Hospital Blue. Mauve. Pale Pink. Mint Green. Lilac. Peach Blossom. Puffy Sleeves. Platform Shoes. Blue Eye Shadow. Lip Gloss. Where am I? Prom 1981.
Lucky for me, it is 2013 and I don’t have anyone in the house going to a prom this year. My son enjoyed his last year and my daughter will be going to hers next year.
But every May, memories of my prom pop up in my mind in vivid detail. These memories are fortunately, very fond ones. Triumph, revenge, accomplishment and warmth are the feelings I re-live.
It was March of my Senior year and my boyfriend and I had been dating for several years. Everyone, including yours truly, assumed that he and I would go together to the prom. A rational assumption considering our relationship status.
Unbeknownst to me, T had a different idea in mind. He approached me in the hall and proceeded to explain to me that, seeing that our high school years were coming to an end, he had decided that he could not leave the school without dating a couple of girls he had been interested in while we were dating. (Wait for it…)
He then revealed the names of these, deprived of his love – girls and told me that he would be asking one of them to the prom.
I was a bit shy back then but at the same time, had developed a certain level of confidence and respect for myself – not typical of this age (I thank my mother for this). I knew how I deserved to be treated by boys and knew that the relationship was over. Yes, I still loved him but thankfully, my character and strength took over.
I calmly said ok and walked away. I was not so much mad as I was flabbergasted by his audacity and stupidity. I know he was only 18 and boys will be boys, but honestly?
Word soon spread and I was received with stares from my fellow students as I walked the hallways. Oh my Gosh, can you believe he broke up with her and is asking someone else to the prom? Amazingly, I walked with my head up high and a sense of reassurance.
He asked one of the girls on his list to the prom who also happened to be, my friend. She admitted to me that the situation was a bit..awkward but obviously not awkward enough to stop her from running to the mall to buy her prom dress! She joined the many other girls who were giddy with excitement about the up-coming event.
Several days later, one of his best friends approached me. He seemed nervous and looked from side to side as I leaned against my locker, checking to see who was near by. He then asked me if I would like to attend the prom with him. I stood speechless for a bit, the thought of this happening had not even crossed my mind. I smiled inside, looked at him right in the eyes and said, J, I would absolutely love to go to the prom with you. He smiled and we went our separate ways to our respective classes.
When I said yes to J, at no time did I think of it as an act of revenge toward T. I honestly thought that going with J would be a lot of fun and he was after all, a class act. It was not until later that I realized that revenge was a sweet consequence of the situation. 🙂
Once T got a hold of this information, all hell broke loose. He went…psycho. He called me day and night, tried talking to me at school and could not fathom me going with someone else. To the detriment of his new date, he called the whole thing off. He told her that he had made a big mistake and that he was going to prom with me.
Or so he thought. Once he broke it off with her, he came running to me to tell me that we were all cleared to go together. Not so fast, buddy! I told him, in my calm confident voice, that I had made a commitment to J and that it would be rude for me to break that commitment and besides, that I would rather not go than to go with him. He desperately attempted to break down J so that he would un-ask me, but J did not budge.
T and his date ended up missing prom. She was so devastated and embarrassed about what had happened and had to return her dress and shoes. T tried to make me jealous by telling me that he was going to hang out that night with a girl in town that went to another school, but saw the zero effect that had on me and moped around all night.
I had a blast! Danced all night, hung out with friends and was the recipient of the best goodnight kiss I had ever had.
I see T on occasion and we are friendly with each other. I wonder how he feels when he thinks about prom. All I know is that I cannot control the huge grin on my face when I see him.
How is it that the events during these formative years can stay with us 30+ years after and the feelings are as fresh as they were on that day? More so than the memories of our college years, it seems.
I have passed this story on to my teenage daughter, who smiles every time she hears it. Hopefully, the message she got out of it was empowering and will serve as a reminder of the respect she must have for herself, before expecting it from others.