Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Three Times a Lady

I was lying awake in bed last night (the reason involved the dog and her diarrhea all over my kitchen floor - I'll spare you the details but tell you just enough to make you feel for me. lol!).

Anyway, I was lying awake in bed last night and for some reason I started to think about my prom night.

I was a bit of a quiet, quiet geek in high school. It really was a miracle I even went to prom honestly.

And what's funny is that I don't really remember much of high school at all. I don't know if I forgot it, or if I just kept my head down and my mouth shut enough that I just really didn't do much memory making, or if I really am just a bit of a space cadet.

It's probably a bit of all three.

I really was quite clueless in high school *cough, my whole life, cough* and in all honesty muddled my way through. I never dated, I only had a few friends, and aside from choir and drama I wasn't involved in much. When prom time came around, of course I wanted to go, and of course I had my ideas of who I wanted to go with, but there was no way I was going to ask anyone and it was certain that no one was going to ask me.

One of my good friends at the time, Paula, had heard one day that our class president (very popular and quite handsome) was suddenly single and without a date. I knew him; I guess I would have called him a "friend" though we really didn't speak much beyond the few classes we had together and we never hung out. Not that I ever hung out with anyone beyond my immediate circle of friends anyway.

I don't know how she did it, what strings she pulled, what favors she promised, but before I knew it she told me I had a prom date (we were going "as friends"). He never officially asked me, (at least not that I remember) so it really was a stupid thing for me to trust what she said and think that he and I would actually attend prom together.

Paula and I went with my mom to shop for dresses. I hated every minute of it. We couldn't afford much, so finding something that actually fit AND that was actually long enough was quite the challenge. I ended up with a little blue number, mainly just because it fit - not because I particularly liked it. Typical for the time (1992) it had slightly puffy sleeves and sequins from top to bottom. It wasn't really my style, but never having shopped for formal dresses before, I really didn't know what to look for or even where to go. Paula also took me to have my shoes dyed and pick out a matching purse. A week or so later when I picked up the shoes, I realized that the store had accidentally put a purse in the box with them. The purse had been dyed to match someone else's blue shoes, and apparently they slipped it into the wrong box. It was slightly off color from my shoes, and being dumb and young I let Paula convince me to keep the purse, but also to go back to the store and see if they would correct the color "mistake". Well, of course when we went in there and they saw the purse (which they were obviously missing) they accused us of stealing it and wouldn't give it back. Paula tried to argue while I looked on wide eyed and terrified, and after a couple of failed arguments we bolted out of the store.

[You know I have never told anyone the purse story. Though probably minor in some people's eyes, I have been mortified over that moment for all these years.]

Eventually Mark (the date) did call, and we set up a time to go shopping together for matching prom day clothes. Apparently it was tradition to wear matching shirts the day of prom. I didn't have any money to spend; I really don't know why I went anyway because I didn't expect him to pay for all that, but we went to the mall and he picked out a simple green gap T-shirt and a white hooded shirt to go over it. It was a good choice, and he paid for the shirts without any discussion. I remember being so surprised, and then feeling stupid for not knowing how these things should go.

He was all excited about the car he had rented for the night and kept telling me it was a surprise. I had actually expected a limo, but he wanted to be able to drive us around town that night himself. He was so excited about that car; I honestly don't remember what it was now - some sort of sedan, but I wasn't too terribly impressed (sorry Mark). The night was kind of drizzly, and I do remember driving down a back road and running over the millions of frogs that were scattered about the road in the mist. I can still hear them thumping against the tires. (funny the things I do remember) We went to dinner with another couple (who was that?) and I couldn't eat because I was so nervous. I felt bad for ordering food that I could barely eat (it was fettuccine Alfredo at PapaMia's), but he didn't miss a note and boxed it up for me when we were done. We gave the leftovers to a pan-handler at the next block and headed to the hotel the prom was hosted in.

I was mesmerized like a kid at Christmas - all the decorations and lights and fancy dresses... it was such a bizarre place for someone like me to be. I just didn't fit in with all of it - the kids, the experience, it was all so foreign. I didn't know how to act. I didn't know what to say. I must have been the dullest date ever! We talked to some friends for a little while and then took pictures in front of the grand piano. I had been carrying my stupid purse around and it's chain strap left a lovely red line across my shoulder. I think Mark had to put his hand there just to cover it! lol! I recall seeing Andrea B's high necked, sleeveless black dress and thinking, "THAT is what I should have looked for!". But there were a couple of girls with that same dress so I guess that would have been a bad thing.

Mark didn't want to dance (I desperately did) but I did manage to catch him coming across the dance floor from the other side of the room and we met in the middle and danced for the last half of one song (You're Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady). It was so nice. He actually sang a little of it, and I of course was giddy at how cute it was.

We didn't stay at the hotel long before leaving to go to the after prom party/lock-in at the school. We stopped off at his house to change clothes first. I had brought this cute little off the shoulder, Daisy Duke style shirt and some shorts to wear. I came out of the room and ran into Mark's mom who looked at me with much confusion. She asked me if we were supposed to wear our matching shirts to the after prom party, and clueless me blurted out "oh yeah, I guess I forgot" and ran back into the room. Thank GOODNESS I had thought enough to throw the shirts in my bag (I actually had brought them to wear the next day at the beach) - I can't imagine how embarrassing it would have been to go in something other than what he had picked out. Stupid me though forgot to take off my gaudy costume jewelry from the dress until about 5 in the morning, so I still looked like a dork all night.

We went to the after prom party and it was pretty neat. All of the parents had pitched in to create this pirate themed event and several were in charge of different games and activities. My parents were in charge of a maze that everyone had to crawl through. I am slightly claustrophobic and was terrified of crawling around in that maze, but thankfully the newspaper staff went in at the same time we did so we were able to crawl through the tunnels with the light from the reporter's video camera. Someone from the next group after us threw up in the tunnel so they had to shut it down. We got through just in time! We got married at the "prom chapel" and wandered around watching people all night. I don't remember much beyond that, other than sitting in the cafeteria at about 5 AM, trying not to fall asleep while listening to the endless prize giveaway winners. Generally everyone got a "prize" of gift certificates or cash and it took forever. We were so tired.

At 6 we went back to his parents house and crashed out on bunk beds in his little sister's room. A few hours later I was woken up by said sister, who was bouncing on my chest in the bottom bunk. Mark was on the top bunk laughing. We loaded up in his camaro and took off for the beach. I don't remember much after that.

It was a nice night; much better than anything I had experienced, but I sort of experienced it in a mental haze. When I think back to my school years, much of it was in that haze - just clueless to the world and just letting things happen around me. If it weren't for people dragging me along and spinning the earth for me, I probably never would have experienced anything.

Mark and I hung out a few times after that; always with friends at my house or at a local restaurant. We never dated, even though I had a huge, huge crush on him. One night he brought me home and I guess I lingered too long in my driveway talking to him. Suddenly he picked me up and threw me over his shoulder and carried me to the door. I think that was one of my fondest moments. It felt...real.

I didn't have a lot of real moments in high school.

Just thought I would get it written out before I forgot it completely.

D :)


C. L. Fry said...

Wow, you remember a lot more than I do. I don't remember the dinner... did we go to dinner??? I remember driving Mom's LeSabre T-Type (loved that car). I vaguely remember the dance at the Windham, but nothing specifically about it. I totally forgot about most of the stuff at project prom; the tunnels, the prizes (might have blocked that, but I do now remember sitting so uncomfortably on the floor wondering when it was going to end). The only thing I remember was the put-put golf (why?) and the ship mural that I did a lot of that was on the back wall of the commons. I still have the black and white striped shirt that Kim bought (I had no idea we were supposed to match, good thing she took it upon herself to get shirts).

What's funny is that I don't remember my best friend at the time (Terry) going... I think he did, but I don't remember him being there. We probably went to dinner together :-D

Funny Mark didn't want to take his Camaro... he thought that was the coolest car, (second to that tacky lowrider S-10 truck, LOL). I remember riding in that Camaro watching the dash rattle and shake over bumps (Sorry Mark ;-) ), and sweating in front of the hot air blowing from the AC on a 100 degree day... I'd ask if we could roll the windows down and he'd just turn up the hot air :-D

C. L. Fry said...

BTW, you may have been a geek, but you were a tall, blonde, hot geek ;-)

kimberly said...

What a GREAT memory! thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Heather said...

I went to my prom with my boyfriend. He was a total grump ass about the whole thing, didn't want to be there. No lock in here, I left early to get laid.

No joke. Totally lost my virginity on prom night. Thank God, b/c if I'd waited until marriage and married him I'd be perpetually disappointed... ;)

I went to TWO more proms after mine! The next year my sweet friend Steve's date found a "real" date the DAY OF prom (Steve's gay) so I dug my dress out from the closet, picked up some pantyhose and did my own hair. I had the best time. Way better than my own prom. We danced the night away and then went to an all-night coffeehouse and gabbed until about 4 am. Fantastic fun :)

The other one I went with a bunch of girls that had been in my writing class when I was a senior and they were freshmen - we stayed friends, they were going as a group and one of them thought to invite me :) I had to go meet with the principal b/c I was over 21, they wanted to make sure I wasn't going to provide alcohol to the minors, LOL.

Vick said...

I can't believe how much you remember from prom ... I was supposed to go with the guy of my dreams, but he ended up just taking me to a friend's house and trying to get in my pants. My choice of granny panties that evening haunts me to this day ... {sigh}

TitanKT said...

I was gonna say... about the tall, blonde, hot geek issue... how geeky is a tall, blonde, hot girl anyway? Not very. But the point is how you feel so I guess that must mean you were.

What I really wanted to say is that this is a beautifully written memoir that I thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you for sharing it.

*sigh* One of these days I'm going to have time to write like this in my own blog, but that day is not today. Nor it is tomorrow.

For now, I all I can recommend is the story of my 30th birthday.

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