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Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something lost

30 April 2010

Here is an interesting story about a high-school senior who asked out a video-blogger to his prom, via YouTube. 

Here is the young man’s video:

I admire this for its creativity, and gumption.  In a way too, it reminds me of the very old practice of serenading the damsel outside of her window. 

But this also leaves me with an uneasy feeling. 

Let me explain. 

Back in my bachelor days, I had a group of friends I hung out with every Friday night.  We’d usually rent a video and watch it on someone’s big-screen TV, and then head back home.  All of the single guys in my group of friends had a crush on this one girl (let’s call her, ‘Jenny’), and we all talked about wanting to ask her out.  The problem was, Jenny had very strict priorities at this time in her life, and guys who asked her out, often got turned down. 

On one of these Friday nights, Jenny slipped out early to go home.  I decided that if I wanted a date with Jenny, it was now or never.  I darted out the door and closed it behind me, and stood with Jenny on the concrete porch in my socks, both of us shivering in the night air. 

I remember that there was this look on her face like, ‘ What’s going on ?? ‘ 

I asked her if I could have a minute.  She said yes. 

Then I asked her to attend a symphony concert with me. 

She still had that look on her face. 

For what seemed like an eternity, she looked at me with those huge eyes, sporting that befuddled look. 

She asked me to confirm that I had asked her to a symphony concert. 

Which I then did. 

(At this point, I was quietly giving myself a 50/50 chance for success).

And then she said yes. 

We went out and had a good time.  That was our only date (I think?), and we remained friends for a long time afterwards  (eventually, I moved away).  Now I am happily married to another wonderful woman. 

But, in those rare instances when I think back on that moment, what stands out is the risking of what seemed everything, and then (though it would have been Jenny’s prerogative to decline) being rewarded for it.  It was a moment that helped shape me, even though it did not turn out to be the beginning of a courtship. 

That’s what I think is missing with the YouTube prom invitation.  There is not an awkward electric moment when both parties stand in the cold night air, scared half out of their wits.  To be sure, the video is floating around and their friends could razz both the girl and the boy if she declines, but the razzings would go away eventually.  It would have been after all, more like a failed business transaction than something that shapes the character of both the man and the woman. 

With regards to the video prom invitation, I am pleased that it brings back the serenade – clearly, we’ve gained back something from a bygone age. 

But.. we’re losing something, too. 

Meanwhile, I wish the best for the YouTube prom couple. 

– Elder

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