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Awkward Moments in Dating: Dateless at Prom

March 3, 2019

(image via wikimedia)

I didn’t have a date for prom, but at least I had my friends with me.

My oldest brother loaned me his Trans Am (remember, this was the early 1980s) for the night and swore he’d beat the hell out of me if I damaged it.  I loaded up five other dateless (but well-dressed) guys, and we drove to the fancy hotel that was holding the prom, and we cruised around the parking lot honking at girls who’d turned us down.  That showed them, I guess.

All of us were bummed out that we didn’t have dates (you can get more details here), but we tried to act like we didn’t care, except for Keith.  Keith was ticked off the whole time.

“I can’t believe she stabbed me in the back,” he said, referring to Karla, who had originally agreed to be his prom date.  He was still complaining about her when we dateless guys marched into the ballroom together.

I laughed, but he knew it was the absurdity of the situation that I thought was funny, so he didn’t get angry at me.

“She should have given you more notice,” I said, trying to be supportive.  She’d told him the Friday morning before prom, right before first period and in front of a bunch of people.  I hadn’t been there (I always missed the good stuff), but Keith’s face reportedly had turned dark red and his fists had clenched.  But he’d just nodded at the bad news and then gone on to class.

“She wanted to be with her friends,” he said.  “What a bitch.”

“I blame Francine,” I said.  Once Francine turned me down a few weeks ago, a bunch of other senior girls turned down guys too, and it wasn’t just nerds like me who were getting rejected.

“We got a bunch of lesbians at our school,” Keith said.

“I bet their after-prom party is gonna be crazy,” I said.

“Look at that,” Keith said, pointing to an ugly guy named Jack, who was holding hands with a cute sophomore girl.  Jack carried his giant backpack with him around school and talked about military technology, no matter what.  “Even Backpack Jack has a date.”

“Maybe she likes military technology,” I said, silently noting that Jack hadn’t brought his backpack with him to prom.

Keith was mad because he could have asked that sophomore girl first.  He pointed out a bunch of girls who would have gone to prom with him, if only Karla had told him no when he’d asked her three weeks earlier.  During the prom coronation, Keith complained that he could have been nominated if only he’d tried.  Eventually, he cheered and whistled while I merely clapped politely.

After prom, we went to an expensive restaurant to hang out for a while, and a bunch of other post-prom partiers showed up too.  Keith spotted Karla and Francine and several other girls we knew at a huge table in the middle of the restaurant.

“You gonna say hi to Francine?” Keith asked.

“Why would I?” I said.

Keith laughed and patted me on the shoulder and slung his tux jacket over his chair at our table.  As he made his round to the girls, I made myself comfortable at our own table with my other friends.  Maybe I should have said hello to Francine, I thought, but what else would I say?  Are you having a good time?  Maybe I could thank her for not telling everybody about the booger a few weeks earlier, but that might gross her out right before she eats.

“Hey, I got a seat with the girls,” Keith said, as he pulled his jacket off the chair.  “I’ll be back a little later.”

Another guy at my table cranked his head back to check out the girls.  “Damn him.  He got the last seat over there.”

I tried to be sentimental about prom night, but I couldn’t quite get there.  I knew that the next celebration would be graduation stuff, and then we’d never see each other again.  Honestly, I didn’t like school and would be glad when it was over.  I didn’t hate the people at my school, but I didn’t feel that close to them either.

Maybe it’s weird that I’ve never gone back to my high school.  I keep in touch with one friend, but the last time I saw him was a few year’s ago at a family member’s funeral.  But I don’t keep track of or stay in touch with anybody else.

When I was contacted years later for the 20th class reunion, it was the girl whose shoulder Francine had fake cried on.  At the time, I’d forgotten about the fake crying (that just came back to me while I was writing the story).  I responded to the email politely, saying it was nice to hear from her but I wasn’t going to the reunion.  I was married with a family and a job, and I lived hundreds of miles away.  To me, the idea of going to a reunion was impractical.

Anyway, it seems like high school students today are comfortable just going to prom with a bunch of friends.  Most high school students are probably better off that way.  Prom should be a fun event.  There’s no need for the unnecessary pressure of asking somebody as a date just for the sake of having a date.  Even without a formal event like prom, dating can be awkward enough.

Because I didn’t have a date, prom wasn’t that awkward.  It was boring and kind of a let-down.  I didn’t get drunk and crash my brother’s car.  I didn’t get wild and crazy with a bunch of girls I barely knew.  I just went home sometime after midnight and gave my brother his car the next day before I went to church.

That’s how lame prom was.  I still went to the early church service the next day.


That’s it for the awkward prom.  Stay tuned for another episode of Awkward Moments in Dating.  I promise, the next episode will actually have a date.

From → Dysfunctileaks

  1. Wow. Church the next day. That is amazing. I think we got a free pass and had to be home by 5am. I feel Keith on being ticked off. My prom date stood me up the DAY of prom (he was gay and his BF suddenly decided I was a threat? what the what?), so I had to rush to find an alternate at the Red Lobster. All turned out well. I’m sure sex, drugs, and rock n roll were all involved, but sadly, no Trans Am. At least you kept that safe. You’re probably right about the pressure on kids these days. My son’s high school cancelled the Sadie Hawkins last month because 8 kids got tickets. Better to just all show up without dates and enjoy.

    • Okay, maybe Francine did me a favor by turning me down weeks before prom. Maybe I should have found an alternate at Red Lobster. We had a Red Lobster.

      • Without a doubt, a girl far superior to Francine was waiting at the Lobster for you. I can only imagine how different your life would be if you had taken that path. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure book.

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