This is the first in a 3-day series on my high school prom. Part 2 will be posted on Thursday, and Part 3 on Friday.
As a taller than average twelfth grader, my prospects for getting a date to the senior prom are grim. Options A to X: Guys who are shorter than me. Who wants to shuffle to Stairway to Heaven with a horny teen who’s eye-level with your boobs? Memories of Junior High dances are better left repressed.
Option Y: The guy who recently took me to a movie who’s now an alumnus. He’s an obvious choice, except for the unfortunate incident involving a firearm. This date was nearly over before it began. In a she’s-my-little-sister moment out of the Ozarks, my brother joked about scaring away Option Y with a gun. As Option Y drove into our farmyard, my brother headed to the front closet, a grin widening across his face. I sprinted for Option Y’s Monte Carlo, yelling, “Let’s go! Now!” Meanwhile, my brother flung open the screen door of our house, stepped onto the porch and fired the shotgun into the air. It was funny to my brother, I suspect.
When you live on a farm, when the closest town boasts a population of 500, and when you’re graduating with only twenty-nine other students, there are not a lot of date prospects. All previous “dateable” graduates have long since fled town like cockroaches from a can of Raid. Not wanting to attend my prom with a shrimp or a relative, I search my address book and discover Option Z, my former pen pal.
Option Z seems like a good enough choice to be my date for this event-of-a-lifetime: he knows many of my friends, has never seen my family’s collection of firearms, and is over six feet tall. Plus, we attended eighth grade together. We may even have swayed to Zeppelin, his thirteen-year-old mop of hair reaching my chin at the time. Eventually, he left our small school and moved to a metropolis half a continent away, where, thankfully, he grew taller. We kept in sporadic contact via snail mail. Then, mere weeks before my prom, he moved back to a neighboring town. I was quick to fabricate the illusion of an eighteen-year-old sophisticated city boy who might be able to slow-dance without stepping on my size tens.
In retrospect, I should have been the strong woman and gone solo to the prom like my friend, who was also six feet tall. So what if her independence was shattered by a surprise pregnancy a few months later. It was with her, while doing yearbook layouts late into the night, I crafted our list of Ten Types of Guys We Have to Date before Getting Married. By the end of my escapade with Option Z, I had checked off three of those descriptors: someone your mother would hate, someone who’s bad for you, and someone with out-of-control red hair.
To be continued…
Okay, fess up. Did you go to prom? Who were your date options?