The days when asking someone to the prom only required the courage to pick up the phone are gone for students at Magruder High School in Rockville.
An invitation to the prom -- or "promposal" -- needs to be attention-grabbing and unique.
Magruder senior Michael Pasti faked his own death to get the attention of his date-to-be.
Inspired by a similar marriage proposal he saw on YouTube, Pasti's friend pretended to hit him with a car, and the duo covered the scene with fake blood. When Pasti's date approached, worried that he had actually been hurt, Pasti turned around and, with flowers in hand, asked her to the prom on May 18. Though Pasti said his date was a bit "freaked out," she accepted the invite.
Fellow senior Eric Ortiz arranged for a friend to spill mustard on him during lunch, sparking a fake fight. Ortiz then ripped off his shirt, revealing "Prom?" and two boxes, for yes or no, written in Sharpie. His date checked "yes" with Ortiz's Sharpie.
"It wasn't really meant to be super romantic. It was more like meant to be remember-able," said Pasti of his promposal. "The girls really make a big deal about everything, and they want prom to be perfect."
Even many of the less-unique promposals are planned events. Senior Jonny Perl asked his girlfriend while singing onstage at a schoolwide event. One of Perl's friends set off fireworks when his girlfriend said yes to prom.
Golden Gate University consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow, who has researched prom behavior, attributed the popularity of the promposal in part to the rise of social media.
"It's a production," she said. "The better the promposal, the more Facebook likes you get."