Prom is a true rite of passage, a signifier of growing older and gaining independence and moving on to the next stage of your life. It's also, stereotypically, the No. 1 night when guys hope to get lucky.
Thanks to "American Pie" and a jillion other movies, this trope has been built up to mythical proportions (and leads to too much pressure for everyone -- seriously, just focus on having a good time with your friends). But there are plenty of other reasons why a dude goes to prom:
To prove his bravery
The old-school way to ask a girl to prom was simple, and well-known to every '90s teen sitcom character: 1) Worry about it, 2) worry some more, 3) finally work up the courage, 4) chicken out, 5) finally do it, 6) "Oh, Todd already asked you? No it's cool, I was joking honestly," 7) [cry forever]
Asking a girl to prom has never been easy, but now it's more anxiety-inducing than ever. These days, guys have to craft elaborate promposals with signs and tattoos and Vine videos and Snapchat and Periscope. It's complicated and terrifying, and you might be humiliated online, but if you succeed, it's a pretty awesome way to prove to a girl and everyone in school (and the entire internet) just how ballsy and creative you can be.
To feel like James Bond
Prom is usually the first time a guy will get to wear a tuxedo. You know who else wears a tuxedo? James Bond.
Everyone looks good in a tuxedo, and everyone feels like 007 at the baccarat table in Monaco once they lace up that bow tie. Pro tip: buy the tux instead of renting it, then make sure you don't gain a single pound in college so you can wear it to sorority formals and later your friends' weddings. (Or just wear it around your dorm to look like a super spy.)
To ride in a limo
It's just a slightly longer car -- why does it feel so damn awesome? Maybe it's that "Wall Street" fantasy of feeling like you can run the world from the backseat of a stretch. Rick Ross rides in limos, and he's a boss. Especially if you've got a pretty lady and all your bros with you, the ride to prom is probably a lot more fun than actual prom.
To show off his style
Yeah, we already mentioned the James Bond motivation, but not EVERY guy loves the traditional penguin suit. These days, individual style is more important than tradition, and guys who love fashion know that prom is the night to go all out. Bow tie swag is hardly restricted to a tuxedo. The cliche that girls are the ones who labor over picking a dress for prom is tired. Call it the Kanye Westification of prom.
To feel all eyes on him
Movie stars always complain about the red carpet and all the attention that comes with being a celebrity. Boo hoo. A million teenage boys would gladly take any of those A-listers' places.
Prom is the one venue for teen boys to walk through a door and feel all eyes on them -- no football uniform needed -- without the feeling of dread you get when you walk into the cafeteria and feel those eyes. They aren't staring at the spaghetti sauce on your shirt; they're just staring at your shirt -- full stop.
To get his 'Gram on
The whole point of prom is the pictures, right? It's all about getting those likes, and you rarely look better than pre-prom. You also rarely look worse than the morning after prom, but that's another story.
To act a fool in front of teachers
There is a magical moment in every man's life: It's the day you are back in your hometown at a local bar, years after graduation, and you run into one of your old teachers. Your stomach will drop for a second until you realize that, hey, they are powerless over you. You're a damn adult! Buy them a shot. Whatever, dude. No more detention.
Prom is the first seed of that experience. You'll still get in trouble for drinking, duh, but it's a time when the teacher-student dynamic begins to fray, and you realize that -- as much as your teachers are trying to pry you apart from your dance partner with a crowbar -- they are steadily losing their grip on the throne like Joffrey Baratheon. Every young guy needs to experience this moment. Crack some jokes, ask a teacher to dance and act a fool. It feels kinda great.
To hang with his boys
Prom is a last hurrah in a lot of ways. It's almost assuredly the last time you'll get to party with all of your best friends in one place. Sorry, but college and jobs and spouses and kids will probably get in the way of this ever happening again.
Sure, there's graduation right after prom, but your PARENTS will be there. Maybe even your GRANDPARENTS. So guys wanna joke around with their buddies one last time, without the old lady kisses and pictures of you in a goofy hat.
To finally admit how he feels
In fitting with that whole "last chance" theme, prom is a good time to declare your unrequited love for the person who you've secretly been into for the past four years. Buy the ticket, take the ride -- it's a true "nothing to lose" scenario. At the very least, it's hard to deny someone a dance if he's wearing a tuxedo.
Make sure to tune-in to MTV’s two-day 'Promposal Mania' extravaganza!