Now, I am not a big dancer. It has never been my goal to be on "Soul Train" or "Dance Fever." But every John Hughes movie had led me to believe that prom took place on a mystical plane where awkward kids magically morphed into suave-yet-sensitive poets, where True Love was to be found behind every poofy dress and badly-pinned boutonniere. How could I not dance at prom?
BFF's parents thought this was the single funniest thing ever. They kept asking me if I wanted to borrow a deck of cards to take, so I'd have something to do at prom. And this blew me away, too, because Eric and I played cards in the student lounge all the time. If it's against your religion to dance, aren't cards also usually frowned upon?
I guess not.
I didn't give Eric a hard time. I decided just to wing it. Maybe we'd dance. Maybe I'd dance alone, or with someone else, but not in a slutty, dumping-my-date-and-stealing-yours kind of way. Maybe it would all just work out.
Maybe I was so, so wrong.
So, Eric picked me up at my house. My parents were beaming. I was wearing a black dress with a halter bodice and a short tulle skirt. I loved that dress. If I could get more than 1 thigh in it now, I'd wear it every day. I had rhinestone earrings, and my mom had curled my hair and done my makeup. Little late bloomer me was going to prom! And I looked like a girl!
|Prom Me, with our dog who loved having her picture taken.|
He turned to me, face serious.
"What is all over your face?"
I stopped, freaked out by his concern. Did I have a rash? Had my lipstick bled?
No. What was all over my face was ... my makeup. The makeup my mom had applied, the makeup that we'd carefully practiced over several nights.
"I'm wearing makeup," I said.
Eric grimaced and started the Buick.
As we drove off in silence, I felt horrible, like there was something horribly wrong with me. And then I realized that Eric, too, felt horrible. Not because he'd said something insensitive, but because he realized he was in the company of a harlot. And he was taking said harlot to the Sodom and Gomorrah High School Prom. Where he would surely be handing his soul over to the devil.
Eric displayed the personality of a wooden spoon for the rest of the evening. He was cordial, but distant. His friend, who had asked me to prom after I'd asked Eric, looked at me longingly throughout the night - so maybe I did look like a hoochie. But in Eric's detachment, as he tried to just gamely get through the night of sin?
Well, he was led astray.
After dinner, the DJ announced that the dance floor was open, and instructed all couples to take the floor. And Eric? Well, he did as he was told.
Eric got up of his own volition and headed to the dance floor.
I felt kind of guilty dancing with him, but I also wanted him to see that the floor wasn't going to open up to the pits of hell, which would then swallow him whole. He stood, barely moving, his fingertips barely touching my waist, for 3 and a half minutes of some unforgettable song. And then it was done. And then we spent the rest of the night sitting at our table. And I wished I had that deck of cards.
At the end of the night, I think we shook hands. Or maybe not, as that would have involved actual physical contact. At any rate, it was amicable yet distant - like how you'd say good-bye to a poisonous spider right before running away, screaming.
I'm not sure what happened to Eric after graduation. In my fantasy, he's happily married and doesn't think back on his senior prom as The Night He Saw The Devil (And She Looked Like a High School Girl) or The Night Some Skank Wearing Makeup Led Him Astray.