Ah, Springtime! The chill of winter passes, the flowers bloom, and every teenage girl dreams of her first Cinderella moment – her Prom night. So many details: the grueling selection process for the role of Prince Charming, the quest for the perfect dress, the trying on of endless up-do’s / half-do’s and makeup, and finding the proper coach for her highness’ arrival to the big event. Aside from her wedding, there is no other event in a young woman’s life that compares in terms of expectation and planning. For each, the only acceptable outcome is “the perfect” night.
“I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain…”
My one and only Prom night experience started out just like that. I had my dress – a beautiful black cocktail-length strapless number with a tulle overlay that glittered. My hair wasn’t quite shoulder-length, and I was growing out the mullety-mohawk look I had sported through most of high school, so I opted for a simple hot-roller brush-out with a glittery comb sweeping back one side. I wore a necklace and earrings that had belonged to my grandmother; the opalescent jewels perfectly complimenting my glittery dress.
I had my Prince Charming, too – a totally rad surfer-looking dude that I had been dating for a couple of months. Our Prom theme was Prince’s “Purple Rain” so he went with a lavender cummerbund and lavender mini-roses for my corsage and his boutonnière. Looking back at our photo, we did look rather dashing. The plan? Meet up with friends for dinner, then convoy over to the big event for an evening of dancing, fun, and magic! It was going to be so perfect!!
“I only wanted to be some kind of friend…”
He arrived almost one hour late to pick me up. By the time we made it to the restaurant, all of my friends had finished eating and were almost ready to leave. Thankfully, they were kind enough to wait while we ordered dinner and ate quickly. My date pushed his food around on his plate while yawning, nodding off at the table. When we got into his car to drive to the dance, he explained that he had stayed up all night helping a friend fix a car, then worked all day and was very tired. I expressed my sympathies, but chose not to dwell on it. Nothing would be allowed to ruin my perfect night.
We arrived at the prom barely in time to have our photo taken and then rushed into the ballroom. He said a few polite “hello’s” to some of my friends and then excused himself, explaining that there were a few people across the room that he wanted to talk to. Thinking he would return shortly, I gamely hit the dance floor with my friends. About an hour later, I found him sitting at a table with several couples so I approached, introduced myself, and waited to be invited to join – or for him to make a polite departure and re-join me. After an uncomfortable silence and some odd looks, I made my getaway. He remained there without so much as a glance at me the rest of the night. I was devastated. My friends were outraged.
By the time the DJ announced the last song, I was fuming. But, determined to have at least one moment of prom-ness, I marched over to that table and basically demanded that he act like my date for at least a few minutes and dance with me. He did so grudgingly, and groused the entire time about being tired. We left immediately afterward.
“It’s time we all reach out for something new, that means you, too…”
As we drove along a long causeway back to the mainland, he complained about being sleepy again and asked me to drive. Astonished and still clinging to the ridiculous notion that the Prince would properly deliver me back to my castle, I refused. He answered by pulling over and proceeding to take a nap. We sat there for almost 20 minutes as I watched my friends’ cars zip by, music blaring and laughter spilling out of the windows as they passed.
Suddenly indignant, I got out of the car, ordered him into the passenger side, fired up the engine, and was engaging first gear before he even got the other door open. I think the door might have closed on his leg at one point. I red-lined that car all the way back to my house, pulled the parking brake, and let the engine choke out as I stomped away. In that moment, I actually hoped he would careen off the bridge on his way home and plunge to his death.
The next day, word got around. Turns out that he hadn’t been helping a friend with a car – he’d been seeing another girl. She went to the other high school in town, and that prom had been the night before. They had attended her dance, stayed up all night afterward and then spent the following day together at a local fair. The friends he spent the entire night sitting with? Her friends.
At the time, he was staying at the home of one of my best friends. When her brother found out, he reportedly beat the crap out of him and the family kicked him out.
“It’s such a shame our friendship had to end…”
But, as I’ve said time & time again: Karma is real, and she can be one tough Bitch. See, he took a very bad path in the years following, amassing a rap sheet as long as your arm. Too bad I can’t add “world’s worst prom date” to his list of officially-recognized crimes. But then, I’m sure that he’s had a few bad prom dates himself during his many years in jail.
I just love Karma.
Have a nominee for worst Prom date, or a great Prom story of your own? Share it with me!
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