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Awkward Moments in Dating: Prom Strategy

February 9, 2019

(image via wikimedia)

If you’re a high school senior, you can’t just ask anybody to prom.  The wrong date can lead to an awkward prom night, and formal events like that are already difficult to navigate, even when you’re with the right person.  When I was a senior in the early 1980s, I had friends, an after school job, and a social life, but I was undateable.  I was skinny with acne, and I collected comic books.

Despite all that, I had a scheme to get a prom date.

I was with a group of my friends at a local restaurant on a Saturday night (you can get more details here), and listening to Keith, our group’s cool guy, discuss his prom date plans.  His parents were renting a limo for him, and he would take his date to a nice restaurant (nicer than the diner we were in).

We believed him because Keith was as close to cool as anybody in our social group could get.  He was in a band, he wore cool clothes, he would have the occasional girlfriend, and he handled himself smoothly.  He was also a nerd at heart.  He liked comic books, Star Wars movies, and had read The Lord of the Rings three times.

Keith was still talking when some guy named Robert at our table announced, “I think I’ll ask Elaine to prom.”  He stuffed his mouth full of hamburger when he said it.

There was a moment of silence, and then every guy (except Robert… and me) laughed.  It was loud enough that adults at other tables glanced at us.  When the waitress passed by, Keith said:

“Don’t worry, we’ll keep it down from now on.  And we’ll tip.”

The waitress smiled and refilled his soda.

Once the waitress moved on (I received a refill too), Keith turned to Robert.

“I don’t mean to crush your dreams, but you might be setting your sights too high,” he said.

“I’m a senior,” Robert said, continuing with his hamburger.  “I’m going out in a blaze of glory.”

“Not with Elaine, you won’t,” Keith said.  “She’s too stuck up for you.  Choose a sophomore.  I know who’ll go to prom with you.”

While Keith and Robert discussed a sophomore girl, my mind wandered.  I had my own issues.

There was a girl I was thinking about, a fairly attractive senior whom I drove home from school a few times a week.  We had a couple classes together, so we always had something to talk about.  She didn’t have a boyfriend (she’d broken up with a guy a few months earlier which was why she needed a ride home), but I knew she wasn’t interested in me that way.

Anyway, things between me and this girl were relaxed, and I wanted to keep things like that.  If I asked her to prom and she said no, things would get tense.  If we went to prom and had a crappy time, things would be tense.  I liked having this girl as a friend.

“I’m taking Karla to prom,” Keith declared.  I started paying attention again.

Every guy had fond thoughts of Karla.  I’d been infatuated with her since early tenth grade.  At least, that’s what everybody thought.  I got caught staring at her cleavage in a 10th grade science class, and some other boy who was also staring at her cleavage accused me of staring.  I didn’t argue.  I wasn’t the only one guilty, but I was still guilty.  Somebody had to be the scapegoat.

Karla wasn’t even offended.  She was always polite to me after that, but I could never really talk to her.  There was no way I could ask her to prom, even if she were available.  It would have been an awkward prom.  I wanted to ask a girl who was available, okay looking, and somebody I could talk to.  And there weren’t that many girls like that.

“Karla is a good choice for you,” I said, nodding.

“You approve,” Keith said.

“Of course,” I replied.

“You weren’t going to ask her,” he said.

“No,” I said.  “I have a tough time maintaining eye contact with her.  How could we go to prom together?”

I didn’t mean it in a bad way, but it still got a laugh.

“What about you, Jimmy?” Keith said.  “Who are you asking then?”

Looking back (I didn’t realize this at the time), Keith was showing me some respect.  He didn’t ask if I was going to prom.  He didn’t ask if I was going by myself or with friends or with a date.  He was assuming (or pretending to assume) that I’d have a date.  And he didn’t ask in a mocking tone.  He was asking out of curiosity (or putting on a good act).

“I really don’t want to say.”

“We’re not going to tell,” Keith said.  He probably meant it, but there were at least six other guys I was worried about at the table.

“I’d still feel stupid if I told you and then got turned down.”

“So?” Keith said.  “Everybody here has been turned down sometime.”

“I don’t want to jinx myself.”

Keith grinned.  “There’s no jinx.  Look, if you’re asking the right girl, it won’t matter if you tell us.  If you’re asking the wrong girl, we’ll let you know and keep you from wasting your time.”

That actually made sense to me.  Keith knew everybody at our school.  He’d have a pretty good idea of which girls would go to prom with me and who’d run for the hills.  And that’s when I made my mistake.

The mistake was telling.  You never reveal who you will ask to prom (or on any date) before you do it.  Never!  And in the next episode, I’ll explain why.

To be continued!   Or you can start at the beginning of another installment of Awkward Moments in Dating .

From → Dysfunctileaks

One Comment
  1. Reblogged this on Stare into the Asylum and commented:
    This sounds like enough of a horror story that it belongs smack dab in the middle of “Stare into the Asylum,” gently nestled between the axe murderer stories and the hobo in Austin that writes about finding dead bunnies in a bag.

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