It’s true. Just ask my junior year prom date. Let’s call him … Eric.
Now, poor Eric had the unfortunate luck to be my pal. We had the same open period, and would often study or play cards in the student lounge, along with a group of about a dozen other students. There were no sparks between me and Eric, but he was nice and earnest.
I was a girl who bought a prom dress in January because I was determined that I would, indeed, attend prom. As a sophomore, I hadn’t landed an upperclassman date, so I stayed home. I missed the prom held in the empty grocery store, the prom where the room got so humid that the streamers touched the floor.
But junior year? It was on like Donkey Kong!
BFF and I spent hours plotting and planning. Who would we commandeer to be our lucky escorts? Finally, a plan took shape in the back of her mom’s Taurus station wagon. Our moms were in the front, chauffeuring us to a high school production of “Bye, Bye Birdie” a few towns away. To our chagrin, we had been deemed not old enough to drive ourselves. It was sooooooo embarrassing. However, the ride was well-spent, as we were able to formulate The Plan. And, we got back to town early enough to actually put The Plan into action prior to our midnight curfews that very night!
Eric worked at Wendy’s. We had hit the drive-through many nights, ordering “courtesy cups” (read: glasses of water) just so we could talk to him and practice being teen-aged girls. So, the night in question? We drove to Wendy’s. Except it was closed!
BFF and I sat in the car in the Wendy’s parking lot. Then, I did what any red-blooded American girl with a prom dress and no date would do: I got out of the car and banged on the drive-through window.
Some girl came to the window. I was mortified, but asked to talk to Eric. The girl was not impressed. She shut the window and got Eric.
Eric was obviously uncomfortable and unaware of his role as my prom target. I asked him to prom through the Wendy’s drive-through window. I felt ballsy, like this made me sassy as hell and would be a tale we’d tell our grandchildren.
I must admit, Eric’s response wasn’t what I had in mind. He turned 27 shades of red and said, “Umm, can I call you tomorrow?”
I walked, dejected, back to BFF’s baby-blue Ford Tempo. We were flummoxed. But there was hope … “can I call you tomorrow” was not the same as “no.”
He called the next afternoon.
“Yeah, sooo, I talked to my mom,” Eric said. “And she said it’s OK if I go to prom with you.”
And so it was done. I had a prom date. In my glee, I glossed over the whole “my mom said it was OK if I go to the prom with you” aspect.
And then, 10 minutes later, Eric’s best friend called and asked me to prom.
Boys evidently do not talk, even when the comparison of notes would be really, really useful. So I had to tell Eric’s buddy – who, turned out, really had the hots for me – that I was going to prom with Eric. It was awkward in a nuclear explosion kind of way.
My dress was black, so it was agreed that Eric would rent a tux with a red cummerbund and tie. He would pick me up. The logistics were set. And then, 4 days before the big day, Eric dropped the real bombshell.
“Going to prom is OK as long as I don’t dance.”
Eric belonged to a church where the women weren’t allowed to wear pants. Or cut their hair. Or wear makeup. And no one was allowed to dance. Evidently, he had never attended a school dance. The whole talking-to-his-mom thing was her granting him permission to attend prom as a high school experience since he was a senior. The catch was that Eric had to promise that he wouldn’t dance, lest Lucifer steal his soul.
Next: A prom with no dancing: Just like “Footloose,” but way, way worse. And without Kevin Bacon.