saying yo wassup, let’s dance. Visa uncovered this value in a recent phone survey, but even the credit card company says it’s exorbitant.

So, yeah, prom has changed. But if you’re not recreating Enchantedgyrating on your potential date wearing gold lame shorts or forcing a young lady to listen to an acapella song, you can still find a date. And if you think prom is already expensive enough, here’s how to do a promposal for $0:

The Anatomy of a Free Promposal

  1. Practice “Will you go to prom with me?” in the mirror.
  2. Walk up to the person you want to go to prom with.
  3. Say, “Hey, _____, do you have a second to chat?”
  4. If he or she says yes, say, “Hey, I was wondering if you might wanna go to the prom?”
  5. If he or she says yes (we’re rooting for you), say “thank you” and “we’re going to have the best time!”
  6. Walk away with a happy jump in your step, and then spend some of your promposal-free savings on a smart outfit.
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