The Prom

The following reflection was written in 2003, when I was between 25 and 26 years old.


I had no date and I had no ride and really, I’m not sure if I wanted to go to the Prom at all. Sure, my friends would be there. I wouldn’t be sitting with them though. Lord only knew who I would be sitting with. Where did they put the losers without dates anyway? I was really nervous about the Prom and convinced I wasn’t going to have all that much fun and that’s probably why it remains one of the most awkward nights of my life.

Dad drove me into Boston in the Tempo. I’m sure there might’ve been limos I could have tagged along in, if I had looked hard enough, but I was so tired from looking for a date in vain that looking for transportation hadn’t been something I wanted to deal with.

When we got there Dad dropped me off at a reasonable distance and he parked and then went for drinks at one of the local bars. I ascended the stairs in my tux, past all the couples getting their pictures and over to my table. I was sitting, it turned out, with a bunch of guys I’d feared throughout school. They weren’t guys who beat me up or anything but they were of the slightly more popular crowd and I was intimidated. This was going to be worse than I thought.

Their dates were all nice to me though. The girls seemed to respect me (or pity me) for having the gusto to arrive by myself. They offered to dance with me. Of course they were as attractive as the guys were burly and tough-looking and I was impossibly intimidated by them. I graciously declined.

After dinner and a band that seemed to play only three or four songs before putting a copy of Janet Jackson’s Control album into a CD player, I eventually made my way away from my table and went looking for my friends. I bumped into a couple of them, all of the girls looking predictably gorgeous, and all of the guys keeping to their cliques.

I was afraid of a lot of things that night. I was afraid of taking off my jacket most of all because I’d somehow fucked up with the way I put the cumberbund on.

Eventually I think it was Meg who found me and told me where she thought the larger crowd of people I hung out with were. I made it over to the table where Tracy and Shawn were and whether they were seated there or not, I also remember seeing Amity, Pete, Di, and several others. All the girls I’d asked or thought of asking were at the same table. It was very frustrating.

Tracy was the first to try and get me on the dance floor, trying to get me to dance along to the “Electric Slide” in vain. I wished she had picked a slower song, not a slow song, just a slower song. I would’ve liked to have had a couple of minutes with the girl who had said she was going to go with me all those months ago. The Electric Slide was a nice gesture though, and I’m glad she even offered me that chance.

I did dance a couple of times but not much. I think I might have danced once with Meg, or else she asked me and I didn’t dance and she got on my case for it later. I definitely remember dancing with Di. If there was anybody else, I’m not sure.

When it was winding down I remember spending some time with Tracy, Shawn, Amity, and Pete by the stairs. Dad poked his head up, not enough to “embarrass” me, but enough to let me know he was there to rescue me if I wanted. I said my goodbyes and let Dad take me away. I had had enough.

Later, I drove the Tempo to the Chelmsford Elks for the After Prom Breakfast, which was the high school’s way to trying to get everyone to go to a more mellow party rather than go out, get drunk, and fuck. I hung with the same people there and then I went home and went to sleep.