Back when I was in high school, it was the epitome of social success if one was invited to prom before one was a junior or senior. And even though I had friends who were part of the "in" crowd and I had a measure of popularity, I wasn't an "it girl" by any means. Yet somehow, I managed to score an invitation to the prom all four years in high school.
First off: Freshman Year.
This year was probably the strangest of all. I went to prom with a boy, a senior named Brian that I barely knew. In fact, I don't think I had ever spoken to him before he called to ask me. I only knew him because earlier in the year he had been in an accident and had broken one of his vertebrae and had walked around school in one of those head mobilizing cages that was screwed into his skull. So yeah, he stood out.
He had a mutual friend call me to pre-ask me. I told him I would say yes and then when the real call came I did. It didn't matter to me to that I barely knew him. He had a crush on me and wanted to take me to prom. I was a freshman with a big head and starry prom eyes, so I said yes.
Next mission? To Find THE DRESS! I had the perfect dress in mind. I wanted BIG. I wanted POOFY. But most of all? I wanted a hoop skirt. Yes, my Scarlett O'Hara fetish was in full force. I had been watching Gone With the Wind every year on television since I was child and had not yet been able to fulfill my hoop skirt fantasies. I mean, it's not every day that one gets to wear a hoop skirt, even in the south. Unless you're in the pageant circuit, which I most definitely was not. (Not that I didn't want to be, but my mom wouldn't let me. But that's another story). Or unless you were a re-enactor. Or a museum docent. But I digress.
My mom and I went on a search. And in a tiny little store in a neighboring town, I found it. It was one of a kind. To be sure, there were no other dresses like at the prom.
And being my first prom, I had to have my first real "up do," right? I went to my hairdresser, whom I trusted, though she was known for her heavy hand with the hairspray. I always used to want to ask her "Did I come IN here with my hair this stiff and poofy? No? Then what makes you think I want to leave here that way?" She worked and slaved and teased and sprayed for ages. When she was done I was left with a hair sculpture that swooped all my hair to the right side of my head, completely exposing my left ear and not doing much to hide the right one.
I hated it. First of all, it was the ears. She didn't hide my ears of shame. She practically shone a spotlight on them, what with all the baby's breath she had wedged in there. Plus, her "vision" and my "vision" had not meshed in the slightest. I had wanted a simple twist. Perhaps even a bun, with a few loose tendrils
And no time to wash it out.
So, I went to prom with a guy a barely knew. With stiff art hair. All night I stared longingly over Brian's shoulder at my new boyfriend who was there with another girl. Could you get more teen angst-ty? I think Brian was a little peeved that I didn't stare into his eyes during a slow song and fall madly in love. At least I didn't ditch him before the prom so that I could go with my new boyfriend, though perhaps in some ways it would have been kinder. And Brian was a nice guy. I could have done worse (and often did!).
Just like Scarlett...I never knew what I had until it was too late. I bet Scarlett never would have stood for that hairdo, though.