Creative Invitations for Dates and Dances
The phenomenon of creative invitations is fairly geographically concentrated. Many from outside the Utah/Idaho/Arizona region have never even heard of the practice. Pockets of smaller locations also have a recently introduced tradition for creative dating, but in nearly all cases, those locations have a direct connection to Brigham Young University. Many new freshmen from out of state have been shocked by the ritualistic preparation for dates that goes on at BYU, but they are eventually sucked in.
Historically, creative invitations are also quite recent. The explosion of creative dating occurred in the 1970s at approximately the same time as the feminist movement was pushing for an equal rights amendment. Girl’s choice dances were added to the agenda at that time and with them brought an influx of creative invitations. Before that time, creative dates were somewhat common, but men just called women up and asked for their company. Several students have commented that the creative invitation was created so that women would feel more comfortable stepping into the man’s roll as the asker. Creative invitations allow for one to express an interest in going on a date with another without direct confrontation.
The amount of effort behind a creative invitation also provides some guarantee that the offer will be accepted. Unspoken rules protect the asker from rejection, as long as he or she can manage to ask first. Most areas that have a tradition of creative invitations utilize them for dances only, but at BYU invitations are occasionally used for regular dates as well.
Creative invitations fall into a few natural categories. These overlap quite a bit, but can still be separated. The largest category is Wordplay. This category is popular because it’s very easy to do, and in most likely to overlap into another category. The second largest group is that of Find My Name invitations. In those, the invitation is obvious, but the name is hidden or coded somehow. Often, this type of invitation is put in the form of a scavenger hunt. There are quite a few invitations that must be classified as Pranks. They are usually humiliating or at least very disconcerting. The last major category is those that don’t wait for a creative response. Check Yes or No invitations give the invitee a certain task to undertake to accept or reject the date. A more recent trend has been toward making the no option an impossible or at least improbably difficult task.
One of the interesting things about traditions of creativity is how often the so called ‘creative’ item is repeated over and over. Several clever wordplays show up in every single student project on the topic, and each one thinks it is an amazingly creative idea.