March 29, 2017

A pre-internet Prom

I have come to the conclusion that I was fortunate to be in high school during the dark ages.  You know, before the internet and texting.  And memes.  If my teenage self had a Facebook my freshman year, I'm fairly certain it would have sounded a bit like this:

"OMG.  Ryan walked me to my locker today!  He is so cute.  He totally likes me."  

"OMG.  Ryan gave me his pager number!  He is soooooo cute!" 

"So, the pager number Ryan gave me was fake.  I can't believe he did that to me.  Oh well, I can't stay mad, because he is SO cute!"

"Ryan starting going out with some other girl today named Courtney.  I already hate her.  My heart is broken!"  #butheissocute

Lawd.  I'm so glad I can keep all of that to the confines of my journals and the handwritten folded up paper notes that my friends and I traded between classes.  Also, as a side-note, Courtney and Ryan broke up by the end of sophomore year and she and I ended up being best friends, so it all worked out in the end. 

I never did have any boyfriends in high school.  I had plenty of guy friends, but dating and romantic relationships came later for me.  I almost had a boyfriend once named Goober but he didn't know I liked him and he ended up going steady with a girl named Krissy who was a total brat that bullied me in gym class every day.  I was probably spared though, because who really wants their first boyfriend's name to be Goober?

Before I knew it, I was over both Ryan and Goober, and was suddenly a senior in high school.  And PROM was imminent.  

It seemed like prom was a couple's only kind of event, but I didn't let my lack of boyfriend discourage me.  I optimistically purchased two tickets and asked a buddy of mine at church to go with me.  A date, a dress and a dinner reservation at Spaghetti Warehouse (because that was my idea of a fancy restaurant in 1999) and I was all set.  The night before prom, I phoned my date (because texting wasn't invented yet) to make sure he had his tux and was good to go, but when I finally got an answer at his house, his mom answered in tears.  Through her sobs, she managed to tell me that there had been some family drama and he left the house.

Ya'll.  My prom date ran away from home.  Like, for serious.

I sobbed to my dad and told him I didn't know what I was going to do.  This was the very worst thing that could have happened and I was devastated.  He got me calmed down and told me to move forward with getting ready for prom and it would all be okay.  And because he was my daddy, I totally believed him.

My hair was done up in it's perfect curly up do that I had envisioned, with just the right amount of ringlets around my face and neck.  My nails were done for the first time in my entire life and my dress was beautiful.  It was all great, except for the slight little hiccup of not having a date and everything.  Also, I had 437 bobby pins holding my hair together, and I could feel 432 of them.

By the time I was dressed and ready to go, my dad told me he found me a prom date.  I remember feeling both excitement and sheer panic hearing this news, but because my dad was (and sometimes, still is) pretty awesome, I knew he wouldn't have chosen anyone lame or awful.  When we drove up to a friend's house to pick up my mystery date, I breathed a sigh of relief.  His name was Teddy and we were friends from church as well.  After hearing from my dad, Teddy ran out to buy me a corsage and dusted off his school issued orchestra tuxedo.

All of it was the sweetest:  My dad was totally the hero coming to my rescue so that I didn't have to go alone.  And Teddy being a stellar guy and not only escorting me, but being a complete gentleman all night.

And I won't lie.  It was a bit a lot awkward too. 

Up until that night, Teddy and I had most of our encounters with one another at church youth group where we played crazy games, like mattress surfing and chubby bunny.  And suddenly, we were in formal wear and had to practice acting like real grown-ups.

 I dug these out of my old scrapbook from my attic.  You're welcome.
When we finally arrived at prom, I had this realization that prom is essentially a dance, and I guess I kind of forgot about that part in between dress shopping and my ex-date running away from home.  Teddy and I found ourselves on the dance floor, swaying to the tunes of Boys II Men's, "I'll Make Love to You," and that's when one or both of us decided we were done with the dancing.
We decided to ditch the dance and meet up with friends for post-dancing snacks, but only after we took our super awkward prom picture.  Our prom theme was "Imperial Dreams" which translated to some kind of oriental-paper-lantern-nod-to-China type of theme where they actually put origami and packets of chopsticks on the table for decorations.  (Clearly, I was not in charge of planning this thing).

I present to you: 
Jennifer and Teddy
"Imperial Dreams"
 Prom 1999 
Prom is a totally different thing all together now than it was then.  It's totally cool to go with a group of friends and not just a date, and prom dress trends are so much more fun than they were in the 90's.  Not to mention the internet!  The Black Tux is making prom even easier with their awesome suit and tuxedo rentals.  Did you know that online tux rentals were even a thing?  Fellow friends of the dark ages, can you just imagine what prom planning would have been like had we had the interwebs at our fingertips?!  Just look at how much has changed between then and now?  (Holy smokes, when did I get old?)

Both my dad and Teddy are forever my heroes for going out of their way to make sure my senior prom actually got to happen.  Looking back, it was a bit of a bummer that my prom didn't turn out like I had originally planned. But you know what?  It was prom, and I get to say that I went.  My senior prom is a sweet, quirky and slightly pathetic memory.  And it's all mine.

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