Of course not. To think of going on a date with a celebrity was to think of being the man who jammed an American flag into the surface of the moon: Sure, someone would get to do it, but that someone would not be you.
Today, we don’t have to imagine, because today you can be Jake Davidson, the high school senior who invited model Kate Upton to his prom with an elaborate video he posted online. As the film begins, he is reclining poolside with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in his hands. Kate Upton is on the magazine’s cover, wearing perhaps the least practical parka the Arctic has ever seen.
Like a good Los Angeles teen, the kid’s got an impressive pitch: “I’m Jewish, 5-foot-9 on a really good day, and I can’t dance. At all. You’re Christian, 5-foot-10, and that Cat Daddy video should’ve won an Oscar for best short film. You could say this is destiny.”
Jake promises the dance is a great opportunity for Kate, even though his curfew is an hour earlier than Cinderella’s. “It would mean the world to me if you came.”
That could have been the end of it. But Kate wrote back. Her tweet — which, along with Jake’s invitation, went viral on Wednesday — read, “You can call me Katie if you want! How could I turn down that video! I’ll check my schedule ;)”
A winky-face emoticon! A green-light on the nickname! He’s Seth Cohen, she’s Summer Roberts! Anything is possible!
Jake isn’t exactly a trailblazer. In 2011, Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis were invited to Marine Corps balls via YouTube; both accepted and attended. Depending on how generous your definition of “celebrity” is, you can add former “Laguna Beach” star Kristin Cavallari to the roundup. She was asked to a Marine Corps ball on Twitter and replied with a yes in less than 30 minutes.
Our attitude toward celebrities hasn’t always been so presumptuous. But social media has done a number on our relationships with the people we once worshipped from afar. We don’t feel distant anymore. We feel connected. We want to be — we are 100 percent sure if they only knew us we would be — the best friend of Jennifer Lawrence, the girlfriend of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the boyfriend of Emma Stone.
And why shouldn’t we feel that way? But for the grace of a million Jake Davidsons, what would become of the world’s Kate Uptons?
“There are more examples today of this shrinking distance between the celebrity and the fan,” said Nathan Jurgenson, social media theorist and contributing editor at the magazine the New Inquiry. “But for the most part I think this shrinking distance is overrated. . . . Twitter is a place where old-school celebrities can reinforce their distance from everyday people.”