SparkNotes Blog

How to Ask Someone to Homecoming, According to Shakespeare

Someone once asked me to homecoming by saying, “Dance? You and me? Maybe?” and I said, “Yep,” and for me that exchange was high school in a nutshell. I don’t know why this had to happen, but I’m thinking it’s because the poor guy just didn’t have this very post to guide him through the trials and triumphs of asking someone to homecoming WITHOUT concluding the whole awkward affair with an ungainly fist bump.

It’s too late for me, but for the rest of you, here is every situation you could ever hope to run into while asking someone to homecoming, courtesy of old Billy Shakes himself.

When you agree to go with someone, but only as friends:
“I do not seek to quench your love’s hot fire.”
The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act II, scene 7

When you ask, but they’re already going with someone else:
“Ay me! For aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth.”
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 1, Scene 1

When you just have zero interest in going with them:
“I do desire that we may be better strangers.”
As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2

When the person you’re asking is really into sad poets:
“By heaven, I do love: and it hath taught me to rhyme, and to be melancholy.”
Love’s Labours Lost, Act 4, Scene 3

When you put yourself out there with a really elaborate proposal, and they say no:
“You have put me into darkness.”
Twelfth Night, Act 5, Scene 1

When you invite them to a bonfire and use sparklers to spell out “Will you go to homecoming with me?” because it’s a cheap way to be romantic, but also:
“Love is a spirit all compact of fire.”
Venus and Adonis, line 145

When the person you’re asking is on the fence about it so you try to sweeten the deal:
“Here is a rural fellow
That will not be denied your highness presence:
He brings you figs.”
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 5, Scene 2

When the person asking you is a complete jerk who used to make fun of you in middle school, but you want the pleasure of turning them down so you agree to hear them out:
“I’ll entertain the offer’d fallacy.”
The Comedy of Errors, Act 2, Scene 2

When you actually get to turn them down:
“Thou art a boil, a plague sore, an embossed carbuncle in my corrupted blood.”
King Lear, Act 2, Scene 4

Having completely eviscerated them with that zinger, you deliver the final blow and walk off in a blaze of glory:
“Peace, ye fat guts!”
Henry IV, Part I, Act 1, Scene 2

When her dad thinks you used witchcraft to get her to agree to go with you:
“She lov’d me for the dangers I had pass’d,
And I lov’d her, that she did pity them.
This only is the witchcraft I have us’d.”
Othello, Act 1, Scene 3

When the person you want to ask is really into the arts, so you shower them with poetry that’s borderline Too Much:
“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”
Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2

When the guy says he loves you, but you’ve only been dating a week:
“I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.”
Much Ado About Nothing, Act 1, Scene 1

When someone asks you to be their date but you want to think about it:
“To be, or not to be—that is the question.”
Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1

When Caesar asks and you say no, not because you dislike Caesar but because you’re still hoping to go with Rome:
“Not that I lov’d Caesar less, but that I lov’d Rome more.”
Julius Caesar, Act 3, Scene 2

When you have a date but now you’ve gotta go buy tickets and shoes and a dress:
“And, if you love me, as I think you do,
Let’s kiss and part, for we have much to do.”
Titus Andronicus, Act 3, Scene 1

When you just decide to go for it because, in the immortal words of Goethe, the Roman poet Horace, and Drake… yolo:
“Let life be short: else shame will be too long.”
Henry V, Act 4, Scene 5