I didn’t go, and here’s why: I’m a fuckin idiot. And I had no date, maybe because I never asked anyone. Prom was an excellent summary of my entire high school dating career. My friend Dave Erd later in life would constantly remind me, “You already don’t have her” whenever discussing a girl I should pursue. That didn’t work for me either, but it was a nice attempt. Anyway, in high school I didn’t have Dave’s guidance, only advice from my classmates, who never seemed to have much good to say about my potential dates. Of course, I was relying on a bunch of guys who either wanted to make fun of or screw every girl they met, so what could I expect?
An interesting phenomenon, however, occurred right around prom time: most of the girls (even the ones who were subject to earlier ridicule) were suddenly spoken for, and the rest were seemingly off limits because I was so worried about how others would see me if I dated a girl said to be too short, too tall, too fat, too young, too slutty, too innocent, and yes, even too pretty.
Then along came Christina Green—a pretty little round-faced brunette with the bluest eyes (of course they were contacts, but still very nice). A few weeks earlier, Christina had stopped me in the hall when I was laughing at someone’s joke and said, “So that’s what you look like when you smile. You should smile more often.” I missed the hint on that one but dutifully thanked her and went on with my clueless life, until the day before prom. Christina was in the room that I had my next class in, and I had made the promise to myself that I was going to ask someone to go with me to the prom.
“Hey, Christina, who are you going to the prom with?” I asked, assuming she had a date and my big plan would be shot down. The classroom was beginning to fill with people.
“I’m not going to the prom,” she replied, and I should have seen my opportunity, but instead I saw my classmates and all the ways I could fail.
“Why not?” I asked, assuming she had better plans.
“No one has asked me yet,” she replied, looking at me with those blue eyes that said it all.
But I was looking for a punch line to impress my friends, and said, “I bet you’re going to look back on the prom someday and be scarred for life because you didn’t go, always wondering what if.”
“Maybe I will,” she said, and walked out after giving me one last glance with those eyes. I hope to hell she doesn’t ever do that. I hope that what I said didn’t hurt her. I’ve suffered enough what if moments from that over the years for the both of us.