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It used to be you simply asked a girl to the prom and waited for the ecstasy of yes or the humiliation of no. But inflation has jacked up the cost of asking. I recently served a friend and his favorite girl dinner in the back of a U-Haul truck on a road overlooking Irvine at sunset. Total cost to get to yes: about $160. Another friend bought a Build-a-Bear and installed a voicebox that growled, "Will you go to the prom with me?" Yes, she growled. Cost: $75. Yet another guy buried his invitation beneath stuffed animals he had dumped into the back of his girlfriend's Tacoma long-bed. She said yes, too. I am a poor, 18-year-old male currently employed by Robinson's-May. But I'm thrifty (did you know the Weeklyruns these things for free? A family of Congolese will eat for one year on what I saved.) Strike a blow against consumerism: in political-science class, turn around and say you'll go with me.