Ask Jono: How Do I Ask Him to Prom? Should I?
So. I just got on to SparkNotes to get help for an assignment when suddenly, I saw an article (distraction) on the side! It happened to be your Ask Jono column. Three hours later of reading later, I now realize that I have a question that I am sure you can answer!
Today I witnessed four prom-posals (see what I did there?) and I'm getting concerned that I am running out of time to ask or be asked for this rite of passage. There is (get ready for the cliche) a boy. He's "cute," has big brown eyes, is into soccer, funny, etc. But here's the deal. He is a foreign exchange student and we have been friends since he came here. I have a pretty big crush on the guy, but I don't want to scare this friend away by asking him to prom. My confidence pants are hidden in some drawer in a basement far away from my home, and so it seems like a great risk to go and find them to only have my feelings hurt. How do I ask this German cutie to go with me without losing a friend right before he leaves? Should I ask this German cutie to go with me at all?
Also, he is a terrible(y adorable) dancer.
I'd love to reply with some German of my own, Sparkler, but I only know how to say two things; one is a quote from The Waste Land, and, given the source, it probably translates to "I am T. S. Eliot, and every puppy dies eventually," so I will not repeat it here. The other is "Ich heiße Jono," but I have the sneaking suspicion that you already know that I am Jono. Hopefully I will be more useful in advising you about your German boy.
On that topic, if you'd spent four hours reading Ask Jonos, you'd realize I'm gonna say of course you should ask him to go with you. Everyone should always ask everyone to go to everything. Unless you ask him in some profoundly unsettling way (e.g. while caressing a large knife), the worst that can happen is that you don't go with him, which is the position you were already in anyway. And for the record, even if you do miss prom, please realize it's not the end of the world. I went to two proms, and they were 1.) awkward and 2.) also awkward, which is probably due to the fact that I was the one at them, but still. Not going doesn't mean you're missing out on some indispensable, magical experience, and I'm pretty sure prom is only portrayed that way due to the lobbying of the all-powerful Prom Industry.
But hopefully that's a moot point, because you will ask Hans or Franz or whatever, and he will say Ja. I'm not going to come at you with a quantitative risk assessment, because I am an English major and don't even know what that is, but if I did, I'd use one to show you that you have more to gain than to lose. You're approaching this situation with a faulty assumption—that you might lose a friend—but that's not going to happen. If you were like "Jono, should I thrust myself on this boy and kiss the mouth part of his face?" then I'd be a little more hesitant, but there's no reason that asking him to prom even has to betray that you have a crush on him if you don't want it to, much less cost you a friend. Even if he doesn't reciprocate, no guy is ever going to be like "Prom?? With you?! Blehhh," and then barf so much that he can never be friends with you again. (You also said you'd rather not have your feelings hurt, and I hear you, but that's a risk of basically every interaction you'll ever have with people you like. And besides, it's less painful if you ask him very indirectly, which I am about to tell you to do.)
If you balk at the idea of actually asking him in the traditional way (the way with a question mark), then you don't have to. The risk of someone saying "no" can be scary. You could always rephrase your question as one to which it is grammatically impossible to say "no" ("How much of prom should we go to together?"), but it's probably more effective to just imply that you'd want to go with him and then adapt to his response. For example, you can just pointedly lament your datelessness to him—"Oh, groan, I wish I had someone to go to prom with!" (flutter eyelashes, play with hair)—and he might be savvy enough to take the cue and ask you, or he might just stand there nodding Germanically. If he does the latter, you can be like "Oh!" (snap fingers) "What if we went together! This is a new idea that I just had for the first time!" Of course, you don't have to be all artificial about it; you can tell him more directly that you'd like to go to him while still downplaying your crushiness and making it seem like more of a casual, friendly idea. (After all, you can make your feelings more obvious if you want to do so as the night goes on, but you can't make them less obvious if you lead off with "I love you let's go to prom. I love you.")
If it helps, I cannot possibly imagine mentally unfriending a girl just because she liked me and I didn't like her back, and I especially can't imagine doing so just because I suspected she might like me because she asked me to prom. I can easily imagine regretting that I didn't ask a person to a thing because of my faulty confidence pants. Just go float the suggestion to him like it's not even a big deal, and don't feel hurt if it doesn't work out, because it's not even a big deal, and if he says yes, then you can think about how it actually is in fact a big deal, because oh my God prom.