So kids, did you hear about the super excellent prom carnival going on over at MommyTime’s place? Yes, our proms are coming back to haunt us. Click over today to read prom stories from all your favorite bloggers. As much as I love MommyTime, I wasn’t going to participate. My prom story isn’t funny, nor is it inspirational, nor did I get laid. Really not the stuff proms are made of. In fact, I was quite an ass. It was probably the single most inconsiderate thing I have ever done. So why even bother?
Then I got this email the other day from my friend April:
"And you really, really need to do the prom carnival. You're just coming across as a little too perfect to me lately!"
Well isn’t that one of the perks of having your own blog? You do the editing, you create your own persona, you... ok ok okok okokokok! Fine!! This is my less-than-glorious, not-too-proud prom story. The names have been changed in case they find me on Facebook.
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I was (am) a total fish nerd. At my school, senior spring meant independent projects. I chose to spend my days in the basement of the science building training fish to recognize shapes. Don’t ask...
The important thing is that in order to get to my fish lab, I had to pass a certain classroom. In this classroom every third period on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays sat this girl I’ll call Jennifer. Jennifer was a “popular” junior, and other than a passing glance as I walked past her Earth Science class every other day, we never crossed paths. Then one day it happened. On one particular M,W,or F, as I glanced admiringly at Jennifer, she smiled back. Whoa there butterflies, settle down! That day I timed it so I would leave my lab while Jennifer was still in class. I tried the drive-by glance once more. Total reciprocation!
And that’s how it went for the next few weeks. A combined 3 seconds of interaction that gave me something to look forward to every other day. Then she upped the ante. One day as I was tooling around with my fish and laminated color-coded construction paper triangles, I heard a voice.
“What do you do in here everyday, anyway?”
Oh crapola. It was Jennifer. In my lab.
Let me just say, it is 100% impossible to spit any game when you are explaining how you are training Jewel Cichlids to associate a yellow triangle shape with fish food. Just trust me on this.
But maybe she dug fish. Because our drive bys continued. And I got freakin’ bold with it. Sometimes I’d wave.
But I am a horrible transitioner, so I could never parlay her interest in Jewel Cichlids to much else. Luckily, I had a friend on the inside -- a popular junior who worked under my administration (I was the student body president, and he was the junior class president). I tasked him with getting me the 411 on this Jennifer girl. Hey, if you don’t use your presidency for personal gain, then what have we really learned from our leaders?
While I waited for my friend’s report, high school life went on. One day, after morning assembly, a girl who I liked in a just-friends way, we’ll call her Laura, stopped me on the way to class. We had been spending some ambiguous hang out time between classes and such, so I guess her question should not have surprised me.
“Hey, Jim, so I was wondering if you wanted to go to prom with me?”
I was caught completely flat-footed. Have you ever had those moments where you start calculating odds and outcomes in milliseconds while you stall with an “um, what? Say that again?”
“The prom. I wanted to know if you would be my date for the prom.”
“Ohhh the prom! Yeah, sure I’ll go.” (I am a wuss ass who can’t say no).
“Oh well,” I thought “Jennifer would never go with me anyway. That was just a pipe dream.”
At that point, I pretty much resigned myself to enjoying my fleeting hallway moments with Jennifer and starting fresh with the ladies the following fall in college (note to self: no fish experiments).
But then the unexpected happened.
“Hey Jim. You’re gonna be very happy.” Mr. Junior Class President said to me one day after our weekly Student Government meeting had adjourned. “Jennifer digs you. She’ll even go to prom with you.”
No. No no no no no no no no!
Prom was in a week. I wrestled with this for two more days. I weighed the possibilities. Assessed the potential damage. All signs pointed to “walk away,” but when you’re 17 and hooking up with one of the hottest chicks in school is a likely scenario, it’s real easy to suffer from clouded judgment.
I will never forget the look on Laura’s face when I told her 3 days before prom that I was going with someone else. It wasn’t anger. It was punched in the stomach. And she still managed to muster up a smile for her friend who had just hooked up with his dream date for prom.
The prom itself came and went. I have no pictures and no real memories besides a timeline of events. The prom itself was held at the Atrium in Fanueil Hall in Boston, the after party was at JT’s house, but got busted up early by his folks, Jennifer and I then went bowling with some of her friends, we ate at IHOP, stayed there all night and went back to school by daylight (had a change of clothes in my car) for the end of the year assembly and that was that.
Jennifer sent me a “how are you” letter from her mom’s house in Nebraska that summer. As for Laura, we never spoke again.
And I change my mind. I do hope she finds me on Facebook. And reads this. I was an ass. I’m sorry.