As some of you may remember, I posted about my first prom a month ago. The second time, I was a junior, and I was allowed to go whether I had a date or not (upper classmen didn’t need older dates or notes to attend the prom). This was empowering. I didn’t HAVE to have a date, but on the other hand, it wasn’t going to stop me from trying.My friends from high school will concede that I was never one to stand idly by. No one would ever call me a wallflower. This doesn’t mean that I always did the asking, but by the same token, guys who liked me had to either trick me into dating them (this did happen a couple times) or figure out the best way to go about it. I wasn’t opposed to being asked to prom, but I wasn’t going to wait around either. Some might even say I was late to the game since one of my friends had had a date 5 months prior to prom (they weren’t dating if that’s what you were wondering).
My ex, CK, and I had broken up, and I knew that we were not going to get back together. (Despite what some of you might have thought from the NYC spring break story.) It was time to move on, and if I couldn’t do that, I at least needed to have fun. I deserved fun. I was not, however, intent on dating anyone new.
During the dress rehearsals (you go through the motions so you can see exactly how long it’s going to take and how it’ll look), the set changes took 10-15 minutes at a time due to the elaborate props and backgrounds. My friend, Joe, and I had developed a tradition of driving around in his truck (I LOVED that he had a blue, old Chevy) to go get snacks before or after practice. This had only been going on about a week.
Me: Ugh, this is taking FOREVER!
Joe: Want to go to the convenience store and get food?
Me: Do we have time for that?
Joe: It’s only a few blocks away. We’ll take my truck. These set changes take so long, they’ll never even know we’re gone.
Me: Weeeeell, okay.
We got massive amounts of candy and snacks. When we returned, Joe RAN inside, because he heard his name being called. I stood in the hall, which by the way was basically soundproof. I waited about 5 seconds, so they wouldn’t notice I was with Joe. I could say whatever I wanted.
I moseyed in, and immediately our drama teacher whipped around to face me. “Where have you been!?”
All eyes were on me. Joe’s were popped wide and he shook his head, which I interpreted as “give yourself up, he knows.”
“I was with Joe,” I said, cautiously.
The entire cast burst into laughter.
Our drama teacher narrowed his eyes. “Doing WHAT exactly?”
Now I was super confused. “Uh, Joe…do you want to tell them?”
Everyone laughed harder. “Never mind, let’s move on. But this must never happen again!”
“Yes, sir,” I said, meekly, walking onto the stage.
I found one of our fellow cast members doubled over in tears.
“Really? You had to say that?” Joe said.
“WHAT DID YOU SAY?” I demanded.
“I told him I was in the bath room,” Joe said. “And he said, ‘I’ve been calling your name for five minutes.’ And I said, ‘…yeah.’ ”
“Oh shit,” I said. “I THOUGHT YOU TOLD HIM WE WENT TO THE STORE!”
“NO!” Joe said.
Then I offered everyone candy for proof that Joe and I were not in the bathroom. We didn’t end up in there, but he did ask me out. He already had a date to prom but told me that it was cool if I got a date as long as we got to dance together. I was fine with this as I was on the fence whether I should be seeing Joe in the first place.
After each performance, tradition indicated that we had to go out for bad breakfast food in full make-up–the same place down the street from the school every time. I once asked why and was told that “it was tradition, and that’s what we do.” Since I was a freshman when I asked, I had no reason to doubt junior and senior girls. They were fantastic. Plus, drama kids are very superstitious (as a whole).
One night, a bunch of us were sitting in a massive booth, squeezed like sardines and looking like clowns from the circus (example: we had stage make up on so everyone’s cheeks were bright red, and everyone had eyeliner and mascara on). I was having a conversation with one of my friends, Nat, and he brought up prom. It just struck me that he would be a great date. I didn’t have a thing for Nat and vice versa, but we were friends. He wasn’t a threat to Joe in anyway, or me for that matter. Furthermore, he was going to graduate, so even if I messed this one up, I would only have to live it down for a few weeks.
“We should totally go together! It would be so much fun!” I yelled.Nat’s eyes went wide and scared, and I realized that I was too exuberant and loud than the occasion called for.
“Or not,” I added. Then I dropped the subject and conversation to awkwardly chat up a few other people, including Joe who told me how cute I looked in full make up (and yes, I did). I didn’t blame Nat, I’d have been scared, too. It was a weird time of year, because prom always cast a Twilight Zone-ish shadow over the school. The looming end of the school year also added to it, and people ended up dating people they might not have at the beginning of the year. Conversely, couples also broke up so they could date other people for the summer. Hence, prom always ended up being a mixed bag where you often observed a wide range of couples. I’ll make a playlist that describes this.
- “Jesse’s Girl”~Rick Springfield
I actually don’t think of this as a prom song, but it defines the genre of “I wanted to go with her, but she went with that other guy,” or “I didn’t know I liked her until she was going with him.” Or some sort of predicament like that. See also “Love Stinks” which is more of a group of guys or gals that just hang out in a flock and get annoyed with all the couples. They’re not couples though, so they didn’t make my list.
- “Is She Really Going out with Him?”~Joe Jackson
We always wondered if people started dating pre-prom or if prom was what “bwought dem togedder today.” This can also just describe two really mismatched people.
- “I Melt with You”~Modern English (not to be confused with Old English, the wood preserver, and what I originally typed as the band name)
Valley Girl is a terrible Nicholas Cage movie from the 80’s, but it always reminds me of prom, because it’s a prom queen and a nobody from the other side of the tracks. In high school, I thought it was “okay” and in college, I took all of my friends. Becca insisted she sit next to me, “because she couldn’t watch a bad movie and not make fun of it with me.” Still one of the sweetest things she’s ever said to me. And as far as Nic Cage movies go, there are way worse. This one is the so-bad-it’s-good variety. Mostly, it’s just bad.
- “Why Do Fools Fall in Love?”~Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers
The couples that always act waaaay too coupley at dances (or in general), and make the rest of us want to puke.
- “Let’s Stay Together”~Al Green
Jackie and Kelso from That 70’s Show fit this description. The on-again-off-again couples.
Nat came up to me at some point before the end of our musical and said, “Sorry that I kind of freaked when you suggested we go to prom together.”
“It’s cool,” I said, because in reality, I was getting used to guys freaking out when I said things. Either that or accidentally incriminating myself and the other person.
“You were right, but when you said it, it was totally out of the blue. I didn’t expect it. If you still want to go to prom together, I’d like to go with you.”
“Sure,” I agreed.
Then we went to a cast party for the musical. A bunch of us played Spin the Bottle (I was terrified to kiss anyone), and the bottle kept landing on me and Joe. Everyone teased us, and Joe went to take a fellow cast member home. I declined his offer to take me home. Eventually, I left the Spin the Bottle, since one girl decided to dominate by making out with three or four guys in the group. Plus, I got yelled at for just taking a picture of a circle with a bottle. No one was even kissing in the picture! But apparently, it was evidence no one wanted. While I was standing by the door, CK asked if I wanted to leave, and I did.
So my ex, CK, drove me home, and even though all we did was talk, I finally came to the conclusion I should not be dating Joe. I was not ready to be dating anyone. I needed to be alone for awhile. I broke up with Joe and was really glad we weren’t going to prom together. Because that would’ve been awkward.
Note: I almost included the ENTIRE script of what happened in the Spin the Bottle Game, but it ended up being longer than the prom story, so I just gave you the short version of why Joe and I broke up.Then we all started getting really psyched about prom! I was single, Nat’s dad sprung for a limo, and all my friends were going to dress up and dance. We all met up, took pictures, and went to dinner. We ate a tasty meal at this quirky restaurant, and then we headed out to prom. Did I mention we had a limo? I don’t care if you guys think prom OR limos are overrated, because in this story, part of the reason prom was so awesome was because we went in a limo. And because my date and I were totally cool with just being friends, and Nat wore these awesome sun glasses and kind of looked like someone from Men in Black. I can’t stress that enough. We rolled down the top and screamed, “WOOO!” as loudly as possible, until the limo driver yelled at us to sit down and told us no one was allowed to hang out of the roof again. Whoops, forgot there was a GROWN UP in the car!
“It’s just as well,” I sniffed, turning up my nose. “We would’ve ruined our hair!”
I don’t actually remember much about that prom. My friend Brennan stated two years ago that he was forever grateful for me, because I asked him to dance while his date was off dancing with someone else (this was before he and I were even friends! I’d met him only once before). I only remembered this when he reminded me. I do recall wearing 6 inch heels, because Nat is really tall and somehow managed not to fall down. Yet, I was still at least a good foot shorter.
We got annoyed, because no one threw an after party–or at least not one we were invited to. This was the entire conversation for the car ride home.
He was a perfect gentleman, and a cool guy. No one confessed their love for anyone else, no one died, or threw up either. And it wasn’t weird, which in itself was unusual for me.Things I Learned About Prom:
- Do not plan your date months and months ahead. You could regret it (or break up, etc.).
- Always ask someone single or abandoned by their date to dance with you. They will remember this years later even if you don’t.
- Make sure you and your date are on the same page in the romance department, and if you ask someone to go to a dance, don’t yell about it. Just ask them like a regular human being. Tone it down from 11.
- If you’re going to stand up in a moving limo, do so quietly so the driver doesn’t instruct you to sit down.
- Always go with a group of your closest friends (this can be true for any dance). Whether or not you and your date get along, you’ll have a supportive network to rock on beside you.
Stay tuned for part 3.
What about you guys? What was your prom like?