A couple of weeks ago, I was all like, hey everyone, tell me what to write about because I am out of ideas, and SarahN, that lovely soul, was like, how about horrendous dating stories?
Well, dating AND social interaction, but I feel like all of my social interactions are horrendous because I am an awkward person. So the first thing I thought of when I read that prompt was, oh geez. Prom. I’ve had some bad dates, but this was the worst. I guess I’m lucky I got it over with at 17.
(Also thank you Sarah seriously because I can write about anything if I just have a topic and this one makes me laugh.)
It’s been a while since I’ve told this story but luckily for all involved, this saga took up most of the journal I was keeping at the time so yay! Let’s go relive some terrible memories!
So the first thing you need to know is that I was slated to go to my senior prom with my good friend J, who I still have sort of contact with via Facebook — well, he’s also an introvert and he lives in Arizona now, and we have one of those relationships where you don’t talk for years and then you talk for a week via Messenger and then it’s years again and everyone is good with that. He asked me in February — prom was May 5 — during our AP English class. I was embarrassed because my best friend Mara kind of made him ask me (she was working on this whole group date thing), but also I was excited because that meant I’d actually get to go to prom. And with a friend, even better, then I wouldn’t be nervous.
So yadda yadda yadda, Mom took me to this seamstress downtown — that building is now a marijuana shop — where Mara was working, because that’s what we did in 1990: You went to this dress shop and a seamstress would make your dress for you. The waiting room was packed with girls and their mothers. I looked through books! I got to pick this skirt with this top! It cost $104 — and that didn’t include the shoes I got dyed to match. Good thing I had an afterschool job.
Also I should mention that this was during my turtleneck phase, which literally lasted from my sophomore year of high school to my junior year of college, but I chose a lower neck for my dress with an off the shoulders sleeve because Mara said it would look great and I believed her. It was a very pretty dress, a lovely blue, but I felt self-conscious wearing it. And as it turns out, that low neck and off the shoulder sleeves were a detriment, although for different reasons that an exposed neck.
The drama began near the beginning of April. All of my friend group had paired up for prom, and early. Now everyone was splitting off and pairing up with different people — J started dating K, who was going to prom with M, who was J’s best friend; Mara was going with B because his girlfriend hadn’t wanted to go to prom but then all of a sudden she did; another boy asked Mara to prom and she turned him down because of B but then B started wavering and she changed her mind, but by that time he had asked someone else and was trying to figure out how to get out of that date.
I made a diagram of the chaos in my journal. What was even going on? WE HAD ALREADY MADE PLANS.
Sort of unexpectedly, I’d met a boy from another town at a diocesan youth council meeting a few months earlier. We are going to call him S. He would call periodically and we’d talk for, like, six whole minutes (uh he was probably an introvert too, now that I think about it). Anyway, when all the drama started, Mara was like, you need to just ask S to take you to prom. And I was like, are you kidding me right now? He’s a freshman in college! I’ve known him two months! I am not dragging him into this whole mess.
Around the middle of April — and roughly two weeks before prom — K corners me in the hallway before AP English and tells me that I’d better find someone to go to prom with because she was going with J and I was going to be stuck at home with a dress and no date. Which was my worst fear. I called J that night because that whole interaction absolutely killed me (I was a delicate soul) and I needed to just hear it from him that I was now without a date. But instead of cutting me off, J told me that he was sorry that K had said that to me, and that he was planning to take me to prom because we planned it so long ago.
Word had gotten out about K confronting me and I was afraid she was going to beat me up in the hallway the next day — she was much shorter than I was, but she was spunkier and honestly, she could totally have taken me down. She did not beat me up, yay! But the saga just kept going.
Two days after K told me to get another prom date, Mara meets me at school and breaks the news that she had called my house, sworn my brother Tim to secrecy, made him go into my room and find S’s phone number and give it to her. Then she called S and told him the situation and asked if he’d take me to prom. My first response: I thought she was joking. Like, making fun of me. It took her a long time to convince me that she had called, he had said yes and I needed to call him that night to talk about it.
As if Trish could take anymore, you guys. Let’s recap: I hate attention. Everyone knows that K is going to beat me up so she can take J to prom, and now Mara has arranged for S to take me. I was relieved that I would not be stuck at home with my pretty dress, but also horrified. It just felt so pathetic.
S was cool about it, though, and said it sounded fun. He thought maybe I had put Mara up to calling because I was too embarrassed. Uh no. I felt dumb when he said that, but after we talked I called Mara, who said he had called her that afternoon, afraid I’d be mad. That made me feel better. Because we could feel dumb together.
My stomach had been going CRAZY because of all the stress, and that wasn’t alleviated. Every time I went in for a dress fitting, I’d lost more weight — well, I lose my appetite when I’m really stressed. I was feeling so bad that I even missed a couple of days of school in the days leading up to prom. Good times all around.
The day of prom finally came. My dress was in my closet. S had driven the three hours to town with a friend and had been denied two hotel rooms when he said he was there for prom. Here’s what I wrote about it in my journal:
“S came really early, so early I wasn’t even dressed yet, so I went out to say hi before I got dressed. Then I went to my room, where I ran my nylons. I got Mom, who ran to get me new ones. I talked to S while she was gone. She came back and I promptly ran my new new nylons, but Mom said tough.” (Taking a break here to say HA HA HA classic.) “I fixed the runs with nail polish — they were up high enough so they didn’t show. After I was dressed, I got scared and didn’t want to go to the living room but Mom made me, so I had to. I went into the living room, into the kitchen trying to find my Tic-Tacs, and back into my room without batting an eye or looking at him. Then I got my Tic-Tacs and we posted for a picture and left. I showed off my neat rented slip while trying to get into the car the first time but I got better as time went on. He and his friend were staying at the XYZ (which is where we ate), so because we got there way early, I went up to his room and met his friend and talked to them both for a while.” (Another side note: It did not occur to me that this could be a ploy of any kind. And it wasn’t, so my naivety paid off.)
“Then we went and ate with Tamara and her date, and Mara and K. I got a salad and ate as much as I could but mainly just played with it. Afterwards, we had pictures at XYZ and then went to the dance. He really didn’t fast dance very well and I felt weird because I wasn’t sure if I should get into it or whatever since all he did was bend his knees a little. So after that all we did was dance slow dances. His hands got pretty low” (read: he was just shy of grabbing my ass) “and I mulled pushing them up a tad but I let them be. I wasn’t feeling very good by the end of the night — all I really wanted was to go home and crash to sleep. So after the dance we just went home. At the door he leaned in and I freaked out because I thought he was going to kiss me. Maybe he was but just on the cheek? So I hugged him and said thanks, did you have fun, see you. And went inside where I talked to Mom until about 1 a.m. Then I went to sleep.”
HA HA HA oh lord, I remember that so much. He was 5-feet, 7-inches, meaning I was a good 5 inches taller than him. He kept putting his head on my shoulder when we slow danced, and I could feel the stubble from his chin scratching me. And it was at that very moment, internet friends, and I am not joking, that I decided height mattered. And poor guy, here he came all that way to take me to this stupid dance, and I basically ran away from him at the door. I remember he drove so slow back to my house — the speedometer read 10 mph, no joke — and all I could think about was how much I wanted it to be over. When he leaned in to kiss me and I went in to hug him, his chin awkwardly bounded off the side of my face.
So while this is my worst dating story ever, I’m sure it’s also his.
A couple of side notes: I did have a page in my journal dedicated to a fantasy about Eric hearing about the whole fiasco and inviting me to prom — he graduated the previous year and was at college, but I’d see him at church sometimes and I had a huge crush on him. And also, Eric likes to think that even if he were shorter than me, we’d still be together because we are In Love, but I don’t know. That whole scratchy chin on my shoulder grossed me out. I tell Eric OF COURSE we’d still be together even if he wasn’t 6-2 but … well, he is, so why speculate. 😉
Um so that’s my most horrendous date. I’ve got a few other prompts to tackle next but feel free to add to the list. It’s kind of fun rehashing old traumas.