Just in case I don’t feel geeky enough on a regular basis, I suppose I should tell the story of my prom night. I alluded to it in my post about being on my high school newspaper and writing a gossip column called, “The Ear.”
I never went to the prom as a sophomore or junior, because I was terrified. Even though I had a girlfriend, a big dress-up event like prom was so intimidating to me. I had no idea what it entailed or what I was supposed to do. When the girlfriend first mentioned it, (as sophomores) I was like, “Sorry, no freakin’ way.”
Remember, I was incredibly naïve and completely without “game.” Aside from being devoted, I was terrible boyfriend. I eventually told her I’d take her, if she really wanted to go. This came so late in the year, it was probably too late. Anyway, she appreciated the gesture, but said we could wait for the next year.
By the end of our junior year, I don’t think we were dating any more. (I’d have to look it up.) Regardless, we weren't in a good place, so we didn't do prom then either.
At the end of my senior year, I wanted to go to prom but I was still single and didn't have much in the way of “prospects,” so I didn't know what to do. I some solid friends in Rik, John, Brill and Billy G, most of whom were going, and it sounded like a good partying opportunity.
I seriously had no idea who to ask. I had a number of female friends I spoke with during classes, but no one with whom I was particularly close. One day, as I was walking between classes with one of them, the subject of prom came up and she said something like, “Who would take this old cow to prom.”
Oh man, what an opening! I pounced and said, “Hey, why don’t you go to prom with me?”
No dice. She stammered something about being in a “complicated” situation and turned me down.
It there was any consolation, my buddy Billy was in the same boat as me. He’d only been at the school for a year, so he didn't know that many people. I had the same problem, and I’d been there for three.
So, we came up with a plan… we’d each ask one of the sophomore girls that worked with us on the newspaper staff. My target was the girl who was my “Ear” counterpart. We’d been working together all year, she was cute, and I was getting desperate. It would be a big deal for a sophomore to go to the prom with a senior right?
Of course, right. She accepted, so Hot Damn, this boy was going to prom! Billy’s girl accepted too and Rik was bringing his girlfriend from out of town, who was even younger than my date. I don’t remember if John was planning on going with his girlfriend or not. I do know that it didn't matter, because at our senior picnic, John got tossed in the creek and cracked his head on a big rock, sending him to the hospital. That put him out of commission for a while. (The rock was fine.)
The biggest dilemma seemed to be what we were going to do after prom. I had absolutely no idea, and leaned on Rik to come up with something, since he was practically a lifer in our town. All he knew about was some vague notion about a party down by the river. (Yeah, I know, that sounded shady as hell.)
All during the lead-up to the prom, my date kept asking about the post-prom plans. I’m sure her parents were concerned about what some sketchy senior had in mind for their little girl.
I finally caught a break when a girl from my physics class, (coincidentally, the same one that shot me down as a date), said I should come to this other classmate’s party, in the ritzy section of our little town. I didn't know the host very well (technically, I didn't know her at all), but this was the de facto after-prom party for the National Honor Society and “upper-class” crowd, so I jumped at the chance to have a tangible plan. My date was most gratified to have something that “wasn't down-by-the-river” related to tell to her parents.
Now, before you get too wrapped up in expectations here, let me clarify something. While I liked the girl I was taking, we had no romantic history, so I wasn't expecting to make out with her or anything. In fact, it was like an overly fancy first date. I wouldn't have minded if it led to something, but I wasn't exactly in “hot pursuit.” We went out one other time after prom night, I think, as part of a double date.
And Billy, he had no designs on his date at all. He just wanted someone to walk in the door with. So it was no surprise that once we all got there, Rik and Bill disappeared out to someone’s car, to get their drink on. My date and Bill’s date were part of the sophomore prom committee, so they spent the evening running around and doing “prom stuff,” like circulating and collecting King and Queen ballots and whatnot. I barely saw her all night.
|Our theme was “Fantasy Island.” I’m not sure any teenager fantasizes about sweating through his suit-jacket in a hotel ballroom.|
I basically spent the evening with Rik’s date. She didn't know anyone there, so we talked most of the night. In fact, she was the first girl I ever danced with, you know, in public. She wanted to dance right away, but I wasn't a dancer at all, so I said I’d slow-dance with her, if they played a slow song.
Next thing you know, they played “Stairway to Heaven,” which fit the bill, so we slow-danced to that. It was nice. She was tall (as well as cute), so we fit together well. Anyway, I forgot about the part in “Stairway” when they speed it up at the end, so I then had to fumble my way through my first fast dance in public, as well.
Things loosened up after dinner. By then, I think everyone but me had been out to their car for a few belts. All I really remember after dinner was a bunch of us dancing and carrying on, and then Billy yelling for everyone to do “The Worm,” whereupon he threw himself down on the ground and began thrashing about. I think some people thought he was having a seizure. And it was even funnier because practically no one knew who the hell he was. His date wished she didn't either.
After surviving the event, we eventually landed at the after-party. Finally, I could get a beer. Unfortunately, my date did as well… in fact, she had many beers and ended up drunk and yammering for one of my classmates.
“Where’s Shhteve? Heesh the only one that undershtandshh meeee.”
I don’t think he even knew who she was. Meanwhile, Bill’s date and I tried to keep her out of trouble. I don’t know if Rik was there or not. I think he grabbed his date and took off for his house, for a little hot monkey love. I don’t remember Billy being at the party either. He might have been banned after his performance on the dance floor.
Bill’s date was staying at my date’s house for the night, so I took the both of them home at the appointed hour. (They had to be home by 11:00, I think.) Bill’s date was very appreciative that I looked out for them and got them home safely. As she helped my date into the house, I went back to the party.
It was a good night for me, not so much because it was prom, but it was a chance for my classmates to see me in a social setting, with a beer in my hand. To tell the truth, many of them were shocked. They’d never seen me party before, probably because I was new to it, and hadn't partied with anyone but my buddies. That summer, I found myself at more parties, wondering why I never got out in the previous years.
Prom night was also fortuitous because we didn't know Bill very well either. But after his “performance’ at the prom, (coming on the heels of his stunt at my first party,) we knew we needed to hang out with that guy a lot more.