Today, I want to talk about college, friends, procuring formalwear under duress, and smoking.
Last weekend, some folks from my sorority pledge class had a little reunion. The last time we got together – perhaps 10 years ago – there was debauchery. And word is that somebody’s husband puked at the late-night diner.
This time around? We met at 6 a.m. to do a 5K.
Now, lest you think I am not the girl you think I am, don’t worry. I walked. Three other pals and I walked the course and felt embarrassed when the course monitors were all, “You can do eeeeet!” like Bela Karolyi.
But I digress.
We wandered around campus and did some day drinking and toured our sorority house and laughed and spoke in the shorthand that only longtime friends speak. It was good for my soul. There is just nothing better than people who knew you when.
Especially when they dig out their photo albums.
My pal Soup shared this lovely image.
|Photo credit: Soup, circa March 1995.
Why yes, yes, that is me. That’s me and my then-boyfriend, headed out to the 1995 Alpha Chi Winter Formal.
Behold the dress that I purchased with my friend Mo. It cost $109 at Dillards, and that was big, big money. But I felt like a million bucks, even though the beaded collar made my delicate ladyskin turn red and angry.
Similarly 90s-fab were my dyed-to-match shoes which are, sadly, out of the camera frame and lost to time. I distinctly remember I wanted the silk shantung shoes, but the lady at Payless said they wouldn’t hold the dark dye, so I had to go for the shiny fake silk shoes. It was heartbreaking, but I still looked good.
Behold the wallpaper in the entryway of our beloved sorority house. It never occurred to me that it was anything but lovely, but in retrospect … umm?
And finally, behold my then-boyfriend. He did not want to go to the 1995 Alpha Chi Winter Formal. No. Not at all. And that’s why he didn’t rent a tux until I shamed him into calling the tux rental place the afternoon of the formal.
Now, you might be asking, “Honey, why didn’t you just let him wear a suit? It’s fine.” But this was 1995, and it was all tux, all the way. Plus, his next-best option was his least-dirty jeans.
He got on the phone with a very nice woman from the tux rental place who said she could cobble together a tux for him if she just knew his measurements. This led to me using the phone cord to measure his arms and waist while he was on the phone. When he provided said measurements, the woman laughed and said those were crazy measurements and she’d just wing it.
The fact that the tux fit at all was nothing short of a miracle. Thank you, tux rental place lady.
But it’s not the tux that caught Soup’s eye when she shared the photo. It was then-boyfriend’s cupped hand.
He had a lit cigarette. In the foyer of the sorority house.
I did not remember this at all because I clearly blocked it out.
This was a time when having a lit cigarette inside the sorority house would get a girl sent down to the standards board. She could get fined or – even worse – forced to skip a date party or – gasp! – even formal.
I was clearly so exhausted from the tux-procurement that I had completely given up and couldn’t begin to fight the lit cigarette.
Then-boyfriend broke my heart into a gajillion pieces about a month later. Crazily, he didn’t end up disappearing into a hole. He’s a good guy with kids and is very successful in his career. Like, national awards. He is a grown-up. Well, now, anyway.
Back in the day? I measured him for a tux using a phone cord and then he smoked inside my sorority house.
Welp. There you go. Young love. Or young woman trying to pretend her then-boyfriend isn’t acting like a total tool.
I think I ended up paying for the tux, too.