Skip to content

The Line Between Embellishing and Lying: Asking a Girl To Prom

October 12, 2021
I didn’t look like this, not even on a good day. To be fair, she probably didn’t either. (image via wikimedia)

I’ve written a lot of stories on this blog. Some are basically true with a little bit of embellishment. Some are made up with bits of truth thrown in. Some are completely made up but might sound true because I’ve written the stories in first-person point-of-view.

Looking back, I wonder if I should have made it clear where each story stood as I wrote them. Sometimes authors get into trouble when they lie in their memoirs: I don’t want to be known for lying on my own blog. So now I’m going back to some stuff that I’ve written and being clear about what’s true, what’s embellished a bit, and what is completely made up.

The first one is…

*****

Awkward Moments in Dating: Asking a Girl To Prom (first published in Dysfunctional Literacy on February 21, 2019):

At the time, I thought that Francine was the right girl to ask to senior prom.  I’d known her since elementary school.  We’d always been friends.  Even when I’d been at my social low point in junior high, she’d hang out with me at lunch sometimes.  She’d laugh at my jokes, and she was as vulgar and sexist and bigoted as any junior high boy back in the early 1980s, so anybody could say anything around her and she didn’t care.

Francine became more attractive in high school (she was never ugly, but you know), and had a couple boyfriends (not at the same time) and had just broken up with some guy.  Since I was an old friend and had a car, I drove her home after school a few times a week.  We had an easygoing friendship.  I knew that asking her to prom, however, could mess that up.  I didn’t want to risk an almost lifelong friendship by asking her to prom.

On the other hand, it was senior year.  The best time to potentially destroy that friendship was the end of senior year.  I didn’t want to be a senior guy going dateless to prom, and I didn’t want to go with a sophomore girl who would go only because she’d be able to brag about going to prom as a sophomore.

My mistake was telling Keith and a bunch of friends on a Saturday night at a diner a few weeks before the big event.  Keith had announced his intent to ask Karla, and I’d agreed that was a good choice.  I didn’t want to reveal my own plans, but I guess peer pressure got to me (you can read more details here), and I messed up.

“I think I’ll ask Francine,” I said.

Keith stared at me, and then glanced around the table.  “That’s brilliant,” he said.

At first, I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic, but he continued.

“She’ll go,” he said.  “And you two will have a good time.”

I nodded, relieved that he understood.

“You’re not gonna get any, but you’ll have a good time,” he said.

I grimaced.  “I know.  I’ll have a good time, but not THAT good of a time.”

Keith grinned and then turned to some other guy at the table, peppering him with another round of prom questions.  I let out a breath, glad to be done with my social interactions for the night.

The next day (a Sunday), I planned out how I’d ask Francine.  My best chance to ask her was when I was driving her home from school, but I’d wait until I pulled my car into her driveway.  That way, she wouldn’t feel pressured to say yes just to get out of the car safely.  I didn’t want her thinking that I’d plow the car into a tree or steer into opposing traffic if she said no.  I was pretty sure she’d know that I wouldn’t do that, but people did crazy stuff for prom.

I wrote out a mini-script with several variations and memorized them.  I was ready to ask her on Monday, just in case I drove her home that day.  I never knew ahead of time if she’d need a ride, so I wanted to be ready, just in case.  But that Monday, she didn’t talk to me, not even in the classes that we shared.  That was alright, I though.  I’d see her sometime during the week.

But nothing happened on Tuesday either.

Wednesday?  Nothing.

Thursday, I started to get anxious.  Three days in a row without talking to Francine was really unusual.  It could be a coincidence that this drought happened right after I’d told Keith about my prom plans, but I doubted it.  Most coincidences are intentional, I thought.  There was no way to prove it, but I was pretty sure this was no coincidence.

Anyway, that Thursday I was hurrying down a crowded hallway on my way to class (I don’t remember which one) when I spotted Francine walking side by side with a friend of hers.  We didn’t exactly make eye contact because I didn’t have time to, but I was aware of her amidst all the other students moving around me.  Her friend (I watched her from the corner of my eye and this happened quickly) looked right at me, said something to Francine while looking right at me, and then Francine… Francine… Francine…

Francine fake cried on her friend’s shoulder.

Her friend fake hugged her in consolation, and I rushed to class, pretending I hadn’t seen anything.  Aaaargh!  I was socially awkward, yeah, but I knew what that melodramatic hallway act had meant.

Francine knew I was going to ask her to prom.

And Francine was going to say no.

Even worse, the story isn’t over yet.

To be continued in Awkward Moments in Dating: Prom Rejection.

*****

THE TRUTH!

I hate admitting this, but I barely knew the girl I asked out to prom. There was a girl whom I occasionally drove home, but she was probably a little rough for a prom date. The girl I asked was almost random, just somebody that I got along with in a few classes. I added fake details into this story because I don’t remember much about the real girl. Maybe I should have just admitted that in the original version, that I chose to ask out a girl I barely knew.

I also don’t know why I picked Francine for a name in this story. I don’t think I’ve known anybody named Francine. I don’t even have an opinion about the name Francine. I don’t want to use real names because I don’t know how the people involved (if they’re still alive) would feel about these stories being told.

Most of the dialogue is made up. My friends discussed prom plans, and a friend who was NOT named Keith (though I had a friend named Keith) dominated the conversation with his plans for prom domination. Haha! None of them worked out.

*****

What do you think? Should I have been more honest about the details in the original version (even though the details make for a boring story)? When is it okay to make up details in a supposedly true story?

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: