The Danger of the Creative Homecoming Ask

HomecomingMomservation: I’ll double check the Urban Dictionary, but I’m pretty sure “No” still means “No.”

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It’s Homecoming season and I’ll tell you what: It sure is different than when I was in high school. (And saying that out loud officially makes me an old fogey. Saying “old fogey” double confirms it.)

So if you want a date to Homecoming these days there is no more nervously walking up to somebody in the halls and asking, “Will you go to Homecoming with me?”

No, it’s a big production now.

First, what I like to call “The Exploratory Committee” gets sent out to make sure the prospective date will be receptive to an invitation by the invitee (“I heard Cory Cutie is going to ask you to Homecoming!” An excited “OMG!” gives the green light. An “Ewww, no!” gets the thumbs down.)

Then, boys are expected to go over the top creatively to ask a girl to the dance—“HC?” spelled out in rose petals on a front lawn; giant posters with a clever play on words with a matching gift (i.e. a box of donuts and a sign saying “I hope you donut say no to going to Homecoming with me); a dozen roses waiting in lockers; scavenger hunts; or “HC?” spelled out in tea light candles on a driveway (this is what my son did with lots of female coaching and orchestrating). homecoming3

Of course, it’s all posted on social media—another way to make people feel inadequate, left out, unpopular, superior or uber popular. As the pictures roll into Instagram and Twitter the pressure mounts for guys to top each other and expectations rise for girls wanting to get asked.

Sure, it’s all cute and exciting, but honestly…I think the scales tip more toward making me feel bad for the shy kids, the kids without resources (mom to drive you all over, dad to pay for all the gear, friends to help orchestrate), the girls that don’t get asked, and the guys who would like to go to the dance but opt out because of the expectations and pressure.

I could overlook all this as the sign of the times and just what kids do now except for one thing:

Girls think they have to say “Yes” if asked to the dance this way.

When one of the freshmen girls told me about a girl who was disappointed with her date I said, “Then why didn’t she say ‘no’? Was she worried no one else would ask her?”

The young lady looked at me horrified and said, “You CAN’T say ‘no’ after all they did to ask you! You have to say ‘yes’!”

Now it was my turn to be horrified. What an awful message to send to young girls!

“Oh, no, no, no!” I told her. “You can ALWAYS say ‘no’ to anything that doesn’t make you feel comfortable. DO NOT believe that if someone does something nice for you that you are indebted to them—that you owe them.”

“But saying ‘no’ would be so rude!”

It was a palm to forehead moment. What a horrible precedent to start these high school girls off on their dating experiences!

Since it wasn’t my kid I didn’t say what I wanted to say:

“So if a guy takes you to the movies do you owe him a kiss? If a guy buys you a nice meal do you owe him a trip around “the bases”? If a guy tells you you owe him sex for all he’s done for you, are you going to say ‘yes’ because saying ‘no’ would be rude?”

Instead I gave her some suggestions for kindly turning down the new style Homecoming date ask:

Say, “I appreciate the gesture, but I’m sorry I can’t go.”homecoming2


“I appreciate your kindness, but I don’t really know you that well and would feel uncomfortable.”


“I appreciate your effort and generosity, but no thank you.”


“This is really thoughtful and sweet, but I already have a date.” (a white lie if you must)

You want to orchestrate a YouTube million views epic asking of someone to Homecoming? Whatever, I don’t get it just the way I don’t get obsessive selfie postings. You want to be asked in a way that would be fit for a teen romance movie starring Shailene Woodley? That’s fine, but I think you’re setting yourself up to be disappointed.

But just remember: She can always say no. You can always say no.

And maybe if girls did say no to such a public grand scale peer pressure proposal guys might go back to just asking in the halls between passing periods…



  1. Dad/Grandpa says:

    Tweedy (Kelli), if you are an ol’ fogey then I’m a fossil. Glad I grew up when I did when social interaction was just that – face to face. Too much technology and social protocol impeding good old fashion boy meets girl, boy talks to girl, girl likes what she sees progression. Buck up boys and be men. Girls if you want to be considered strong independent women – act the part.


  2. burnie says:

    I need some help. One of my best friends has a friend that likes her and she also likes him. He wants to ask her to homecoming and he dosent know how. I am helping him come up with ideas and he wants it to be BIG…. HUGE!!! He cant seem to find something he wants to do to ask her… Any suggestions???

    • kellimwheeler says:

      A friend just told me this one that I thought was great:
      Get a bunch of different slips of paper. On each one write one word to spell out WILL YOU GO TO HOMECOMING WITH ME?
      Then put each piece of paper inside separate balloons. Fill the balloons with helium to create a big ballon bouquet.
      When presented with the balloons the asker gives the recipient a pin to pop the balloons, recover the notes, put the pieces together for a fun way to be asked to Homecoming.

  3. Guitar Strummer says:

    I asked this cute girl to go to Homecoming to me today… Nothing spectacular just walking up to her and asking her to the dance… She turned me down and she doesn’t even want to be friends anymore help! ( we have been friends for over a year until now)

    • kellimwheeler says:

      Communication is always key, Guitar Strummer. I’d try to meet her at her locker (or somewhere casual) and say, “Sorry if I weirded you out with a Homecoming ask. I really don’t want it to ruin our friendship. Are we still cool?”

      Showing her you’ve retreated back to the Friend Zone (which at this point sounds like it’s the only game you’ve got with her), might make her feel more comfortable around you again.

      But this is only if you didn’t go around talking smack about her turning you down. If you did, then the frienship might be toast (or an appology is also in order).

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