Please Stop Asking Celebrities to Go to Prom With You

Dina Marie/Getty Images
Couple going to their high school prom.

It was cute at first. Arguably even a novel idea. But like so many ideas that spring from the Internet, it's time we let this come to a close -- gracefully, quietly and without a struggle.

Let's make 2015 the year we say "no" to asking celebrities to prom.

There are a number of things that are strange and awkward about asking an adult you don't personally know to a high school dance. But the real problem isn't so much the invite -- it's the public nature of the request. Consider this: If you suddenly found yourself with Taylor Swift's personal email address, would you just shoot her a line and ask her to join you at prom? If you had Miley Cyrus' home address, would you write her a letter asking her to Spring Fling? No. (Well, maybe -- but you wouldn't expect it to work.) The entire point is to create an online campaign and get enough people involved so that the artist in question feels pressured to respond.

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Okay, "pressured" might be too harsh of a word, but having hundreds (or thousands) of other fans backing your request turns an invite into a campaign. You're hoping the groundswell will get so much attention that the artist will feel obligated to respond, lest they seem indifferent to the sacred artist-fan covenant.

It's a blown up version of asking for a follow or retweet from your favorite artist. But a retweet is easy. Prom is a whole different thing.

Aside from the awkwardness of a twentysomething artist (and their security contingent) joining a stranger for a night of dancing and being gawked at by hundreds of teenagers, there's also the time obligation -- and the fact that for the celebrity date, it's more of a job than a relaxing evening.

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Sure, Britney Spears going to one fan's prom in her entire lifetime isn't that much of an inconvenience. But if you say yes to one, you open the doors to hundreds of people insisting they're also your biggest fan and campaigning for a celebrity prom date. And clearly, they can't say yes to everyone, so then some people feel rejected, left wondering, "Why not me?"

Part of what's so strange about the whole trend is that no one ever campaigns for a celebrity to hit up a basketball game or a movie with them. That would be weird. Asking Justin Bieber to come over and watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix would be far too forward.

So who decided it's okay to ask strangers to prom simply because they're famous? You wouldn't pick a random person on Twitter and ask them to prom just because you two seem to like the same stuff. How did we collectively decide this made any sense?

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Even responding with "I can't go with you to your prom, but here's tickets to my upcoming show!" is asking for a time commitment. Maybe not much of one, but again, if everyone did it, musicians would spend endless hours of every prom season responding to fans and sending out tickets/consolation prizes.

But ultimately, what's most problematic about these public prom campaigns is not the burden it puts on the artist. After all, pop stars get paid a ton of money to do what they love -- stuff like this comes with the territory, for better or worse.

What's most irksome is the entitled, or perhaps simply oblivious, attitude that allows a person to ask the rest of the Internet to join them in a campaign to con a celebrity into attending prom with them.

If you really need validation from a famous person, please just ask for a retweet.


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